Review: The Devil & Miss Jones (1941)

Charles Coburn plays J.P. Merrick, a millionaire who goes undercover in his own department store to expose union activists. He runs into spirited Jean Arthur who takes the poor man, who couldn’t sell a shoe to save his life, under her wing.

The cold heart of a blustering business tycoon is softened by his experience among the common folk, as he works and socializes with Mary Jones, her boyfriend and union ringleader Joe O’Brien (Robert Cummings), and their sweet co-worker Elizabeth, played by the always wonderful Spring Byington.

S.Z. Sakall is great as Merrick’s befuddled butler; one of the funniest scenes involves Sakall and a precocious youngster pretending to buy multiple pairs of a tough selling shoe just to make Merrick look good. Edmund Gwenn (aka Santa Clause in The Miracle on 34th Street) strikes just the right note as the tyrannical shoe department head who competes with Merrick for Elizabeth’s affection. [**** out of 5]

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