Undercover Maisie


1h 30m 1947
Undercover Maisie

Brief Synopsis

A stranded showgirl joins the police force and risks her life to expose a phony psychic.

Film Details

Also Known As
Bunko Maisie
Genre
Comedy
Crime
Release Date
May 1947
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on characters created by Wilson Collison.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

At Los Angeles' Union Station, Maisie Ravier is about to board a train to New York to take a job as a bubble bath demonstrator when she meets Mrs. Andrew Lorrison, a confidence artist who offers to drive her there. Maisie accepts the offer but soon finds herself stranded without her baggage at a roadside diner when Mrs. Lorrison abandons her. Maisie reports the crime to Lt. Paul Scott of the Bunco and Fugitive Division of the Los Angeles police department, and her exceptionally detailed description of the suspect convinces Paul that Maisie would make a good detective. Paul later tells police captain Mead that Maisie is the right person to help them break up various confidence rackets in the city, and Mead agrees to send her to the police academy for training. Maisie joins the bunco squad as the only female officer in the department, and her presence soon causes a distraction among the male officers in her special training class. As a result, Maisie is taken out of the class and assigned a private tutor, officer Chip Dolan. Chip and Paul are both attracted to Maisie, and they compete for her attentions while teaching her how to be an effective undercover detective. Maisie's first case involves a young woman named Viola Trengham, whose mother has been swindled by a confidence artist known as Amor. Amor, who is posing as a fortune-teller and whose real name is Willis Farnes, is the head of a real estate scam. Maisie begins her investigation into Farnes's racket by posing as a prospective client and going to his house for a fortune reading. When Maisie tells Farnes that she needs advice on how to invest a large sum of money, Farnes goes into a fake trance and advises her to take the first offer she receives from an investor. Later that night, Gilfred I. Rogers, one of Farnes's accomplices, poses as a real estate agent and offers Maisie an apartment for a down payment of $20,000. Maisie invites Rogers to her apartment and feigns interest in his real estate deal, while Paul works on a plan to trap the confidence artists in action. The plan is foiled, however, when Maisie accidentally reveals her identity to Rogers. When Farnes discovers that he is being investigated by the police, he decides to move his confidence racket out of town after the next big swindle. Meanwhile, Maisie finds some papers that Rogers dropped in her apartment, including an invitation to a banquet hosted by Farnes. Later that night, while snooping around the banquet, Maisie is discovered by Farnes and his accomplices, who tie her up and hold her captive at their hideout. Maisie devises a clever plan to tip off the police as to her whereabouts, but the police pick up the clues too late and arrive at the hideout after Farnes and his gang have left for Long Beach with Maisie. En route to Long Beach, Jane and Guy Canford, two of Farnes's accomplices, double-cross Farnes and knock him unconscious. While the Canfords plan to kill Maisie at a remote roadside location, Maisie leaves her petticoat on a sign post along the road to indicate to the police the direction they are traveling. The Canfords eventually find a satisfactory place to kill Maisie, but Paul locates Maisie in time to save her, and the criminals are arrested.

Film Details

Also Known As
Bunko Maisie
Genre
Comedy
Crime
Release Date
May 1947
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on characters created by Wilson Collison.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

Undercover Maisie


Oh, Maisie Ravier, how many misadventures can you have? Too many, according to Ann Sothern, who by 1947 had been ready to wash her hands of the whole Maisie franchise for years. This time around her bosses at MGM agreed. This final (and grimmest, noir-est Maisie movie) follows the "bad bold beautiful blonde" as she joins the detectives in blue to track down a swindling swami (Leon Ames), sometimes while disguised as a severe brunette. Sothern still gave it her all, and it shows -- after learning judo in order to flip the bad guys in this film, The American Judo Association granted a membership after only two months of study, a rare accolade. After this movie, and a few dry years in Hollywood, Sothern moved on to television and another iconic role on the show "Private Secretary".

By Violet LeVoit
Undercover Maisie

Undercover Maisie

Oh, Maisie Ravier, how many misadventures can you have? Too many, according to Ann Sothern, who by 1947 had been ready to wash her hands of the whole Maisie franchise for years. This time around her bosses at MGM agreed. This final (and grimmest, noir-est Maisie movie) follows the "bad bold beautiful blonde" as she joins the detectives in blue to track down a swindling swami (Leon Ames), sometimes while disguised as a severe brunette. Sothern still gave it her all, and it shows -- after learning judo in order to flip the bad guys in this film, The American Judo Association granted a membership after only two months of study, a rare accolade. After this movie, and a few dry years in Hollywood, Sothern moved on to television and another iconic role on the show "Private Secretary". By Violet LeVoit

TCM Remembers - Ann Sothern


Actress Ann Sothern passed away on March 15th at the age of 89. Her film career spanned sixty years and included a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for The Whales of August (1987) and several Emmy nominations for her roles in the TV shows Private Secretary (1953) and The Ann Sothern Show (1958). Sothern was born as Harriette Lake in North Dakota. She made her first film appearance in 1927 in small roles (so small, in fact, that some sources omit any films before 1929) before deciding to work on Broadway instead. Shortly afterwards she signed with Columbia Pictures where studio head Harry Cohn insisted she change her name because there were already too many actors with the last name of Lake. So "Ann" came from her mother's name Annette and "Sothern" from Shakespearean actor E.H. Sothern. For most of the 1930s she appeared in light comedies working with Eddie Cantor, Maurice Chevalier, Mickey Rooney and Fredric March. However, it wasn't until she switched to MGM (after a brief period with RKO) and made the film Maisie (1939) that Sothern hit pay dirt. It proved enormously popular and led to a series of nine more films through 1947 when she moved into dramas and musicals. During the 50s, Sothern made a mark with her TV series but returned to mostly second tier movies in the 1960s and 1970s. Finally she earned an Oscar nomination for her work in 1987's The Whales of August (in which, incidentally, her daughter Tisha Sterling played her at an earlier age). Turner Classic Movies plans to host a retrospective film tribute to her in July. Check back for details in June.

TCM Remembers - Ann Sothern

Actress Ann Sothern passed away on March 15th at the age of 89. Her film career spanned sixty years and included a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for The Whales of August (1987) and several Emmy nominations for her roles in the TV shows Private Secretary (1953) and The Ann Sothern Show (1958). Sothern was born as Harriette Lake in North Dakota. She made her first film appearance in 1927 in small roles (so small, in fact, that some sources omit any films before 1929) before deciding to work on Broadway instead. Shortly afterwards she signed with Columbia Pictures where studio head Harry Cohn insisted she change her name because there were already too many actors with the last name of Lake. So "Ann" came from her mother's name Annette and "Sothern" from Shakespearean actor E.H. Sothern. For most of the 1930s she appeared in light comedies working with Eddie Cantor, Maurice Chevalier, Mickey Rooney and Fredric March. However, it wasn't until she switched to MGM (after a brief period with RKO) and made the film Maisie (1939) that Sothern hit pay dirt. It proved enormously popular and led to a series of nine more films through 1947 when she moved into dramas and musicals. During the 50s, Sothern made a mark with her TV series but returned to mostly second tier movies in the 1960s and 1970s. Finally she earned an Oscar nomination for her work in 1987's The Whales of August (in which, incidentally, her daughter Tisha Sterling played her at an earlier age). Turner Classic Movies plans to host a retrospective film tribute to her in July. Check back for details in June.

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Bunko Maisie. The film was the last in the "Maisie" series. For additional information on the series, consult the Series Index and see the entry for Maisie in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3. 2662.