Director: HARRY BEAUMONT. Screenplay: Mary C. McCall Jr. Story: Harry Ruby and James O'Hanlon. Based on the character created by Wilson Collison. Uncredited screenplay contributors: Harry Clork, Howard Emmett Rogers. Photography: Robert Planck. Film editor: Frank E. Hull. Art directors: Cedric Gibbons, Howard Campbell. Set decorators: Edwin B. Willis, Helen Conway. Music: David Snell. Songs by Ralph Freed and Sammy Fain. "Panhandle Pete" number choreographed by Sammy Lee. Additional photography: William Daniels. Unit manager: Hugh Boswell. Assistant director: Charles O'Malley. Sound supervisor: Douglas Shearer. Western Electric Sound System. Producer: George Haight.
Copyright 20 July 1944 by Loew's Inc. A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer picture. New York opening at Loew's State: 28 September 1944. U.S. release: September 1944. U.K. release: November-December 1944. Australian release: 22 February 1945. 9 reels. 8,069 feet. 90 minutes. U.K. release title: YOU CAN'T DO THAT TO ME.
SYNOPSIS: Maisie goes to Reno? Before seeing the picture, we presumed she was dying to get a divorce from the schnook she married in Ringside Maisie. No? What's she doing in Reno, then? Oh, I see. She's taking a well-earned rest from that super-boring airplane factory job featured in Swing Shift Maisie.
NOTES: The 8th of the nine Maisie pictures.
COMMENT: Needless to say, this entry, the best of the Maisie pictures was also one of the least popular with audiences. The cast is great. John Hodiak who had a small role in the previous entry has a different part in this one, but it's the lead. Hodiak was always one of my favorite actors. Rejected by the armed services because of the hypertension that eventually led to his fatal heart attack, Hodiak always invested his performances with an appealing intensity. A sort of middle-class equivalent of John Garfield's firmly working- class protagonist, Hodiak always gave the impression of playing on the edge. He always invested his characters with depth — no matter how superficially they may have been written.
And of course there's Ava Gardner, definitely Hollywood's top siren as far as I'm concerned. You can keep your blonde pin-up girls. Ava Gardner, like Simone Simon and Ingrid Bergman, always projected class, with a capital "C". Admittedly, her role is small, but vital. She plays it with total conviction and looks most attractive too. (Maybe William Daniels photographed her scenes?)
I could go through the rest of the cast, ticking through the performers one by one, but I'll content myself with praising Byron Foulger. Always a number one character player with me since I first caught him as Professor Henderson in the Universal serial, "The Master Key". In fact for years, not knowing his real name, I used to call him, Professor Henderson. Here Foulger gives us a comic near- sighted psychiatrist, a delicious impersonation that raises more laughs in ten minutes than Miss Sothern contrives in the entire picture.
As for the director, Harry Beaumont, a neglected master if ever there was one. You don't agree with me? I appeal to Orson Welles. Isn't Harry Beaumont one of the greatest? Orson fidgets. He knows what I'm getting at. But he's eventually forced to admit that he greatly admired Beaumont's handling of the courtroom scene in this movie. So much so that he imitated it, throwing in a few more tricks for "The Lady from Shanghai".
But these are not the only terrific moments in Maisie Goes to Reno. With a plot fashioned by Harry "Three Little Words" Ruby and James "Calamity Jane" O'Hanlon, we know to expect the delightfully unexpected. For instance, what about that running gag with the little black dog? And what about the delightful "Panhandle Pete" number? And how about the usually meek Donald Meek as a wonderfully grouchy manager with no warmth in his testy heart at all?
Production values with their big crowd scenes at the bus depot, the hotel and the court-room are mighty impressive. Only Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer could dress up a "B" movie with such style and finesse.