Johnny Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

Screening on Film
Directed by Joe May.
With Simone Simon, James Ellison, William Terry.
US, 1944, 35mm, 74 min.

This little-known Monogram comedy is a delightful entry in the short cycle of housing shortage comedies inspired by the rush of factory workers to already crowded urban centers during the Second World War. Giving comedic form to period anxieties about single and empowered women newly entered into the labor force, Johnny Doesn’t Live Here Anymore stars Simone Simon as Kathie, an aircraft factory worker whose arrival in the Big City and prompt displacement from her promised sublet unleashes a dizzying comedy of mistaken identity and errant desire. The film follows Kathie as she deftly fends off prowling servicemen and adjusts to her new life, all the while accompanied by a wacky Mel Blanc-voiced gremlin sprinkling pixie dust havoc around her. Remembered today, if at all, for the brief appearance of a youthful Robert Mitchum as a sleepy-eyed soldier, the film also marks the sadly ignominious end of Viennese émigré director Joe May’s once meteoric career.

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The B–Film
Low–Budget Hollywood Cinema 1935–1959

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Chronicles of Changing Times. The Cinema of Edward Yang