Cast & Crew
Widow Jane Osgood, the proprietress of a lobster restaurant supply business in Cape Anne, Maine, finds her livelihood threatened when the E&P Railroad fails to deliver a shipment on time, causing the crustaceans to wither and die. Blaming the railroad for her misfortune, Jane asks her childhood friend, attorney George Denham, to sue the E&P, and George assures Jane that the railroad will be forced to reimburse her for her loss. In New York City, Harry Foster Malone, the ill-natured new owner of the E&P, is masticating on a lobster when word comes of Jane's lawsuit. Crawford Sloan, the railroad's attorney, advises Malone that the railroad is responsible for Jane's loss and suggests that it would be a publicity coup for the company personally to deliver a reimbursement check to her. Traveling to Cape Anne, Crawford, accompanied by E&P board member Selwyn Harris, presents Jane with a check for $700, the value of the lobsters. Jane, however, claims that her loss was far greater than that, because the railroad's untimely delivery dealt a blow to her business' reputation, thus threatening her survival. Just then George, dressed in a Cub Scout leader uniform, arrives at the house with Jane's young son Billy. Although George advises Jane to take the check, she refuses and later lectures George about his lack of gumption, pointing out that although George has opposed Aaron Caldwell, the corrupt leader of the town council for years, he has never been able to rally the votes to defeat him. Jane goes through with the suit, but when a friendly jury awards Jane $2,500 to cover her loss, Harris refuses to pay and tells Jane that his company intends to appeal the verdict. Furious, Jane decides to apply for a Writ of Execution against the railroad, and soon after, Sheriff Wilbur Peterson hands stationmaster Homer Bean a writ awarding Jane the train known as "Old 97" in lieu of the money owed her by the railroad. Matilda Runyon, the town's switchboard operator, and an aspiring reporter, sees the writ as her opportunity for a big scoop and notifies a New York newspaper, which sends reporter Larry Hall to cover the story of "David vs. Goliath." The media soon descend on Cape Anne, glorifying the idea of a poor widow taking on big business, and couching the dispute as "the eternal drama of the American ideal, the struggle for equality for all." As Larry, a charming bachelor, interviews Jane, he becomes enamored with his subject, arousing George's jealousy. In New York, meanwhile, Malone sees the headlines in praise of Jane, and fuming, demands that Jane pay him $250 a day to rent the tracks on which Old 97 sits. To raise the money to pay Sloan, Larry suggests that Jane accept the offers from several New York television stations to appear on their programs. George is outraged when Jane leaves Billy and her daughter Betty in his care and goes to New York with Larry. While watching the game show I've Got a Secret , Malone sees contestant Jane assert that "he is the meanest man on Earth." To retaliate, Malone phones the show and declares that not only is he canceling Jane's rent, but he is giving her the train to keep. Later that night, Larry proposes to Jane, who asks for some time to consider. When Jane returns home, George wrongly accuses her of having an affair with Larry. Later, at the town meeting, Caldwell announces that Malone has cancelled all railroad service to Cape Anne and blames Jane for the town's misfortune. After a tearful Jane apologizes and runs out of the room, Caldwell calls for the election of the First Selectman. George, newly invigorated, makes an impassioned speech about the town's callous treatment of Jane, then leaves. Afterward, the council elects George as their new First Selectman. Realizing that they can use Old 97 to deliver Jane's lobsters, George enlists his uncle Otis, a retired railroad engineer, to drive the engine. The rest of the town rallies around the effort, and begins delivering coal by the box and bagful to feed the engine. To thwart Jane, Malone, who legally must allow the Old 97 use of his tracks, routes the train in the wrong direction, causing his Board of Directors to quit in disgust. As the story of Jane's futile quest spreads, reporters besiege Malone's office, and Crawford warns him that he is undermining the railroad by attacking Jane. Aboard the train, Jane, aware that Larry will be waiting for her answer at Marshalton, their first stop, runs to the engine room where George is stoking the furnace. To goad George into proposing, Jane declares that she has decided to marry Larry. The ruse works, and George and Jane are formally engaged. Because of their circuitous routing, they soon run out of coal, stranding the train on the trucks and thus blocking an oncoming passenger train. Following Crawford's advice, Malone flies to meet the train and concedes defeat. To insure their timely arrival, Jane insists that Malone accompany them onboard, and Malone, seeing that George is exhausted, takes over stoking the engine. When the train pulls into Marshalton, Larry stands gaping from the platform as George publicly kisses Jane. Some time later in Cape Anne, a parade celebrating George's swearing-in ceremony is upstaged by the arrival of a new fire engine donated to the town by Malone. When the crowd spots a beaming Malone watching from behind a building, they run to thank him, but he jumps into his waiting limousine and speeds off.
John Cecil Holm
Chester Fife & Drum Corps
Thomas W. Quine
Steve De Palma
Vinton M. Smith
Carter Dehaven Iii
Hans Fjellman Sr.
Carter Dehaven Jr.
Charles Lawton Jr.
I. J. Roth
It Happened to Jane
The film opens with Jane Osgood discovering that a shipment of her lobsters has been ruined due to the negligence of the railroad owned by Harry Foster Malone (Ernie Kovacs). More importantly, her reputation as a reliable businesswoman has been damaged so she and her lawyer, George (Jack Lemmon), decide to take Malone and the railroad to court. In her campaign against the greedy tycoon, Jane appears on several real television shows of the day such as Youth Wants to Know and I've Got a Secret. There are also cameos by such TV personalities as Bess Myerson, Jayne Meadows, Garry Moore, Henry Morgan, Betsy Palmer, and Gene Rayburn. Malone fights back of course, but before long the whole country is rallying behind Jane, despite Malone's attempts to block her. It was rumored that Harry Foster Malone's character was modeled after the Charles Foster Kane character in Citizen Kane (1941), which, of course, was based on newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. Ernie Kovacs gained 40 lbs. for the role and plays Malone with a growling meanness that provides a playful contrast to Day's bubbling enthusiasm.
Lemmon described working with Day as "a pleasure" in his biography by Don Widener and recalled the film as "a charming picture, made when you could still do charming films." Lemmon, Kovacs, and director Richard Quine all roomed together in a 17th century house with oak-beamed ceilings during production. At 3 o'clock every afternoon, Quine would let everyone off for the day and many cast and crew members would go trout fishing in a nearby stream. Lemmon would go back to his room, however, for piano practice; he had an electric piano with headphones installed so that his playing would not bother his housemates.
It Happened to Jane had all the ingredients for a commercial hit but it was a box office disappointment. Its 1961 re-release as Twinkle and Shine didn't fare any better. In the biography Doris Day: Her Own Story by A.E. Hotchner, Day recalled "it was pert and funny, but whether it was the insipid title or something else, it just didn't make it. However, I'm grateful to the film, for Jack and I became friends and we saw each other socially over the ensuing years. Jack is a disarming and charming man, and a gut actor with a natural sense of comedy - very challenging to work with." Lemmon was equally impressed with his co-star maintaining that "It Happened to Jane was a good, funny movie....I felt Doris and I had very good chemistry together, and I regret that we never made another film."
Producer/Director: Richard Quine
Screenplay: Norman Katkov
Art Direction: Cary ODell
Cinematography: Charles Lawton, Jr
Editing: Charles Nelson
Music: George Duning
Cast: Doris Day (Jane Osgood), Jack Lemmon (George Denham), Ernie Kovacs (Harry Foster Malone), Steve Forrest (Larry Hall), Teddy Rooney (Billy Osgood),
by Lacey Rice
It Happened to Jane
The working titles of this film were The Wreck of the Old 97, The Jane from Maine and Miss Casey Jones Twinkle and Shine. Executive producer Martin Melcher was Doris Day's husband at the time this film was made. Terry Melcher, who appeared in a bit role in the film, was the son of Day and her first husband, Al Jorden. Martin Melcher, Day's third husband, legally adopted Terry, who later became a producer for Columbia Records. According to a May 1959 Motion Picture Herald news item, location filming was done in Chester, Connecticut. The news item added that the film's premiere in Boston benefitted the St. Francis de Sales Church. Staged versions of the popular 1950s television shows The Today Show, The Big Payoff and I've Got a Secret, with their regular personalities, were included in the film. According to various 1961 news items, Columbia reissued the film in September 1961 under the new title Twinkle and Shine, which was also the name of a theme song that Day recorded for the reissued picture.
Released in United States Winter January 1, 1959
Released in United States Winter January 1, 1959