review for Maisie on AllMovie

Maisie (1939)
by Craig Butler review

The first entry in a long-running series starring the title character, Maisie is a B-picture that benefits from an A-level performance by its delightful star. No one could ever accuse Maisie of being a great role, but it's a perfect fit for the wonderful Ann Sothern, an actress who managed to combine a no-nonsense air with considerable warmth. She also had a unique way with a line -- heck, with a wide range of lines. Yet even when given a line that in another's mouth would seem hopelessly cutting, Sothern managed to get its point across while still having a rather friendly air about her. The screenplay for Maisie is nothing to write home about, but it defines the character very well, places her in appropriate situations, and supplies her with enough laughs to make her interesting. It's Sothern's film all the way, a fact about which Robert Young must have been aware, judging by his halfhearted performance. Young aside, the rest of the cast is fine, and director Edwin L. Marin keeps things moving nicely. There's no avoiding the cheapness of the production, as witness a decidedly fake cow that interrupts a scene at one point, but it doesn't matter. As long as Sothern is onscreen, Maisie is good fun.