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Maisie Was a Lady

(1941 b 80')

En: 5 Ed: 6

Spunky Maisie gets hired by a wealthy son and helps him, his sister, and their father to revitalize their lives.

Inebriated Bob Rawlston (Lew Ayres) causes Maisie Ravier (Ann Sothern) to lose her job as a headless woman in a carnival. She won't ride with him; so he lets her borrow his fancy car. She is arrested for driving without a license, and the judge orders Bob to give her a job for two months at $25 a week. She discovers that sober Bob is a kind man, and she agrees to be a maid. She sees that he lives in a mansion, and his butler Walpole (C. Aubrey Smith) advises Maisie how to behave like a servant. Maisie meets Bob's sister Abby Rawlston (Maureen O'Sullivan), who shows her fabulous jewelry her father sends her, because he can rarely be with her. Maisie treats those gathered for Abby's engagement party with scorn for their superficiality. She is particularly perturbed by the advances of Link Phillips (Edward Ashley) in the hallway.

Abby is hoping her father will come but gets another piece of jewelry instead. Diana (Joan Perry) arrives from California and is angry with Link. Abby and Link decide to elope and will send a message to their guests that they are married. Before they can leave, Diana threatens to expose Link to Abby and reads her his letter to her that he is only marrying Abby for her money and that they can go on as before. Abby is devastated and retreats to her room. Maisie tries to console her that someday she will be glad she found this out before getting married; but later Maisie finds Abby on the floor of her bathroom, where she took poison. She and Walpole call doctors and her father. Meanwhile Bob has been getting plastered every night and is useless. Abby's father Cap Rawlston (Paul Cavanagh) arrives; but the doctor tells him that Abby is very low. Downstairs Maisie gives a powerful speech to Cap and Bob how they have failed to love Abby, and so she turned to Link as her only friend. Cap diverted himself with sports and travel, while Bob turned to the bottle.

After Cap and Bob attend to Abby, she recovers, and Walpole is whistling and telling Maisie she can use the front stairs. Maisie goes up to see Abby, who says she wants her to be her companion, and Cap invites her to go with them to Honolulu. Bob says this is only the beginning, and Maisie is dreaming of her wedding until Walpole tells her that Bob needs a woman of good breeding with a fine education who can run the house for him. So she leaves. She is working in burlesque when she finds Bob in her dressing-room. He insists that he is going to take her home and tell her what to do now that he is working in an airplane factory. So she finally gives in and lets him kiss her.

This romantic comedy brings home the theme that wealth does not buy happiness when love is missing.

Copyright © 2002 by Sanderson Beck

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