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The Adventures of Jane (1949)

 -  Comedy
4.5
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Ratings: 4.5/10 from 28 users  
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Jane is given a bracelet by an elderly admirer. He is in league with Cleaver, a suave crook, and the two plan to use Jane and the bracelet to smuggle diamonds into England.

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Title: The Adventures of Jane (1949)

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Cast

Cast overview:
Christabel Leighton-Porter ...
Jane
Stanelli ...
Hotel Manager
Michael Hogarth ...
Tom Hawke
Wally Patch ...
Customs Official
Ian Colin ...
Captain Cleaver
Sonya O'Shea ...
Ruby
Peter Butterworth ...
Drunken Man
...
Traveling Man
Sidney Benson ...
Mr. Sneyed
Charles Irwin ...
Lew
George Crawford ...
Freddie
Joan Grindley ...
Maid
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Storyline

Jane is given a bracelet by an elderly admirer. He is in league with Cleaver, a suave crook, and the two plan to use Jane and the bracelet to smuggle diamonds into England.

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Comedy

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Intended to be the first of a series, the idea was abandoned after a lack of critical and public success. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Little Annie Fanny's inspiration
16 December 2002 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

'Jane' was a very popular comic strip in wartime Britain. Drawn by Norman Pett, it began its long run in the Daily Mirror in 1932 as the misadventures of an innocently sexy young blonde. In 1938, with Don Freeman writing the continuities, 'Jane' gradually became more suggestive and then finally quite lewd. Many of Freeman's gags featured Jane caught in a state of undress ... or caught in some mishap which tore off her clothing. Sometimes the situation would get downright sadistic: I recall one comic strip in which Jane fell through the roof of a caravan but got stuck at waist level, with her skirts outside the caravan ... so that the men inside the vehicle had a fine view of Jane's underpants. The 'joke' in the strip was always secondary to one more excuse for showing Jane stripped to her undergarments or altogether nude. The comic strips in British newspapers were always more explicit than American ones: often, poor Jane would end up entirely naked, or wearing only her knickers ... the angles of Pett's artwork would always show us Jane's nudity whilst strategically concealing the most 'naughty' bits.

In the same way that Little Orphan Annie confided her thoughts to her mongrel Sandy, Jane's intimate confidant was her pet dachschund Fritz (an odd choice of breed and name, considering the anti-German sentiments of wartime).

During the war years, Jane's popularity reached an all-time high among British servicemen. The nearest American equivalent of 'Jane' would be Milton Caniff's character Miss Lace in 'Male Call' ... but, unlike Jane, Miss Lace usually kept her clothes on, and 'Male Call' was available only for servicemen, whereas Jane's nudity was on display in the Daily Mirror for any schoolboy who had the price of a paper.

'Jane' was actually very similar to the Playboy feature 'Little Annie Fanny', in that both comic strips were basically an excuse to depict a sexy woman with her clothes missing. In 1982, when I interviewed Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder at Elder's house in Englewood, New Jersey, I pointed out the similarities between their creation 'Little Annie Fanny' and the earlier 'Jane'. Kurtzman admitted that he was familiar with 'Jane' ... until he saw where the conversation was leading, and then he changed the subject.

Inevitably, many British males wanted to know if Pett's voluptuous creation was based on a real woman. Supposedly, he had used his own wife as his original model. When a theatrical producer decided to mount a stage vehicle based on 'Jane', the role went to Christabel Leighton-Porter, a shapely blond with no real acting experience and no singing ability. The act opened with Miss Leighton-Porter's delightful physique shown in silhouette, then the scrim rose to reveal her attributes while she chanted (not sang): "I'm Jane, Jane: the model, that's plain. I can't sing, I can't even croon. And the dog that I fondle is also a model that you've seen in a famous cartoon." For the stage act, Fritz was played by a stuffed toy (like the cat in a Puss in Boots panto.)

'The Adventures of Jane' is the film version of the stage show based on the comic strip. It suffers from certain problems: Jane's peak years were during the World War, so she's already begun her decline. Also, the story lines in the comic strip were always mere excuses for Jane to lose her clothing in compromising positions and get caught totally naked (or nearly so) in the presence of appreciative men. In 1949 Britain, the film censors were much stricter than the newspaper censors. Consequently, we never see the lovely Miss Leighton-Porter stripped down to nearly the degree of nudity that was a daily event for the newsprint version of Jane.

This film is directed by Alf Goulding, an Australian who had some impressive credits: he had previously worked with Laurel & Hardy and with Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle. Sebastian Cabot, an English actor who had his best successes on American television, plays a small role here. But 'The Adventures of Jane' is lacklustre. I'll rate this movie 3 points out of 10, and one point is in appreciation for Jane inspiring all those brave English servicemen to (dare I say it?) keep their peckers up.


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