The law firm of Minland (Charles Dingle), Mahoney (Charles Arnt), and Krencher (Chester Clute) is on the hunt for Judy Jones, heiress to a great fortune from one of their clients who recently passed away. Unable to track the gal down, they decide to put out advertisements on the radio in hopes that she will hear about the inheritance and come to their office.
Band leader Tommy Coles (Robert Alda) realizes soon after hearing one of the ads during his own broadcast that his girlfriend, singer Judy Jones (Joan Leslie), is the heiress. Tommy has proposed to Judy on several occasions, but she keeps turning him down, saying that they need to be financially secure before marrying. Tommy sees this inheritance as his ticket to the altar.
Judy is able to prove that she’s the Judy Jones by presenting a shrunken head gifted to her by her uncle — the wealthy, deceased man whose fortune she stands to inherit.
But when Minland, Mahoney, and Krencher are convinced of her identity, one more complication is revealed. The will stipulates that Judy must marry a man with an I.Q. of 150 by a certain date, or the money will instead be donated to a museum. Luckily for Judy, a quirky professor (S. Z. Sakall) may be able to help her find an intelligent husband-to-be.
Busby Berkeley directs 1946’s Cinderella Jones. The film was written for the screen by Charles Hoffman.
Cinderella Jones’ strongest asset is definitely its cast. “Cinderella Jones” herself is Joan Leslie, ever so sweet and likable. The character of Judy is somewhat air-headed, but Leslie keeps her from becoming obnoxious in all of her misadventures, which include a habit of making cheese sandwiches with soap instead of their usual main ingredient.
Judy wants the inheritance badly, but not out of greed. She simply doesn’t want to keep worrying about where her next meal is coming from. So, the viewer roots for her in her quest to fulfill the terms of her uncle’s will.
The cast also features a number of fantastic character and supporting actors, namely S. Z. Sakall and Edward Everett Horton. Judy’s nickname for Sakall’s character in the film is “Cuddles,” also the actor’s nickname (though he reportedly hated being called “Cuddles” in real life). Julie Bishop has a fun appearance as a flirty cab driver, and William Prince shares an antagonistic relationship with Judy as Professor Williams, a man served one too many soap sandwiches.
On the whole, the film is very enjoyable, beyond the talents of its cast. It’s a quirky flick with a silly sense of humor and an adorable ending. The mood is kept pleasant, and there are quite a few laughs.
There’s also a bit of music, to delight fans of Hollywood’s toe-tapping musical film genre. An early scene takes place at the broadcast of a radio program, where the search for Judy is being advertised. Several of the characters are performers, so the songs carry on throughout the film, even after the radio broadcast ends.
Cinderella Jones offers no more than a trivial story told in a pleasant but unmemorable fashion. Still, I would recommend it for fans of the romantic comedy. It’s a sweet film and a fine time-passer.