The Devil and Miss Jones

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Not to be confused with the 1973 pornographic film The Devil in Miss Jones.
The Devil and Miss Jones
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Sam Wood
Produced by Frank Ross
Written by Norman Krasna
Music by Roy Webb
Cinematography Harry Stradling, Sr.
Edited by Sherman Todd
Frank Ross-Norma Krasna
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • April 4, 1941 (1941-04-04) (Miami)[1]
  • April 11, 1941 (1941-04-11) (USA)
Running time
92 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $664,000[2]
Box office $1,421,000[2]

The Devil and Miss Jones is a 1941 comedy film starring Jean Arthur and Charles Coburn. Directed by Sam Wood and scripted by Norman Krasna, the film was the product of an independent collaboration between Krasna and producer Frank Ross (Jean Arthur's husband). Their short-lived production company released two films through RKO Radio Pictures (Miss Jones and 1943's A Lady Takes a Chance). The film was well received by critics upon its release and garnered Academy Award nominations for Coburn and Krasna.


Cantankerous tycoon John P. Merrick (Charles Coburn) goes undercover as a shoe clerk at his own New York department store to identify agitators trying to form a union, after seeing a newspaper picture of his employees hanging him in effigy. He befriends fellow clerk Mary Jones (Jean Arthur) and her recently fired boyfriend Joe O'Brien (Robert Cummings), a labor union organizer. Through his firsthand experiences, he grows more sympathetic to the needs of his workers, while finding unexpected love with sweet-natured clerk Elizabeth Ellis (Spring Byington).



Frank Ross and Norman Krasna decided to produce a movie together starring Jean Arthur for $600,000 borrowed from the bank. The script was written in ten weeks and then Sam Wood came on board as director. Krasna described the experience of making the film as one of the best in his career.[3]

Box office[edit]

The film made a profit of $117,000.[2]

Academy Award nominations[edit]

Adaptations to other media[edit]

On November 14, 1941, Philip Morris Playhouse presented The Devil and Miss Jones. The adaptation starred Lana Turner.[4] The story was also adapted as a radio play on two broadcasts of Lux Radio Theater, first on January 19, 1942 with Lana Turner and Lionel Barrymore, then on March 12, 1945 with Linda Darnell and Frank Morgan. It was also adapted twice on The Screen Guild Theater, first on June 7, 1943 with Laraine Day, Charles Coburn and George Murphy, again on August 12, 1946 with Van Johnson and Donna Reed. It was also adapted on the October 23, 1946 broadcast of Academy Award Theater, starring Charles Coburn[5] and Virginia Mayo.


  1. ^ "The Devil and Miss Jones: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved April 13, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Richard Jewel, 'RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951', Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p56
  3. ^ NORMAN KRASNA (18 May 1941) "SOME AUTHORS DIE HAPPY", New York Times, p. X4, New York, N.Y
  4. ^ "Lana Turner Friday Star on 'Playhouse'". Harrisburg Telegraph. November 8, 1941. p. 22. Retrieved July 22, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ "Charles Coburn Is 'Academy' Star". Harrisburg Telegraph. October 19, 1946. p. 17. Retrieved September 29, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read

External links[edit]

Streaming audio