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It Happened to Jane (1959)

Jane Osgood runs a lobster business, which supports her two young children. Railroad staff inattention ruins her shipment, so with her lawyer George, Jane sues Harry Foster Malone, director of the line and the "meanest man in the world".



(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jane Osgood
Harry Foster Malone
Lawrence Clay 'Larry' Hall
Teddy Rooney ...
Billy Osgood
Russ Brown ...
Uncle Otis
Walter Greaza ...
Crawford Sloan
Parker Fennelly ...
Homer Bean
Matilda Runyon
Wilbur Peterson
Selwyn Harris (as Casey Adams)
John Cecil Holm ...
Aaron Caldwell
Betty Osgood
Dick Crockett ...
Clarence Runyon
Napoleon Whiting ...
Eugene - Waiter


Jane Osgood is trying to support her two young children by running a lobster business. After one of her shipments is ruined by inattention at the railroad station, Jane decides to take on Harry Foster Malone, director of the line and the "meanest man in the world". With the help of her lifelong friend - and lawyer - George Denham, Jane sues Malone for the price of her lobsters & her lost business. What she ends up with is a lot more than either of them bargained for. Written by April M. Cheek <Aravis2713@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It could have happened to anyone, but It Happened To Jane! See more »




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Release Date:

24 May 1959 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Jane from Maine  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


George Denham's car is a 1951 Studebaker Champion Regal Convertible. See more »


When Mr Malone is talking with his colleague about the poster and adding more "broads", he has a piece of lobster in his left hand, when the camera goes back to him, a split second later, the piece of lobster is missing, his hand never left the screen so we would have seen him put it down. See more »


It Happened to Jane
Words and Music by Joe Lubin and I.J. Roth
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User Reviews

Psst! Wanna see something amazing? Watch THIS! . . .
7 March 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Ever wonder what made some on-screen actors (and behind-scenes talents) great? Why they lasted so long in show business? There's no better proof than the astounding IHTJ!

The old axiom, "If it ain't on the page, it ain't on the stage," generally holds true. But IHTJ demonstrates conclusively and joyously what GREAT talents can do with an average script.

In any hands other than these consummate pros, this script would be standard B-movie fare: stock characters, contrived situations, late-50s sit-com dialogue.

The best line in the film is Jack Lemmon's – "Live!" – delivered to a lobster. Yes, a lobster. (To the writer's, Norman Katkov's, credit, it's been perfectly set-up and placed. But look what Lemmon DOES with it!) Go back and read the full credits with deep appreciation. Every scene has been beautifully lit, staged, shot, directed and edited.

But in the end it's these incredible actors who turn this otherwise forgettable fluff into a genre masterpiece: funny, moving, tender, rousing film making!

We think we "know" Doris Day's oeuvre because she made everything look so easy. In fact, singing, dancing, acting or all three, she was NEVER the same in any picture. She was a natural from her debut in "Romance on the High Seas." An incredibly disciplined, professional, ambitious "natural." Yes, she got handed her share of "perky" characters. But even THOSE performances are different from film to film. She handled drama with equal aplomb, in "Storm Warning," "The Man Who Knew Too Much" and "Midnight Lace," for instance.

The same may be said for Jack Lemmon. Contrast "Days of Wine and Roses" with his other star turns, from "Some Like It Hot" and "The Apartment" to "Missing" and "Save the Tiger" and "Glengarry Glen Ross."

Now, watch what Day and Lemmon (and Richard Quine, director) do with the most improbable and ostensibly silliest "reverse proposal of marriage" scene ever filmed, in IHTJ. On a moving train (no green screen), with Day in a spotless white dress crawling atop the coal car and Lemmon blackened and shoveling coal.

Just watch in awe! Never a false note, never an ounce of overacting, every second totally believable and heartfelt until your own heart leaps for joy at the sheer improbability of the myriad combination of screen talents – on and off camera – that carry off this scene and this picture! (The dialogue? You've heard similar before, and since.)

Ernie Kovacs, all but unrecognizable as "Malone," is pluperfect as the comedic villain who finds his heart before Fade Out. He would steal the picture . . . except he CAN'T, because everybody else delivers their lines with genius too!

As an interesting exercise, contrast the terrific, spot-on, human-scaled FILM performances in IHTJ with those of the vaudevillian / Catskills comedians (wonderful though they were) overplaying to the balcony in Stanley Kramer's desperate, straining and ultimately off-putting sledgehammer, "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."

Though IHTJ is considered a throwaway picture in retrospect, it's really testimony to what geniuses can do with a so-so script when they're under contract and dedicated to giving the audience their best.

Plus Jack Lemmon drives a Studebaker convertible. Who could ask for anything more!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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