Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Under Cover Maisie (1947)


Undercover Maisie is the tenth and last film in the Maisie film series. Our hero Maisie Ravier (Ann Sothern) is stranded in Los Angeles trying to get back home to New York City. A woman offers to give her a ride. In the car the woman manages to get Maisie to take off her jewelry and leave her suitcase in the back seat. When they stop at a gas station Maisie gets out and the woman takes off. Maisie is literally left with only the clothes on her back.
            Maisie goes to the police station to report what has happened to her. She gives such a vivid and detailed description of the con artist that Lt. Det. Paul Scott is left incredibly impressed to the point where he thinks it is a good idea for the department to hire to her. Lt. Scott wants to put Maisie’s skill of observation to work in the bunco squad. The chief is not thrilled with the idea but he gives in and has Maisie rushed through training at the police academy. In physical training all the men cannot concentrate on their assignments and the trainer has her moved to do one-on-one training. Lt. Scott tells Maisie that she needs to learn the science of pick pocketing. Maisie thinks she knows how to do so and picks Lt. Scott’s pocket. Later on Maisie tries to get Lt. Scott to think his wallet is missing but he pulls a fast one on her and tells her she did a lousy job picking his pocket and got his dummy one.
            Maisie passes her exams and the next day she is put on a case dealing with a fortune teller who is taking a family’s money. She dresses up as a rich woman with furs and jewels to see the fortune teller who goes by the name Amor. Maisie tells the woman who opens the door that she is in trouble and needs to speak to Amor that he is the only one who can help her. She is brought into a room and Amor comes out to tell her he can help with her problem. The teller brings Maisie into another room where they are alone. She tells Amor that she needs help deciding what to do with money left to her by a man she was supposed to marry. All the sudden he goes into a trance and tells her that she will meet someone who could help her invest her money. After hearing her fortune Maisie tells Lt. Scott about meeting someone. Hell has her go to a restaurant at a certain table. Soon enough a man named Rogers claiming to be a real estate broker comes to her table.
            The idea is to have Maisie look at several places and decide to invest in a building. Then when she has decided which building to put her money into she is to take Rogers down to the bank where Lt. Scott will be waiting. The plan goes well for some time until in her apartment Maisie drops some papers and when she bend down her dress comes up a little bit revealing her petticoat which has her real name written on it. Rogers then pretends that he is working for the police that he is used to test out the new recruits. Maisie buys into this because it happened to her before. Needless to say the chief is furious at her for letting Rogers and the others in the crew get away. Lt. Scott is upset but he says Maisie can do this she will come back from this with more will and conviction than she did before. Lt. Scott talks her out of resigning and she decides to work harder to get Rogers and the others.
            At her apartment Maisie finds an invitation to veterans benefit. She goes and runs into the man who played Amor and whose real name is Willis. He is running the benefit as a way to scam money from the veterans. Willis has Jane, the woman from the fortune teller scam, tie Maisie up backstage. After the benefit they take Maisie down to a basement where no one can hear or see her. Jane does not like Maisie at all especially after they got into a brawl backstage at the benefit. She wants to kill Maisie and Willis as well. Maisie hears Jane’s plans for her. She heard on the radio Lt. Scott’s plea for her return. Using her quick thinking she writes a note on a place in her lipstick that she is the officer the police are looking for then douses the plate in ketchup. The plates are picked up by a kid and brought to his house where he cleans them. He finds Maisie’s message and shows his parents.
            Lt. Scott and the police come to the house. The kid brings the police to the house where Maisie was being kept. Lt. Scott finds another plate with a message from Maisie that she is being taken to a pier. Jane and Guy, another member of the crew, knock Willis out in the car. Maisie gets out of the car and makes it like she ripped her petticoat. Then she pretends to faint. When Guy picks her up she throws her petticoat on the sign for San Bernadino where they are all now headed.
            In the cop car someone notices the petticoat on the sign. Lt. Scott has the car turn around and go down that stretch of road. Jane and Guy stop the car so they can kill Maisie and Willis. Maisie pretends to trip and grabs a handful of dirt. She throws in their faces and tries to run away. Jane catches up to her and they roll around in a brawl yet again. Lt. Scott and the police arrive just in time.

            Undercover Maisie was good but it was not the best if what I have seen of the series so far and felt it was not the best send off to a wonderful spunky character. All I can say is that it was nice to see Maisie with a steady career after all the traveling and solving mysteries she did for almost ten years. Ann Sothern is as always lovely as Maisie. Maisie is such a great film character all women and girls should look up to.