For Reel

Maisie (1939)
March 2, 2015, 2:42 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Edwin L. Marin
3 Stars
MaisieAnn Sothern’s career had floundered at Columbia and RKO for several years before she was given an MGM contract and attached to a property originally intended for Jean Harlow: Maisie. It was the first of what would be a series of ten films and it laid the groundwork for what would follow. Maisie Revere is a sassy, out-of-work showgirl who finds herself in a humiliating job until she meets a man that she initially finds repulsive. Fate shifts her into a new career path, and gradually she starts falling for the man that she had initially hated. Other than the excellent Sothern, the pleasure of the Maisie series is how improbably it hops between genres–look no further than the juxtaposition between this low-key romantic western and its successor in the series, which involves Revere falling for an African rubber plantation owner in the middle of the jungle. Robert Young is the love interest, playing a salt-of-the-Earth misogynist (he confesses that he distrusts all women because of a failed relationship in his past). Young seems reluctant to indulge the bitterness of his character and ultimately he feels too restrained and bland to bring out passion in the spunky Revere. It’s a shaky start to what is ultimately an enjoyable series, but Sothern is reliably excellent, as is the urbane, capricious Ruth Hussey in a supporting role.

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