AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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Janie
Director: Michael Curtiz (Dir)
Release Date:   2 Sep 1944
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 4 Aug 1944
Production Date:   late Dec 1943--early Mar 1944
Duration (in mins):   100
Duration (in feet):   9,497
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Cast:   Robert Hutton (Private Dick Lawrence)  
    Edward Arnold (Charles Conway)  
    Ann Harding (Lucile Conway)  
    Alan Hale (Professor Reardon)  
    Robert Benchley (John Van Brunt)  
    Clare Foley (Elsbeth Conway)  
    Barbara Brown (Mrs. Thelma Lawrence)  
    Hattie McDaniel (April)  
    Dick Erdman (Wilber "Scooper" Nolan)  
    Jackie Moran (Mickey)  
    Ann Gillis (Paula Rainey)  
    Ruth Tobey (Bernadine Dodd)  
    Virginia Patton (Carrie Lou Trivett)  
    Colleen Townsend (Hortense Bennett)  
    William Frambes ("Dead Pan" Hackett)  
  And presenting Joyce Reynolds (Janie [Conway])  
    Georgia Lee Settle (Susan Wiley)  
    Peter Stackpole (Photographer)  
    Michael Harrison (Sergeant Carl)  
    Russell Hicks (Colonel Lucas)  
    Jimmie Dodd (Solider at party)  
    Keefe Brasselle (Solider at party)  
    Virginia Sale (Complaining neighbor)  
    Billy Benedict (Soda jerk)  
    Andy Williams (Singing soldier)  
    Don Williams (Singing soldier)  
    Bob Williams (Singing soldier)  
    Dick Williams (Singing soldier)  

Summary: When the town of Hortonville is chosen as the site for an army base, newspaper editor Charles Conway writes a concerned editorial about the effect that the soldiers will have on high school girls like his seventeen-year-old daughter Janie. Janie compounds her father's worries when she accompanies her friend, Wilber "Scooper" Nolan, to a blanket party. Although the party is innocent, a photographer from Life takes pictures of the teenagers eating, dancing and necking. While Charles travels to Washington, D.C. in an attempt to obtain a needed printing press, the army moves into town. As feared, all the girls become preoccupied with the soldiers, and Charles returns home to find a picture of Janie and Scooper kissing on the cover of Life . He also discovers his friend, John Van Brunt, ensconced in the family guest room because the hotel was commandeered by the army. Then Lucile, Charles' wife, gets a call from her old friend, Thelma Lawrence, a widow, whose son Dick, an army private, is now stationed in Hortonville. On an impulse, Lucile invites Thelma to stay with them. Expecting to hate Dick, Janie is pleasantly surprised to find that he is very attractive, and Dick returns her feelings, causing Scooper to become jealous. After telling Janie how much he cares for her, Scooper swears that he is through with women. When Dick and Janie learn that the adults are all going to an American Legion dance, they make a date to spend the evening together. Their plans are thwarted, first by Janie's younger sister Elsbeth, who proclaims her intent to stay up all night, then by Janie's girl friends, who have invited their dates to meet them at Janie's house as their own parents refuse to let them go out with soldiers because of Charles's editorial. After Janie convinces Elsbeth to spend the night with their grandmother, Dick accompanies her to the bus. In the meantime, Scooper calls the base and invites all available soldiers to a party at Janie's house to prevent her from being alone with Dick. Making the best of it, the girls in turn invite all their friends, and April, the Conway's maid, happily cooks enough hot dogs to feed everyone. Still intending to stay up all night, Elsbeth directs Dick to the wrong bus, where they meet Professor Reardon, a former teacher of Dick's and the man responsible for allotting a printing press to Charles. Dick entrusts Elsbeth to Reardon and hurries back to Janie's to find the party in full swing. The neighbors complain about the noise, and the party breaks up just before Janie's parents and the military police arrive, leaving the house in a terrible mess. When a colonel from the base arrives to survey the damage, Janie makes an impassioned speech in defense of the soldiers, and after Elsbeth brings Reardon home, everything is happily resolved. Soon the soldiers are sent overseas, but just as they say goodbye, a group of Marines marches into town. 

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Brand Name: A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
Distribution Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Michael Curtiz (Dir)
  Frederick de Cordova (Dial dir)
Producer: Jack L. Warner (Exec prod)
  Alex Gottlieb (Prod)
Writer: Agnes Christine Johnston (Scr)
  Charles Hoffman (Scr)
Photography: Carl Guthrie (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Robert Haas (Art dir)
Film Editor: Owen Marks (Film ed)
Set Decoration: George James Hopkins (Set dec)
Costumes: Leah Rhodes (Gowns)
Music: Leo F. Forbstein (Mus dir)
  H. Roemheld (Mus)
  Frank Perkins (Orch arr)
Sound: C. A. Riggs (Sd)
Special Effects: Lawrence Butler (Spec eff dir)
  Warren Lynch (Spec eff)
Make Up: Perc Westmore (Makeup artist)
Country: United States

Songs: "Keep Your Powder Dry," music and lyrics by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn.
Composer: Sammy Cahn
  Jule Styne
Source Text: Based on the play Janie by Josephine Bentham and Herschel V. Williams, Jr. as produced by Brock Pemberton (New York, 10 Sep 1942).
Authors: Josephine Bentham
  Brock Pemberton
  Herschel V. Williams Jr.

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. 2/9/1944 dd/mm/yyyy LP12810

PCA NO: 9989
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

 
Genre: Comedy
  Comedy
Sub-Genre: Domestic
  Teenage
 
Subjects (Major): Adolescents
  Family relationships
  Romance
  Soldiers
 
Subjects (Minor): Buses
  Maids
  Neighbors
  Parties
  Photographs
  Picnicking
  Radio programs
  Romantic rivalry
  Sisters
  Small town life
  Widows

Note: Although Joyce Reynolds was "introduced" in her onscreen billing, this was not her film debut. HR news items add the following information about the production: Columbia Pictures completely financed the stage play and received $40,000 of the $100,000 that Warner Bros. paid for the film rights. Cora Sue Collins was considered for the role of "Janie." Edward Arnold was borrowed from M-G-M and Robert Benchley was borrowed from Paramount for the project. Some scenes were shot on location at Malibu Lake, California. Owen Marks was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Editing. Janie was the first film in a proposed "Janie" series. After Joyce Reynolds married and temporarily retired from films, Warner Bros. dropped plans for the series. A HR news item dated 6 Mar 1945 notes that the studio revived the idea due to popular demand and subsequently went on to produce one other film, Janie Gets Married with Joan Leslie (see below). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   29 Jul 1944.   
Daily Variety   25 Jul 44   p. 3.
Film Daily   25 Jul 44   p. 21.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Apr 1943.   
Hollywood Reporter   18 Nov 43   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Dec 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Dec 43   p. 4, 8
Hollywood Reporter   25 Jul 44   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   14 Aug 44   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Feb 45   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Mar 45   pp. 1-2.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   5 Feb 44   p. 1747.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   29 Jul 44   p. 2017.
New York Times   5 Aug 44   p. 16.
Variety   26 Jul 44   p. 10.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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