Friday, December 04, 2015


Test pilot Breezy McLaughlin (James Craig) is looking forward to joining the Air Force, but when he finds out that his boss has told the government that Breezy is too important to let go, he has a fit; that night at the Propeller Club, he disrupts a performing dog act, led by Horatio and featuring chorus girl Maisie Ravier (Ann Sothern), leading to them being fired. Breezy gets Horatio a job at the aircraft plant, and Maisie tries as well, though since she doesn't have a birth certificate, she gets Horatio to lie and swear that he's known her all his life. Once she's settled in, sparks continue to fly between Breezy and Maisie, but Maisie's roommate Iris (Jean Rogers) soon snags him. Iris is a nasty piece of work—at one point, she fakes a suicide attempt to get attention—but Maisie keeps out of it until Breezy finally gets the military orders he's wanted. Breezy and Iris decide on a quickie wedding before he heads to his base, but Maisie discovers that Iris is a cheating gold digger and sets out to squelch Iris's plans. But it may not be easy: Iris has told the factory bosses that Maisie got Horatio to lie for her—and why was Maisie seen entertaining three young German men who were "Heil Hiltering" all over the place?

This was the seventh movie in the Maisie series and Ann Sothern was still doing a fine job in the title role. Most of the movies end with Maisie about to settle down with some handsome fella, but the next one always starts with Maisie being free and easy again. Tying her down to one guy would have been a mistake, so I forgive them these contradictions. Between CONGO MAISIE and this one, she's been softened a bit—her Congo self could not have had her own TV sitcom, but this one could (and it seems there was a TV pilot done in 1960). As usual, she has a B-size leading man, and Craig (pictured with Sothern above) is perfect for the part, just as John Carroll was in CONGO MAISIE, both coming off as low-budget Clark Gable-types. (I don't mean to damn those actors with faint praise, but as good as they are in B-movie leads, neither one had a prayer of actually replacing Gable.) Rogers is a somewhat bland bad girl, but supporting actors John Qualen and Connie Gilchrist are fine, and the novelty comedy act the Wiere Brothers are amusing in their short bit in which their mocking of Hitler is mistaken (briefly) for genuine Nazi fervor. Second-feature fun, with the added bonus of wartime propaganda. [TCM]

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