|Index||10 reviews in total|
Maid's Night Out is a delightful little romantic comedy....... No grand performances, or breakthrough's here, but it's a fun little movie...... Especially, for Joan Fontaine fans..... Joan's very pretty, and cute in this film...... I recommend this, for Joan fans, and those who are looking for a lighthearted film..... I'm glad, there's TCM channel, that shows these lost treasures......
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is one of my all time favorite movies. The perfect Screwball
Situations and images are sometimes surreal in their absurdity. While I know very few people who have seen or heard of this film, its' plot lines, and scenes often show up on TV, and in other movies. My favorite example is the police chase near the end. Bill (Allan Lane) and Sheila (Joan Fontaine) are pulling out all the stops to get back to the dairy on time while the entire police force is chasing them. To get rid of the police, Shelia climbs into the back of the milk truck and throws milk bottles to the street. When the police cars drive over the broken glass, their tires blow out, and of course the squad cars run off the road, and are eliminated from the chase. This scene was not just copied, but duplicated in an episode of "Moonlighting" (Cybill Shepherd-Bruce Willis TV show of the 1980s)
One of my favorite quotes from this movie comes from Misha (Solly Ward); the Socialist/Bolshivik Dairyman: "I just helped a Son of the Rich!" No matter how many times I watch "Maid's Night Out", I always laugh out loud.
This is a bit of comic fluff that is mostly notable as a a very early
starring vehicle for Joan Fontaine. She is cute, but quite mannered,
especially when the script calls for her to laugh. The plot concerns a
milk magnate's son who is studying to be an ichthyologist and who
agrees to drive a milk truck for daddy's company for one month on a
bet. He meets up with socialite Joan whom he mistakes for a domestic
and much silliness ensues. Future cowboy star Allan Lane is charming as
the fish student cum milkman and Hedda Hopper is good for a few laughs
as Joan's ditsy mother. Of course Joan and Allan hate each other on
sight, but things progress as one would expect in a 'B' romantic comedy
of this period.
Look for Jack Carson in an uncredited bit part as a roller coaster attendant, and Lee Patrick as a lady who is ready to kiss any milkman who appears at her kitchen door. (The small part of Allan's cousin is played by an actress named Vicki Lester, which of course is the stage name of the heroine of "A Star Is Born," which came out the previous year. Since her credits only begin in 1937, I'm guessing she took her name from the movie.)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Maid's Night Out is one of my favorite movies with Joan Fontaine. I saw it on TCM last year and it made me laugh so much. It's now one of my favorite classics. No, it's not Casablanca, but it's a fun, screwball comedy with some slapstick and many of your favorite old movie characters. I thought Joan was absolutely adorable as the spoiled socialite pretending to be a maid and handsome Allan Lane pretending to be a milkman. I also enjoyed the exchange between the cops and the real maid. For 64 minutes, it's not a bad way to spend your time to watch and enjoy a fun old movie from 1937. I absolutely recommend it for those who want to see something other than the popular and typical classics.
Joan Fontaine stars in this short, undemanding little film about a society girl confused for a maidservant. I saw this years ago, when AMC was showing movies with no commercials in the early 1990s. A long time ago! And, I used to see it over and over, as it is a very lightweight, cheery, clever in parts crowd pleaser. Her Lothario is Allan "Rocky" Lane before his western film claim to fame. He comes from a rich and respected family, but is spending his time "playing with guppies," as his father says. He is interested in going on a fishing expedition to the South Seas, but can't find a backer. When his dad caught him sneaking out and wanting to "borrow" his father's boat, his dad bets him that if he works 30 days in the family business, Arlen Dairy, as a door-to-door milkman and doesn't make a single mistake, he would finally acquiesce to financing this dream of his. Costarring Billy Gilbert, Cecil Kellaway, Jack Carson (in a bit part), and Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper as Joan's mother, this is a good programmer to while away the hour with. And, with clever quips like, (when Hedda complains about paying these outrageous bills) Joan replies "We could try living within our income. "Living within our income! I never heard of such a thing," Hedda says. So sit back with Rocky Lane and Joan Fontaine for a ride on a milk truck that gets sillier by the minute.
Fish-loving college graduate Allan Lane (as Bill Norman) agrees to
become a lowly milkman for 30 days, so his millionaire father will
believe him worthy of a proposed six-month tropical expedition, aboard
the family yacht. So, Mr. Lane begins enthusiastically delivering
"Arlen Milk". On his route, he meets pretty débutante Joan Fontaine (as
Sheila Harrison), whom he mistakes for her family's maid. Ms.
Fontaine's family has fallen on hard times; and, they want her to marry
wealthy stuffed-shirt William Brisbane (as Wally Martin). But, Fontaine
would rather hook up with Lane the "milkman"; and, he has fallen in
love with Fontaine the "maid".
Lane, the future voice of "Mr. Ed", and Fontaine make a charming pair of 1930s "screwball comedy" "milkmen". There are a few cute moments, and the film's supporting cast is strong. Cecil Kellaway (as Geoffrey) and Hilda Vaughn (as Mary) are, of course, excellent, as the actual pair's servants. Mr. Brisbane has a great part; and, he gets to sing. The story is mostly fair, with a few good moments. Fontaine's milk truck attack on the runaway couple's pursuers shouldn't be missed. The ending "double take" of kisses ends the film on a sweet note.
***** Maid's Night Out (1938) Ben Holmes ~ Allan Lane, Joan Fontaine, William Brisbane
"Maid's Night Out" is a film that is quite enjoyable...but also
understand that it's also sometimes quite stupid...mostly at the end. I
am not necessarily saying to avoid the picture...just lower your
expectations and enjoy...or not.
Bill (Allen 'Rocky' Lane) is the son of a rich dairy owner...and he's quite spoiled. The father thinks he's so spoiled he isn't good for much of anything. But Bill wants to prove something to his dad and makes him a bet that he can work the lowest job at the company, a milk delivery man, and not screw up in the least.
During the process of this bet, Bill meets Sheila (Joan Fontaine). And, since he's dressed as a milkman and she appears to be a servant, both thinks that they are dating a poor working class person. Imagine their surprise when they learn the truth.
So far, so good. However...the ending! The police arrest Bill for no reason in particular...other than he broke into Sheila's home by climbing in an upstairs window with his ladder! How this later came to have folks think Bill KIDNAPPED her is beyond me...and so much of what the pair do next makes perfect sense...if you have had a traumatic brain injury! It's a mess...plain and simple and I had to force myself not to turn it off when Sheila started tossing milk bottles at cops! Huh???
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
MNO opens with Billy Gilbert with "Mr. Papalapoulas", the fish vendor. Gilbert spent years perfecting his long sneeze in TV shows like Abbot & Costello. He's having a discussion about fish with Bill Norman (Allan Lane... Lane was the uncredited voice of Mister Ed for 145 episodes! Last thing he did.) Norman is a millionaire's son, who decides to become a milkman... ahh, for some reason. To prove to Dad that he can make something of himself, I guess. Joan Fontaine is Sheila, who also comes from money. They both think the other is a poor working-class person, and of course that will blow up on them at some point. If you pay attention, you'll spot Jack Carson as the carny worker, just a tiny, little, uncredited part. Also note that Hedda Hopper is Sheila's mother! and Cecil Kellaway is Geoffrey. Kellaway was "Nick", in Postman Rings Twice, and a bunch of Twilight Zones. Not much of a real burning plot here, but its in the prime of the film code, so it can't get too wacky.... we know they aren't being honest with each other, so those secrets will bust out at some point. and this thing is only 64 minutes, so it can't take too long to unwind. Not bad. Not great.
MAID'S NIGHT OUT is an absurd little screwball comedy which
demonstrates, in painful fashion, why JOAN FONTAINE was relegated to
programmers during her early career at RKO. As in most of her other
"comic" turns, she's not served well by a script that would be a hurdle
for an accomplished comedienne like Constance Bennett, an actress
Fontaine admired greatly.
How anyone would mistake Fontaine for a domestic is a pill hard to swallow--and the ensuing plot twists are equally hard to deal with, even in a screwball comedy. The scene with the milk bottles being tossed off the truck is just too much.
JOAN FONTAINE and ALLAN LANE do the best they can with a tiresome script that has her behaving like a spoiled brat for most of the running time, which is mercifully brief. HEDDA HOPPER is her foolish mother and there's a standout performance by BILLY GILBERT as a fish peddler (at a time when a pound of fish was 18 cents!).
Not an essential Joan Fontaine film, even though TCM features it whenever celebrating her birthday. She looks lovely and she and Allan Lane make a charming couple but it's a strained performance--especially on that milk truck with her floundering around in discomfort as the police chase begins.
Until Hollywood had the responsibility of World War II and the promoting of Patriotism, it seemed to be pre-occupied with convincing the poor and unemployed that they were actually happier than the rich. I'm not sure many really bought the premise, but take a real look back at the movies of the period, good as they were, and you'll see a recurring theme. This is another in the genre. Two young wealthy people, Joan Fontaine and Allan Lane, find love while pretending to be a maid and a milkman, respectively. The movie itself is only mildly entertaining. Joan Fontaine, while beautiful, is at the early stages of her career, and apparently just learning her craft. Allen Lane, on the other hand, had obviously not gone to any acting class, nor proved receptive to any coaching. Just brutally awful. I remember many a Saturday afternoon spent at the local Strand theater, watching Allen "Rocky" Lane do his turn as "Red Ryder", and thinking he was terrific. Of course, I was only 7 or 8 at the time. OK, OK, enough of the negative. Here, also, you will find Cecil Kelloway, Vicki Lester and Hedda Hopper, all of whom were good actors, and who provide some of the better moments of the film. But all in all, unless you're a die hard Joan Fontaine fan, don't waste your time.
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