Wednesday, March 11, 2015


With Ann Sothern being TCM's Star of the Month, TCM's programming is unsurprisingly getting around to showing what is probably Sothern's best-known character: Maisie, starting at 8:00 PM.

Maisie Ravier (Sothern, of course, is a chorus girl who, at the start of this movie, is in some hole-in-the-wall town on the rail line through Wyoming. She's there because she has a contract to join a traveling show. Unfortunately for Maisie, the show went bankrupt, so she's stranded in the middle of nowhere without a job and with next to no money. But the way these movies go, Maisie is a plucky sort, with almost as much cojones as Torchy Blane over at Warner Bros. So she gets a job at the carnival, which is where she meets Slim (Robert Young). He's the manager for one of the big ranches in the area, but he doesn't care for Maisie at all. He's willing to get her out of his life by buying her a train ticket back to Chicago, but when she hears that the absentee owners of the ranch will be coming for a visit, Maisie stows away on the back of Slim's truck and, when the owner and his wife arrives, claims that Slim hired her to be the wife's maid for the duration of the visit.

That's one problem for Slim, but there are a lot of other problems for him and the ranch. The ranch is under financial strain, and worse, the owners are here under their own difficult circumstances. Clifford Ames (Ian Hunter), the owner, thought he was in a happy marriage to his wife Sybil (Ruth Hussey), until he discovered that she was having an affair behind his back! So Clifford convinced Sybil to come to the ranch for a while so that they could work on their marriage. He doesn't realize that her lover Richard (John Hubbard) has followed her here, and the two of them are still carrying on their affair!

So it's a lot that Maisie has walked into, although of course she doesn't know the half of what's going on. She sets about fixing what things she can see in front of her, to the point that she goes from being Sybil's maid to pretty much being Clifford's personal assistant. Sybil begins to think that Clifford is falling in love with Maisie, which the nasty Sybil could certainly use if there were ever divorce proceedings started. Things take a rather more dramatic turn, however, when Clifford discovers that Sybil is still carrying on her affair and offs himself. It looks like Maisie's meddling has hurt rather than helped. And Sybil is about to make Maisie hurt a whole lot more as she's able to cook up evidence to make it look as though Maisie is responsible for Clifford's death!

Thw whole dilemma is wrapped up with one of those Hollywood courtroom scenes that defies all reality, and in this one wrapped up fairly hastily, as though the writers didn't quite know who to solve all the problems the created in the first three-quarters of the film. That having been said, though, Maisie succeeds as entertainment, thanks to Sothern's portrayal. The movie proved popular at the box office, to the extent that MGM decided to rush an entire Maisie series of movies into production. TCM is running the series (I think in its entirety; I haven't seen most of the other movies in the series) throughout the rest of tonight and into tomorrow morning, but the series leaves open the question of what happens to Slim.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Boring stuff as usual, Ted S.
Say, why not regale your reader with some juicy libertarian gossip? You could tie it in with the classic Mean Girls, wherein adult libertarian men -- I mean high school girls -- form a clique and abuse the ugly girls by spreading malicious gossip and putting them in their Burn Book! I'll get things started with life imitating art at your favorite libertarian gossip site:

Looking forward to your treatment, Ted!