Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Maisie Goes to Reno (1944).

Maisie Goes to Reno (1944). Directed by Harry Beaumont. Cast: Ann Sothern, John Hodiak, Tom Drake, Marta Linden and Ava Gardner. The eighth of ten movies starring Ann Sothern as the heroine Maisie Ravier.

The story begins when Maisie Ravier, an overworked riveter has developed a nervous wink. Her doctor orders her to take a two weeks vacation. Maisie's friend, band leader Tommy Cutter, offers her a job singing with his all-girl band in, Reno and she accepts.

At the bus station, Maisie, by chance.. buys her ticket to Reno, from a lady who has changed her mind about going. Then Bill Fullerton, a Marine sergeant on furlough, talks her into her selling her ticket to him, so that he can go to Reno and reconcile with his estranged heiress wife, Gloria

Before boarding the bus, Bill is stopped by an M.P. telling him that his furlough has been canceled. Bill, not knowing what to do, returns the ticket to Maisie and asks her to hand-deliver a letter he was written to Gloria.

Once in Reno, Maisie learns that the heiress has checked out of her hotel. Mistaking her nervous tic for a flirtation, Philip "Flip" Hennahan, a blackjack dealer at the hotel's casino, offers Maisie a ride to the ranch where Gloria is now staying. There, Maisie is introduced to Gloria by her business manager, Roger Pelham. Gloria, tells Maisie that Bill has only written to ask for money.

The next morning, when Bill telephones Maisie she calls him deceitful. Maisie, then spends a romantic day with Flip and learns that he is a veteran.

That night, Maisie runs into Gloria at the hotel, but.. finds out she really Gloria's secretary, Winifred Ashbourne. The real Gloria then introduces herself, telling her that she sometimes has Winifred impersonate her. What they don't know is that, Winifred and Pelham replaced Bill's letter with one written by J. E. Clave.

Soon after, Maisie becomes suspicious when she overhears Clave talking on a lobby phone to Pelham and asks the bellhop Jerry, if she can hand deliver a note from Pelham to Clave. Pretending to be drunk, Maisie tries to trick Clave into confessing about the letter.. with no luck..

It does not take long before Clave, passes out after signing a room service receipt with a phony name. Now, Maisie believes that he is the forger, takes something from his room with his handwriting on it. Flip, standing out in the hall, has overheard Maisie's in Clave's, room and assumes the worst.

Maisie phones Bill and tells him she has proof that Winifred and Pelham are trying to embezzle money from Gloria, Bill then decides to come to Reno. She then goes to show Flip the evidence, and when she cannot find it in her purse, she accuses Flip of stealing it.

Bill, who is on his way to Reno, calls Maisie and tells her to do whatever she has to do to keep Gloria from going through with the divorce. Maisie is then confronted by Clave, Winifred and Pelham, who find the evidence in her purse and tell her to mind her own business.

Maisie tries to explain to Flip about the handwritten evidence, he comes up with the plan to say that she has had a nervous breakdown and arranges for her to see Dr. Cummings, a psychiatrist. Before meeting with the doctor, Maisie and Jerry use a toy gun to kidnap both Winifred and Gloria from the courthouse.

When their car blows a tire, they are arrested and brought to the police station. There Winifred, Gloria, Flip and Dr. Cummings convince the police captain that Maisie is crazy.

Will the police captain release Maisie to Dr. Cummings' custody or set her free?

Will Bill, ever convince his wife that he loves her and is not only after her money?

This is the first time I have watched any of the "Maisie" series, so I do not know how they compare. This one is okay and it was worth watching, to see Gardner and Hodiak, in early roles and of course, it's always fun to watch a Sothern performance.

John Hodiak (April 16, 1914 – October 19, 1955), had his first theatrical experience at age eleven, acting in Ukrainian and Russian plays at the Ukrainian Catholic Church. From the moment he first appeared on the stage, he wanted to become an actor.

He was not even swayed when as a third baseman on his local high school baseball team, he was offered a contract with a St. Louis Cardinals. He turned the offer down.

When Hodiak first tried out for a radio acting job, he was turned down because of his accent. He became a caddy at a Detroit golf course, then worked at a Chevrolet automobile factory and practiced his diction.

 When he conquered the diction hurdle, he became a radio actor and moved to Chicago. There he created the role of the comic strip character Li'l Abner on radio. After a short stint in the Army, he arrived in Hollywood in 1942 and signed a motion picture contract with MGM.

He refused to change his name, saying, "I like my name. It sounds like I look." Hodiak was cast in a few small parts at MGM. He then caught the eye of director Alfred Hitchcock and, on loan-out to 20th Century Fox and starred in the film, Lifeboat (1944).

His next big role, A Bell For Adano (1945) with Gene Tierney. In 1949 he was voted "box office poison" by exhibitors. He had one wife, actress Anne Baxter (married July 7, 1946-divorced January 27, 1953). They had one daughter, Katrina Hodiak (born July 9, 1951).

In 1953, Hodiak went to New York and made his Broadway debut in, The Chase. The play was a failure, but its star received fantastic critical notices. He then originated the role of Lieutenant Maryk in Paul Gregory's production of the play, The Caine Mutiny Court Martial by Herman Wouk adapted from his novel The Caine Mutiny. The play ran for two years and Hodiak's portrayal brought him nationwide fame.

When the show closed after its U.S. tour, Hodiak began work on, Trial (1955) at MGM, playing the prosecuting attorney. When it wrapped, he played Major Ward Thomas in, On the Threshold of Space (1956) at 20th Century Fox.

At the age of forty-one, Hodiak suffered a fatal heart attack in the bathroom of the Tarzana, California, home he had built for his parents. He was shaving and getting ready to go to the studio to complete his scenes in, On the Threshold of Space. It was later decided his performance was far enough along to release the movie.


  1. Dawn, My favorite of John's films is William Wild Man Wellman's war classic Battleground Ann could act too check her out in the the WWII film Cry Haviock


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