During the Great Depression, a wealthy banker throws away his wife's expensive fur coat; it lands on the head of a stenographer, leading to everyone assuming she is his mistress and has access to his millions.
Department store owner J.P. Merrick finds that several of his employees are unionizing to get more money and better working conditions. In order to find out who the organizers are, he gets a job at the store as a shoe salesman. Not realizing his true identity, he's befriended by Mary Jones and Joe O'Brien, the two ringleaders, and Elizabeth Ellis, a charming older woman with whom he develops a romance.Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
Jean Arthur's head is shown wearing a halo with a clouded sky behind her (Heaven-like), she then turns to her right and blows. The scene changes to one of Charles Coburn's head shown with a dark shadow and flames behind him (Hellish), he looks to his left and grimaces. See more »
Comments about movies like this from the Great Depression years frequently allude to radical or left-wing political themes. Such views miss the point. Producer Sam Wood went on to espouse a decidedly anti-communist stance in his capacity as a spokesman for the movie industry before the House Unamerican Activities Committee just before his death in 1949. A quick look back at all the movies he produced will set the record straight. Like Ronald Reagan after him, he was never a socialist but rather an old-fashioned American Populist, more in the vein of Theodore Roosevelt and William Jennings Bryan than a Eugene Debs or Mother Jones. A streak of anti-foreign Nativism is there as well, combined with the Protestant Ethic and Frontier Individualism.
Thus the theme of this film -- labor vs. management -- is resolved through an exercise in solidly pragmatic conflict resolution rather than any victory for revolutionary ideology. Similar themes are to be found in contemporaneous films like "The Grapes of Wrath" or "Sullivan's Travels." While not as lofty as those two, "The Devil and Miss Jones" is a wonderful comedy with a purpose, entirely consonant with its time.
21 of 28 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this