The Adventures of Jane
The Adventures of Jane 1949
I’ve gotten another free month of Amazon Prime and I thought I’d put it to good use to watch a couple movies based on a serialized comic strip that I knew very little about. Really the only thing I knew about it was that it was serialized, and that the main character Jane often had her clothes ripped off of her body, leaving her in her underwear. It very rarely or only just once went fully nude, it was generally just slightly bawdy for that era and treated with a Benny Hill-esque sense that the nudity was intended more for comedy and embarrassment rather than eroticism. This was the first adaptation and it was apparently made quick and cheap and it really shows. There wasn’t a whole lot going on for this movie other than a couple cheap laughs and the bare minimum of a story to it.
The movie itself is simple enough although it doesn’t really do much to set up Jane as a character if you’re someone who is unfamiliar with her character from the comics. They jump right where Jane is in her dressing room, what she was doing before or after changing is completely unknown other than she is well known and popular enough to have fans interested in meeting her. As for the most well known aspect of the Jane comics, it’s not actually represented very well in this movie. There’s only two times where her dress gets accidentally ripped off of her. The first time it’s used for one of the characters to ingratiate himself to her as he offers her his coat. The second time happens at the end and it’s purely used for comedy, and generally falls flat at that.
The overall plot of the film was a little hard to follow as there were several characters that were all interested in Jane in one way or another and it was difficult at times to keep track of what each of them wanted her for. A few characters were part of a diamond smuggling ring who were trying to use Jane as a mule to smuggle these diamonds out of the country on her bracelet without her knowing. And of course, when you have an unwitting mule, things tend to go wrong and that happens here. First, one of the characters convinces her that the diamonds are fake, and at one point they actually were as they manage to get the bracelet off of Jane at one point in time and swap out the diamonds. But later on, she gives away the bracelet to another fan of hers because she does believe it to be fake. The fan is also connected to everyone somehow and there’s a guy who’s trying to catch the diamond smugglers. And on top of everything else, there’s time to have a random drunk guy who accidentally stumbles into Jane’s room because the number outside the room got knocked upside down. It has no real bearing on any of the plot, it’s just an extraneous bit of comedy that didn’t stand the test of time.
The character of Jane herself didn’t really endear herself to the audience. For the most part, she didn’t really have any agency, she just flitted around from set piece to set piece, at one point she even was judging a bathing suit competition. But there was rarely any time to showcase her personality or character. The only time she really got to do anything was towards the end when she was kidnapped after she had given away the bracelet. She ties a note to her ever present Dachshund Fritzi and sends him off to bring her some help while she ultimately fends off her kidnappers by throwing dishes at them.
As far as being an adaptation of a pin up style comic strip, the movie also never really had much in the way of titillation. Even though there was a swimsuit competition at one point in the film, it was shot so dully and with unflattering angles that it never really felt like it was a showcase for the women in the swimsuits. It just felt like that was something going on as the camera was just stationary as the women walked past holding numbered hearts that covered up half of their bodies. The angles were unflattering, the lighting was dull, and there really wasn’t anything else happening in that scene whatsoever. The film just stopped to have some women in swimsuits walk past the camera for about five minutes in a fifty minute film. As far as comic book movies go, this barely registers, it was just a passing curiosity that I suppose I’m glad I watched. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.