Maisie (1939) Poster

(1939)

User Reviews

Review this title
14 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
6/10
The wonderful Ann Sothern begins the "Maisie"series
blanche-226 November 2007
Ann Sothern could enliven any production and any script, gracing both with her talent, beauty and unusual voice. "Maisie," the first in a series of films about one Miss Maisie Ravier, is no exception. Despite being made on a shoestring, watching Ann Sothern is a delight. She plays a showgirl who is left stranded when the show folds before she arrives. Desperate for work, she takes a job in a carnival, where she meets Slim (Robert Young), a woman-hating cowboy. She stows away in his truck and then assigns herself as a maid to the wife (Ruth Hussey) of Slim's boss (Ian Hunter) when they arrive. Mr. and Mrs. Ames are there to repair their marriage, which was nearly ruined by Mrs. Ames' infidelity. It doesn't take long for anyone to realize that she's a tramp and still at it. This leads to tragedy, and it's up to Maisie to save the day.

Sothern makes the film entertaining - Maisie has a smart mouth and is very enterprising. I can't agree with one poster that this was the first series to have a woman as the main character because the Torchy Blane series started two years before Maisie. Ian Hunter gives a very gentle performance as Mr. Ames, Ruth Hussey is appropriately conniving, and Robert Young is miscast. It's not the first time.

Although I haven't seen the rest of the series yet, apparently they're done as separate entities, because from looking at the cast lists, it doesn't appear that the Young character is in the other films, unless the reason is subsequently explained. I originally thought this might be the last film instead of the first. Well, they promise to be interesting. Anything with Ann Sothern usually is.
17 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
I'm glad there are more "Maisie" movies.
mkilmer31 August 2006
Why did I like "Maisie"? It was not hilarious and the story seemed to try to feign plausibility. It trivialized a suicide, which is the one thing which bothered me about the film – but by trivializing it, they avoided dwelling on.

That being said, the situation was good and the acting was splendid. I adored Maisie (Ann Southern), liked Slim (Robert Young) as the character surpassed his initial single dimension, and had no time for Sybil (Ruth Hessy) or her paramour (John Hubbard).

The film worked because it is about Maisie in a situation. She is a good and decent person, bothered but not surprised that the world contains sharks and charlatans, and shameless women who marry for money. She'll judge everything personally, but she won't grandstand about it. She'll be put in any number of situations, and she knows how to survive and thrive in each of them.

Wonderful character actor George Tobias makes two excellent appearances in the film, towards the beginning and the end, as a sort of a con man. It was a nice touch.

I am looking forward to seeing the nine other films in the "Maisie" series.
15 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Sothern is an absolute delight!
chad47825 February 2001
MAISIE was the first in a series of ten MGM features starring the delightful Ann Sothern as a sharp-tongued Brooklyn chorus girl with a heart of gold. One way or the other, Maisie found herself in the middle of other people's problems, and, more often than not, found a reasonable solution.

The MAISIE series was made on a noticeably low-budget, but Ms. Sothern's bright and vivacious personality elevated these "B" movies to A picture status, making every entry in the series always worth watching. MAISIE is also of great historical importance because it's the first time a female was the central character of a film series.(BLONDIE doesn't count because most of the 28 films in that series revolved around Dagwood).

Though I have seen all of the films in the MAISIE series and love them all dearly, my top favorites are: MAISIE(1939), CONGO MAISIE(1940), GOLD RUSH MAISIE(1940), MAISIE WAS A LADY(1941), MAISIE GETS HER MAN(1942), and MAISIE GOES TO RENO(1944).
18 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
B-movie fare with a difference.
verna5513 November 2000
A meddlesome, but well-meaning Brooklyn showgirl(the wonderful Ann Sothern) becomes stranded and ends up on a Wyoming ranch where she falls in love with a handsome foreman(Robert Young) and attempts to clear him of a trumped-up murder charge. Based on the Wilson Collinson novel, "Dark Dame", the film was intended as a vehicle for blonde bombshell Jean Harlow, who died before the project could be lifted off the ground. The script was then given to another spicy and likable MGM contract player, Ann Sothern, who had charmed her way into the hearts of movie audiences a year earlier with her delightful turn as the wisecracking blonde in the United Artists release, TRADE WINDS. Miss Sothern's winning personality and comedic talents enabled the film to betray its low-budget status, and the picture became such a hit that it spawned no less than nine sequels, all starring the gifted Miss Sothern. "MAISIE" may not be one of MGM's confirmed classics, but it is noteworthy, however, as one of the few film series to feature a lady as the central character.
11 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
That spunky Maisie
jjnxn-12 November 2013
The irrepressible Ann Sothern embarks on one of her signature roles, her defining one until she switched over to TV and Private Secretary, and she a bright and breezy delight. Originally intended as an A picture for the reigning blonde queen of the studio Jean Harlow until her untimely death kicked it around the studio before landing in the lower budget B unit. Still an MGM B picture was a higher quality production than some of the lower rung studios top grade films having as they did the cream of the Hollywood talent pool at their disposal.

So appealing is Ann it's no wonder this was the start of a highly successful series chronicling her exploits in ever more exotic locations. No matter the pickle she finds herself in her pluck and ingenuity carry her though. Robert Young, a man born to wear dinner jackets, is rather preposterously cast as a ranch hand, in the best pressed dude clothes you've ever seen, but his facile charm carries him over any rough spots. Ian Hunter is all warm dignity in his part but the biggest surprise casting is finding Ruth Hussey, usually the wry, wise upstanding lady, playing a rapacious unfaithful gold-digger. This was one of half a dozen films she made the year before her big splash in The Philadelphia Story and Metro hadn't found her niche just yet.

A delightful comedy with a dark turn here and there Ann effortlessly drives the film with her star presence. How she never made it to the top rung of stardom is a mystery.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Amaisieing!
Cicerosaurus12 July 2004
Our heroine, Ann Sothern as Maisie Ravier, is left stranded in a small Wyoming town with the rather unfortunate name of Big Horn. With only 15 cents to her name, she takes a carnival job and through a chance comment, meets Robert Young ('Slim' Martin). For some unexplained reason Maisie stows away on Martins truck and ensconces herself at the farm run by Martin for rich Ian Hunter (Cliff Ames), who turns up with his cheap wife played by Ruth Hussey. A series of misadventures follows with romance for Maisie and tragedy for the Ames. In the end Maisie comes shining through.

The first in a series, Sothern plays Maisie as a brassy, worldwise, blonde with a heart of gold. Her role is reminiscent of Jean Harlow in 'Red Dust': I have heard that Harlow was in line for the role but have no confirmation of that.

The movie itself is quite amusing, if dated, but not helped by poor production values and obvious in studio scenes. There is one shot where Robert Young is driving a truck and a calf pokes it's head into the front part of the truck. Although meant to be real, it is so obviously fake it is laughable. Young walks around in ramrod fashion and Hunter is strangely wooden. Overall, enjoyable nonsense. Not to be taken too seriously.
8 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Ann Southern (1909 - 2001) was an astonishing 92 year old in 2001, and the MAISIE series shows her dazzling personality close up!
David Allen2 January 2014
Ann Southern (1909 - 2001) was an astonishing 92 year old in 2001, and the MAISIE series shows her dazzling personality close up!

--------------------------

by David "Tex" Allen, January 2, 2014

---------------

I screened MAISIE (1939) starring Ann Southern and many memories of seeing the incredible star of that movie over the years of my life (I turn 70 in 16 days!) returned. The memories were/are all pleasurable.

The late Ann Southern (1909 - 2001) was born Harriet Lake in North Dakota and died at age 92 in Idaho. Not a typical Hollywood movie star, but really.....who is or ever was! Movie stars are all like snow flakes, every one different and distinctly unique (to be redundant intentionally....emphasizes my point!).

Her only child, actress Tisha Sterling (c. 1948 - ), is about my age (I was born in 1944), and starred with young Clint Eastwood in one of his early 1960's hits titled COOGAN'S BLUFF (1969). Tisha played a hippie girl.....I also spent some time (not much) as sort of a hippie in NYC during the 1967 "Summer Of Love." Ann Southern's daughter did a good job in COOGAN'S BLUFF, and I watch that movie often when I want to remember hippie NYC in the 1960's.

The electric Ann Southern is best revealed in MAISIE (1939) and other movies in that series which went on until 1947.

The MAISIE series was a "B" movie effort always made cheaply, and which depended on the dazzling and wonderful and always interesting (and oddly sexy......tiny girls only 5'1" tall are usually not sex stars) Ann Southern.

It is a pleasure to sit back and watch Ann "do it," like a sure fire Al Jolson type stage entertainer so packed with predictably crowd pleasing electricity, the audience was always happy, the performances always a success.

Ann Southern was the quintessential performing artist......AND....pay attention....she lived to a VERY old age, She might have lived another 10 years to age 102 if she hadn't lived in Idaho in her 90's, rather than, say LA Calif. or NYC.

Smart lady, and it shows in the MAISIE (1939) movie which is all about Ann Southern at age 30 being magnetic in a "B" movie and stuck with dull but reliable Robert Young as a leading man/ straight man (latter cast as Marcus Welby, M.D., and FATHER'S KNOWS BEST's leading man father......two likable but dull and predictable guys people could rely on).

I admire movie stars who make it into old age....girls mostly like Kate Hepburn, Lillian Gish, Gloria Stuart, others who got past age 90....and very few males...Bob Hope, George Burns, Eli Wallach. Woody Allen is not yet 80 in 2014, but is sure to make it past 90.....both his parents lived past 90 and his Dad made it to age 100.

Ann Southern was 18 when she did her first silent movie extra work, and her stardom period began in 1939 when she was 30 with MAISIE (1939.....the most important year in the history of Hollywood movies, maybe any movies!).

She got to MGM in 1939 after work with other studios during the late 1920's and 1930's.

At MGM, she was given the lead in a "B" comedy about a brassy, energetic showgirl --originally intended for Jean Harlow (who had just died, and thus couldn't "do" the role)--that wound up becoming a huge hit and spawned a series of sequels that ran until 1947.

Ann also appeared in such well received features as Brother Orchid (1940), Cry 'Havoc' (1943) and A Letter to Three Wives (1949). After 1950 the roles dried up and Ann turned to television and another hit series, playing the meddlesome Susie in the 1953 series Private Secretary (1953). I remember seeing this show on black and white TV when I was 9 years old.....

By the 1950's, Southern had gained a lot of weight, and always wore solid black dresses which de-emphasized her portly body, and showed off her always lovely, interesting, and reliably beautiful face.

Being fat in her middle age didn't stop her from being one of the biggest TV stars of the 1950's...the rightly labeled "Golden Age Of Television."

The PRIVATE SECRETARY series was canceled in 1957 and Ann came back in The Ann Sothern Show (1958), which ran from 1958 to 1961.

In 1987, when Ann Southern was 78 years old (!), she would be nominated for an Academy Award for her role as the neighbor of Lillian Gish and Bette Davis in The Whales of August (1987).

Both her co-stars were older than Ann in this famous movie starring geezer pre-WWII movie star actresses (Gish had starred in BIRTH OF A NATION in 1915!).

Ann Southern's famous words about her co-stars in "The Whales of August" (1987) were "Lillian is a person first and then a movie star. Bette is a movie star." (Compliment about Lillian Gish, bad review of Bette Davis, in case you can't read between the lines).

RIP, Ann Southern (aka Harriet Lake of both North Dakota and Idaho!).

You were one of the best of the best and the MAISIE (1939) movie proves it......among other movies and TV shows you did (and songs you sang....Ann sung THE LAST TIME I SAW Paris in a 1941 movie which song got the Best Song Academy Award in 1941, thanks importantly to Ann!).
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Superb character superbly played.
Michael Morrison15 January 2009
Maisie is an admirable character, an honorable character, and it's really too bad Hollywood has lost sight of virtue.

Probably no one could have played her as well as Ann Sothern did.

Though I had seen another entry in this series fairly recently, this is only the second one I've seen, at least in memory.

I will now make it a point to see them all, and I guess it's not necessary to watch them in order.

Women in Hollywood have complained for years that there aren't any great roles for women, that women have been relegated to the clinging girl friend, or the damsel in distress, or something more reprehensible (though of recent years prostitutes and murderers have been considered plum roles).

The existence of a character like Maisie, with strength, determination, courage, and, almost absent in today's Hollywood, honor is the type of role women of today should encourage be brought back.

Maybe not Maisie herself; today's world is too different.

But some woman with Maisie's characteristics would be a welcome, a very welcome screen presence.
6 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Maisie The Wise
bkoganbing17 October 2010
A very popular series was launched by MGM with Ann Sothern portraying that very wise show girl Maisie. Over the next several years Maisie would circle the globe, find herself in all kinds of situations and would dispense advice that more people ought to listen to, especially in the realm of human relations.]

This first film finds Maisie stranded in some western town where a show she was promised an engagement with has folded. The only thing in the town right at the moment is a rodeo.

Sothern after getting in a jackpot courtesy of carnival sharpie George Tobias hitches a ride in the back of Robert Young's truck. Young is the foreman of absentee ranch owner Ian Hunter and Hunter's coming to town with wife Ruth Hussey. Of course the added benefit for Hussey is she will see boyfriend paramour John Hubbard and Sothern who has befriended Hunter has discovered the relationship.

Later on Young gets himself in quite a jackpot after Hunter's demise and it's up to Sothern to straighten the situation out.

The plot of this inaugural Maisie film is thin and rather obvious. But Sothern puts her character over with skill. Ruth Hussey has the other really meaty part, a cold forbidding gold digger of a woman whom Hunter has fallen hopelessly in love with. It's the basis for tragedy.

There's a happy ever ending in this film, but it was not fated to be because Sothern was on the road again in her next Maisie film.
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
"I know all I need to know about everything."
utgard149 May 2017
First in MGM's Maisie series starring the adorable Ann Sothern as everyone's favorite Brooklyn showgirl. Most of the movies in this series follow the same formula: Maisie loses one job but finds another, usually thanks to her love interest in that particular film. This first one has Maisie falling for a ranch foreman (Robert Young, rather unbelievable in cowboy get-up) while befriending the sad ranch owner whose wife is cheating on him.

Ann Sothern was born to play this role. It was apparently originally intended for Jean Harlow before her untimely death, but I can't imagine anyone else doing quite as good with it as Ann. She's delightful to watch. Then there's Robert Young, who tries to make the most of a real A-hole of a character. It's kind of hard to swallow that Maisie would fall for him so fast despite him treating her like crap. But "them's was the times." Ian Hunter offers solid support as the sympathetic cuckold and Ruth Hussey does a good job as the villainous wife.

The Maisie movies tend to be classified as comedies, but that's not really true. As with other MGM series like the Hardy films, these movies are mostly dramas with a little bit of comedy thrown in. Some entries have more comedy and some have less. This first one leans more on the drama. I mean, a character in this commits suicide for crying out loud. Not much humor in that. Anyway, it's an enjoyable start to an entertaining series. The darker moments add a little something to it that helps it rise above your average B movie.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Contrived, but sorta fun
vincentlynch-moonoi12 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Interestingly, "Maisie" was originally planned for Jean Harlow, but her death resulted in the film being put on hold until Ann Sothern was hired for the role a couple of years later.

To me there are 2 problems with the film. First, the plot seems very contrived...almost as if the writers began with no end in sight, and then had to contrive plot machinations to solve problems. It does sorta work, but let's just say that you're not going to be very satisfied with this if your interest is a strong story. How this film spawned a number of sequels, I'm just not clear on. The other problem here is Robert Young. Young was an actor American fell in love with a dozen years later as the TV father who knew best. And, while not on the top tier of actors in Hollywood, had a decent film career. However, as much as I like him, I just can't quite buy him as a sort of cowboy.

The real treat here is Ann Sothern -- a character (as Ed Asner's character said about Mary Tyler Moore's in a sitcom -- who has spunk. I think without Sothern, this film probably would have tanked.

Maisie is a burlesque (in the better sense of the word) showgirl who arrives for a job in a small Wyoming town, only to find that the troubadours have folded. She ends up, temporarily, on a ranch where she falls in love with Robert Young. Meanwhile, the ranch owner(Ian Hunter) and his wife (Ruth Hussey) arrive by train. Maisie is hired as a maid, but discovers that Hussey is a hussy who is being unfaithful to Hunter...who eventually commits suicide (wow, a rather serious turn of events in a 1939 film). But first, Young and Sothern have a falling out and she leaves town, only to learn that Young has been accused of murdering Hunter. Maisie comes to the rescue with no ammunition, when suddenly some falls into her lap...thus the contrived aspect of the story.

As I said, Ann Sothern's character is brought alive by her, while Robert Young doesn't do quite so well (not that he's "bad"). Ruth Hussey and Ian Hunter do nicely in their roles.

Mostly I'd recommend this film for those who are fans of Sothern or Young. It's "okay".
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Maisie Meets Father Knows Best
dougdoepke7 March 2017
Plot-- A jobless brassy blonde worms her way into a spot on a Wyoming cattle ranch thanks to an infatuation with the foreman. There she gets mixed up with the cultured ranch owner and his philandering wife.

Ann Sothern brings off the wise-cracking Maisie in winning fashion. At times she's a little much, but the role's harder than it may look. She's got to be feisty, on one hand, without becoming dislikable, on the other. And that's a challenge since most every line is caustic even if humorous. I really liked the first part where Maisie sort of knocks around eking out a living. But once she settles in on Slim's (Young) ranch and gets involved with the Ames's (Hunter and Hussey), plot takes over and personality recedes. Looks to me like the screenwriter didn't know where to take the storyline, and reached for something melodramatic. Whatever the reason, the two parts don't blend that well despite Sothern's lively bridging performance.

On a different note, catch how Maisie's rather dubious background is finessed. It may not be exactly respectable, but no hint of anything immoral. There were quite a few movie series at the time (1939), mostly amateur sleuths, Charlie Chan, The Falcon, et al. The Maisie series, I believe, was one of the few to feature a female lead. Still, Sothern's so good in the tradition of sassy 30's dames, I'm not surprised a number of sequels followed.

On the whole, the movie's a Sothern showcase with a solid line-up of supporting players-- nice guy Young, a classy Hunter, and a vixenish Hussey. So catch the first part, especially.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Father Knows Maisie
DKosty12312 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I am in love with Ann Southern here. She is smart, and her body looks like it is ready for action. This is a B movie which made to MGM standards is better than some of these from other studios. Robert Young here is a cowboy instead of a sitcom dad. I actually envy him getting to kiss Southern on screen.

It's funny growing up with Young on TV how he seems so different here. The film is quite enjoyable and gets a lot of character development done in 90 minutes. This is a good movie and they worked with the book's author to script it which appears to have helped with the content.

Interesting how the guy who actually steals Young's wallet early on in the movie, lies about it, then appears to pretty much get away with it which is an unusual message in a film in this period.

I've got to catch more of this series, though I would like to see Southern in a bathing suit. Must check the internet for that.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Pretty good....but I am confused about all the sequels.
MartinHafer28 January 2013
This is the first of nine Maisie films starring Ann Sothern. They must have been pretty popular films. However, like some B-movie series films, there appear to be some continuity problems between this film and subsequent ones that make me think that originally there was no intentions to make more than one film. I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but what happens in subsequent films contradict "Maisie". It's a shame, as this first film is dandy entertainment.

Maisie has traveled to Wyoming to appear in a traveling show. However, when she arrives, the touring company has gone and she's left stranded. Eventually, she ends up at a ranch run by Slim (Robert Young) and he takes an immediate dislike of her--as he hates women in general. However, over the course of the film, Maisie manages to wear down his defenses. There is another important part of the film---the Easterner (Ian Hunter) who owns this dude ranch comes to spend vacation time there with his wife. However, soon it becomes apparent that the woman is just no good. How does this plot intertwine with Slim and Maisie's budding romance? See the film and find out for yourself.

"Maisie" is a far from perfect film. Casting Robert Young as a cowboy was just bizarre, though MGM never did seem to know how to use this actor. But a cowboy?! Also, in our more race-conscious world, some might easily be offended when Slim keeps referring to the Chinese cook as the 'Chinese boy'--even though Willie Fong appears to be almost middle-aged. There also is a courtroom scene near the end that is a bit silly. However, the good easily outweighs the bad. The plot is VERY creative and very unusual. Also, Sothern is quite good in the title role. All in all, a very good film--just don't expect the subsequent films to have much in common with this one.
2 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews