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I, Jane Doe

I, Jane Doe(1948)

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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When playboy Stephen Curtis is murdered by a French woman, she refuses to give her name in order to protect her family back home, and must be tried as "Jane Doe." After she is convicted and the judge sentences her to the electric chair, Jane collapses and is taken to the prison hospital. There, the doctors determine that Jane is several months pregnant, which automatically grants her a stay of execution until the baby is born. Months later, the baby is born, and Steve's widow, Eve Meredith Curtis, visits Jane in the hospital, and decides to return to her legal practice and re-open Jane's case. In court, Eve's first move is to call her own legal secretary, Phyllis Tuttle, to the stand. Phyllis recalls a time when Eve was happy in her marriage to Steve: A woman named Marga-Jane Hastings comes to Eve one day wanting to file a breech of promise suit against Steve. Stunned, Eve and Phyllis immediately go to question Steve, but learn that he has received his orders that day to go overseas to fight in the war. With only three days until Steve's departure, Eve blames herself for his infidelity and decides to close down her legal practice to await his return. Later, Eve learns that Steve has been shot down outside Paris. After Phyllis's testimony, Eve calls Jane to the stand and asks her to give her name. She says that before she was married, her name was Annette Dubois, but now she is Mrs. Stephen Curtis. The judge accepts her marriage certificate and enters it as evidence. Jane explains what happened after Steve's plane crashed: Annette and her brother, Robert, save him from the wreckage. When Robert later dies, Annette dresses Robert's corpse in Steve's uniform, so the Nazis will think Steve has been killed in the crash. Suddenly, Annette's testimony is interrupted when word arrives that her baby has become ill. When the baby dies, Annette does not wish to return to the stand, so Eve contacts Annette's childhood sweetheart, Julian Aubert, and asks him to come to the United States. After Julian begs Annette to testify, she returns to the stand to continue her story: one evening, she and Steve are married. When the Allies free Paris, Steve returns to his unit, promising to send for Annette. After months of waiting, Steve's lawyer visits her, asking that she sign an annulment and release Steve from his vows. She refuses, and instead, bribes the lawyer to get her a forged passport under the name Annette Fontaine. Soon after, Annette leaves for New York City where Steve said he lived. When she arrives, however, Steve notifies immigration authorities, and she is arrested. While awaiting her deportation in a holding cell at Ellis Island, Annette escapes and goes to Steve's apartment. At this point in the testimony, Eve thanks Annette and calls her own business associate, William Hilton, to the stand. Hilton testifies that he went to the Curtis apartment where he found Eve with a gun. Just then, they heard the shot as Annette killed Steve. When Eve explains that she had been on the verge of killing her husband herself, the jury finds Annette not guilty, and she and Julian are reunited.