Cast & Crew
Soldier Dick Lawrence returns home to Hortonville and is welcomed at the station by his mother and stepfather, John and Thelma Van Brunt, and his girl friend, Janie Conway. A short time later, Dick and Janie become engaged. The day of the wedding, Van Brunt has a candid talk with Dick, during which he compares marriage to being in a boxcar with a wild horse. This so disturbs Dick that he insists on meeting immediately with Janie, who hands him a marriage contract, which is to be renewed monthly. Despite their ensuing quarrel, Dick and Janie are married. Unknown to Dick, Janie has persuaded her father to create a job for him on his newspaper, and the Van Brunts are paying half the rent on their house. As the first marriage contract option date approaches, Janie's younger, tomboy sister Elsbeth stops by the house on her way to school and threatens to tell Dick about Janie's machinations unless Janie gives her money to buy some new sports equipment. Later that day, Spud, a WAC who knew Dick during the war, surprises him at the office, and they go out for a drink at the Coral Room. Meanwhile, at home, Janie has problems with her maid, Mrs. Angles. When Scooper, her high school boyfriend, stops by with a story idea for Dick, Janie suggests they meet Dick and his "buddy." She is surprised to discover that Spud is an attractive woman and becomes jealous when Spud and Dick reminisce. Before Janie can object, Dick invites Spud to stay with them while she is in town. The next morning, Janie is disturbed by the way Spud makes herself at home. She then must decide how to handle the fact that both her mother and Thelma have bought drapes for the house. When the Van Brunts stop by, Janie asks Van Brunt, who is her uncle as well as Dick's stepfather, what to do about Spud. Van Brunt advises her to show interest in another man and make Dick jealous. When Scooper telephones for Spud, in whom he is interested, Janie suggests that they both go by the paper, but there, she learns that Dick is out with Spud. She then tries to convince Scooper to take her dancing, but after giving her a big kiss for old times' sake, he refuses. The kiss is seen by Mr. Stowers, a prospective buyer of the newspaper and a firm believer in small town values, who immediately assumes that Scooper is Janie's husband. When Lucile suggests that Janie give a dinner party for Stowers, she is faced with two problems: She must somehow explain to Stowers why she was kissing a man to whom she is not married and must explain to her parents and in-laws why she has two sets of drapes. That night, Dick and Spud return very late, and Janie and Dick quarrel bitterly. Later, Spud explains to Janie that there is nothing romantic between them, and that they were working on a story idea. The next day, Dick learns that Janie has been meddling on his behalf and, determined to succeed on his own, quits his job. Then Janie's friend Bernadine asks Janie to put up her G.I. boyfriend Dead Pan for the night. Even though it is almost time for the dinner party to start, Dick has not arrived, but Stowers, on the other hand, is early. Then a drunken Dick arrives with Spud and four former Army buddies. Finally, after much confusion, a huge family fight breaks out. Dead Pan, the Army buddies and Stowers leave the house in disgust. Believing that she has botched the sale of the paper and threatened her marriage, Janie apologizes to Dick. Elsbeth returns with Stowers, however, and he agrees to buy the paper after all. He then reveals that he found Dick's story notes and offers him a job as the head of a department. When the rest of the family sits down to dinner, Elsbeth reveals to Dick and Janie that she told Stowers that they were expecting a baby and suggests that they do not make a liar out of her.
Leo F. Forbstein
Robert M. Haas
M. K. Jerome
Agnes Christine Johnston
Jack L. Warner
Janie Gets Married
The original film starred Hutton, Arnold, Harding, Benchley and McDaniel in an adaptation of the hit Broadway play by Josephine Bentham and Herschel V. Williams. It was a simple family comedy about a small town thrown into a tizzy when a training camp opens up nearby, particularly when young Janie and her girlfriends go gaga over the arrival of hundreds of handsome young GIs. Joyce Reynolds took the title role in the original, which did so well the studio was planning a series of Janie films. Then she retired briefly from the screen to be with her husband, a U.S. Marine stationed in Quantico, VA, so series plans were dropped. By 1946, however, Warner's was looking for postwar stories and decided to bring back Janie and her friends. For the sequel, the studio dealt with how Janie, now played by Joan Leslie, adjusted to married life as her husband (Hutton) was facing a new career working for her father's newspaper. Adding complications were their meddling in-laws and Janie's jealousy when an old army buddy turns out to be a beautiful WAAC (Dorothy Malone). It all comes to a head at a family business dinner as Janie tries to keep a prospective buyer for the paper happy while also getting an old beau to help make her husband jealous.
Janie Gets Married (1946) gave the studio a chance to showcase younger talent like Leslie, Hutton and Malone, who were being groomed as possible replacements for bigger but aging stars like Ann Sheridan, Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis. Even though Leslie had started out strongly, with an early role as the heartless girl with whom Bogart is obsessed in High Sierra (1941), she was quickly typed in nice girl roles that never really showed off her talents. Instead, she specialized in playing the sweet young thing the leading man wanted to come home to, leaving stars like Gary Cooper and James Cagney to do all the heavy lifting in the acting department. The original Janie was only Robert Hutton's third film. A perfect on-screen match for Leslie, he would co-star with her three times, with each film capitalizing on his "boy-next-door" image. The role of Sgt. Spud Lee marked only the second time Malone had won screen billing, although she had started in films at RKO in 1943. Janie Gets Married was her first 1946 film at Warner's, but it was her third that year, The Big Sleep, that brought her to prominence. Ironically, her scene as a book-store clerk who enjoys an afternoon tryst with Bogart, was one of the first she shot at Warner Bros., but the film was kept from release for over a year as the studio expanded leading lady Lauren Bacall's role.
Warner Bros. surrounded these three young players with a cast of experienced character actors, many of whom had also appeared in Janie. Along with the 10th-billed McDaniel, at the time the only Oscar®-winner in the cast, the supporting cast included Edward Arnold, on loan from MGM, Ann Harding, queen of the RKO lot during the early days of talking films, and humorist Robert Benchley, in his last film appearance (the picture was released posthumously). New to the fold were Warner's stalwart Meek as the conservative businessman considering buying Arnold's newspaper and Hamilton as Leslie's new housekeeper and the source of many of her domestic woes. In an unbilled supporting role is jazz great Mel Torme as one of Hutton's Army buddies.
Warner's sold the film with a trailer featuring stars like Bogart, Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson extolling the title character's sparkling personality, then being disappointed to learn that Janie was now off the market. Carson refers to her as "the girl who was a glint in the eye of every GI" to remind viewers they had loved her in the earlier film before scenes show the proposal, the honeymoon and problems to come for the newlyweds. Sadly, that wasn't enough to draw in audiences. Reviews were far from kind. E.H.M. in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette suggested the film "isn't a turkey, it just flies off in too many directions at once. Ostensibly a light comedy, it gets tangled up in the problems of returning veterans, the eternal in-law question and then interrupts all of these departures with interludes of slapstick." Bosley Crowther in the New York Times was even less favorable, calling it "childish and bromidic" and suggesting that it might "please the juveniles -- but not sufficiently, we hope, to warrant a sequel. We shudder to think what that would be."
There was little danger of a sequel, nor was there much danger of the film's threatening the more acclaimed post-war drama The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) at the box office or in the year-end awards. Yet seen from a distance of seven decades, the picture provides a fascinating, light-hearted look at social conventions of the war years. And for fans of its strong supporting cast, including McDaniel, it's another chance to see some of Hollywood's most accomplished players at work.
By Frank Miller
Producer: Alex Gottlieb
Director: Vincent Sherman
Screenplay: Agnes Christine Johnston
Based on the characters created by Josephine Bentham & Herschel V. Williams, Jr.
Cinematography: Carl E. Guthrie
Score: Friedrich Hollaender
Cast: Joan Leslie (Janie Conway), Robert Hutton (Dick Lawrence), Edward Arnold (Charles Conway), Ann Harding (Lucille Conway), Robert Benchley (John Van Brunt), Dorothy Malone (Sgt. Spud Lee), Richard Erdman (Lt. 'Scooper' Nolan), Donald Meek (Harley P. Stowers), Hattie McDaniel (April), Margaret Hamilton (Mrs. Angles), Mel Torme (Dick's Buddy)
Janie Gets Married
This film was a sequel to Warner Bros.' 1944 picture Janie. Although a "Janie" series had been planned, Warner Bros. abandoned the idea after actress Joyce Reynolds, who played "Janie" in the 1944 film, temporarily retired from films to join her husband, a U.S. Marine, in Quantico, VA, according to a February 1945 studio press release. A February 2, 1945 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that director David Butler was replaced by Vincent Sherman after he was assigned to the Warner Bros. film The Time, the Place, the Girl. Actor Robert Benchley died in 1945. This was his final film.