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Lady in a Jam (1942)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 19 June 1942 (USA)
A psychiatrist's patient, a nutty heiress, travels west to find gold in her grandfather's abandoned mine. The psychiatrist, unable to talk her out of it, decides to follow her out there.


Gregory La Cava


Eugene Thackrey (screenplay), Francis M. Cockrell (screenplay) (as Frank Cockrell) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Irene Dunne ... Jane Palmer
Patric Knowles ... Doctor Enright
Ralph Bellamy ... Stanley Gardner
Eugene Pallette ... Mr. John Billingsley
Samuel S. Hinds ... Doctor Brewster
Queenie Vassar ... Cactus Kate
Jane Garland Jane Garland ... Strawberry
Edward McWade ... Ground-Hog
Robert Homans ... Faro Bill
Russell Hicks ... Carter
Hardie Albright ... Milton
Isabel La Mal Isabel La Mal ... Josephine (as Isabel LaMal)
Edward Gargan ... Deputy


Jane Palmer is suspected of insanity after squandering her inheritance, and a young psychiatrist, Dr. Enright, is assigned to her case. Posing as her chauffeur, he drives her out west to her rich grandmother, from whom Jane hopes to recoup her fortune. The grandmother refuses her money, but allows her to work the family's played-out gold mine. As part of his treatment, Enright "salts" the mine with gold and, unintentionally, brings on a gold-rush and a group of government assayers. They find the mine rich in mercury ore and new riches for Hope, who is now more interested in her "chauffeur." Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

19 June 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sheltered Lady See more »

Filming Locations:

Phoenix, Arizona, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Wedding March
from "Lohengrin"
Music by Richard Wagner
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User Reviews

Soon after the film began, I completely hated the leading character....could the movie be salvaged?
20 March 2018 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

In "Bringing Up Baby", the leading lady is a ditzy, scatterbrained woman. However, no matter how bad she was, Katharine Hepburn's character was, down deep, a very sweet and lovable scatterbrain! This is what helped to make that movie a classic.

In "Lady in a Jam", however, the leading lady is ditzy and scatterbrained...but also is thoroughly self-absorbed and feels zero sense of responsibility for her actions because she has no conscience. As a result, I thoroughly hated Irene Dunne's character and strongly considered turning off the movie early into the story...she was that awful and easy to hate. Was I right in continuing to watch the movie?

When the story begins, the executor of an estate (Eugene Pallette) approaches the psychiatrist, Dr. Enright (Patric Knowles), about the woman he's been assigned to oversee. He's frustrated because the woman, though once rich, has spent herself into oblivion and nothing he says or does has any impact on her. Obviously he's concerned about the lady's mental competence.

Instead of investigating Jane Palmer directly, he indirectly watches her and then introduces himself after her chauffeur quits. After all, she hasn't paid him in months and she treats him like dirt. When Dr. Enright offers to drive her home, she insists she'll drive herself...even though she hasn't a license. However, she not only doesn't know how to drive, she simply doesn't care about the other drivers...and soon plows into two vehicles. She then refuses to show a license or insurance information and tells both drivers that it was their fault...and tries to drive off. The cop stops her, temporarily, but soon she leaves...with Enright driving her. He then announces he wants to be her new chauffeur...which doesn't make much sense since her actions behind the wheel and insanely extravagant spending clearly demonstrate she is incompetent*.

Once home, her executor announces she's broke and men are there to itemize her possessions for an auction. Despite the deputies showing their badges and agreeing with the man, Jane insists she's rich and demands everyone leave. Well, this amounts to nothing and soon she's living in an empty house...and blaming the executor for everything. Then, Enright announces who she is and she blathers on and on about how he and everyone else is unfair to her. Despite this, and after telling her off, he insists that he's going to stay and help her...and accompany her to some piece of land out west that she STILL owns.

This all is still relatively early in the film...and my hatred for Jane has only increased. Again, I had to resist the desire to turn it off and cut my losses. Apparently, I am a masochist so I kept watching. What follows doesn't get a lot better. She continues to treat everyone like dirt and is a thoroughly hateful character...so much so that I longed for the movie to end! What happens next? Who cares!

Rarely have I seen a movie that combines excellent actors with such a thoroughly awful script. You wonder why Dunne, in particular, agreed to do the picture, as her character was NOT likable despite everything and must have elicited a lot of dislike in the movie patrons. Overall, I'd rate this as one of the worst films Dunne ever made...perhaps THE worst. And, as such, I recommend you don't waste your time with it...like I did! And to imagine, this fine actress also made such classics as "Love Affair", "The Awful Truth" and "My Favorite Wife"!

* I am a trained psychotherapist...her actions CLEARLY demonstrate she is not competent and poses a serious danger to others in this one scene alone. No therapist would need to keep observing her in order to prove her incompetence...thus making the rest of the story irrelevant.

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