AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Undercover Maisie
Alternate Title: Bunko Maisie
Director: Harry Beaumont (Dir)
Release Date:   May 1947
Production Date:   late-Oct--mid-Dec 1946
Duration (in mins):   90 or 93
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Cast:   Ann Sothern (Maisie Ravier)  
    Barry Nelson (Lt. Paul Scott)  
    Mark Daniels (Chip Dolan)  
    Leon Ames (Amor, [assumed name of] Willis Farnes)  
    Clinton Sundberg (Guy Canford)  
    Dick Simmons (Gilfred I. Rogers)  
    Charles D. Brown (Captain Mead)  
    Gloria Holden (Mrs. Guy [Jane] Canford)  
    Douglas Fowley (Daniels)  
    Nella Walker (Mrs. Andrew Lorrison)  
    Gene Roberts (Viola Trengham)  
    Celia Travers (Isabelle)  
    Morris Ankrum (Parker)  
    Edward Keane (Chief Hollis)  
    Ray Teal (Man at Union Station)  
    Rudy Wissler (Johnny, a delivery boy)  
    Hal Hackett (Gas station attendant)  
    Sammy McKim (Trainee)  
    Bill Shannon (Trainee)  
    Marvin Jones (Trainee)  
    Jack Wagner (Trainee)  
    George Mann (Hawkins, tall deadpan)  
    Lee Phelps (Officer Mitchell)  
    Charles Marsh (Pickpocket)  
    Robert Emmett Keane (Ed Harris)  
    Philip Ahlm (Lt. Wellman)  
    Bert Davidson (Det. Lt. Hogan)  
    Jack Shea (Officer Smart)  
    Brick Sullivan (Det. Lt. Franklin)  
    Jean Del Val (Headwaiter)  
    Ralph Dunn (Cop)  
    Jack Lee (Cop)  
    Charles Bradstreet (Cop)  
    Bob Pepper (Cop)  
    Fred Aldrich (Bouncer)  
    Carl Saxe (Police instructor)  
    Mickey Martin (Newsboy)  
    John Wald (Announcer)  
    Eugene Sigaloff (Delicatessen man)  
    Minerva Urecal (Delicatessen woman)  
    Dave Paris (Slowpoke)  
    Mickey McGuire (Beanie, age 12)  

Summary: At Los Angeles' Union Station, Maisie Ravier is about to board a train to New York to take a job as a bubble bath demonstrator when she meets Mrs. Andrew Lorrison, a confidence artist who offers to drive her there. Maisie accepts the offer but soon finds herself stranded without her baggage at a roadside diner when Mrs. Lorrison abandons her. Maisie reports the crime to Lt. Paul Scott of the Bunco and Fugitive Division of the Los Angeles police department, and her exceptionally detailed description of the suspect convinces Paul that Maisie would make a good detective. Paul later tells police captain Mead that Maisie is the right person to help them break up various confidence rackets in the city, and Mead agrees to send her to the police academy for training. Maisie joins the bunco squad as the only female officer in the department, and her presence soon causes a distraction among the male officers in her special training class. As a result, Maisie is taken out of the class and assigned a private tutor, officer Chip Dolan. Chip and Paul are both attracted to Maisie, and they compete for her attentions while teaching her how to be an effective undercover detective. Maisie's first case involves a young woman named Viola Trengham, whose mother has been swindled by a confidence artist known as Amor. Amor, who is posing as a fortune-teller and whose real name is Willis Farnes, is the head of a real estate scam. Maisie begins her investigation into Farnes's racket by posing as a prospective client and going to his house for a fortune reading. When Maisie tells Farnes that she needs advice on how to invest a large sum of money, Farnes goes into a fake trance and advises her to take the first offer she receives from an investor. Later that night, Gilfred I. Rogers, one of Farnes's accomplices, poses as a real estate agent and offers Maisie an apartment for a down payment of $20,000. Maisie invites Rogers to her apartment and feigns interest in his real estate deal, while Paul works on a plan to trap the confidence artists in action. The plan is foiled, however, when Maisie accidentally reveals her identity to Rogers. When Farnes discovers that he is being investigated by the police, he decides to move his confidence racket out of town after the next big swindle. Meanwhile, Maisie finds some papers that Rogers dropped in her apartment, including an invitation to a banquet hosted by Farnes. Later that night, while snooping around the banquet, Maisie is discovered by Farnes and his accomplices, who tie her up and hold her captive at their hideout. Maisie devises a clever plan to tip off the police as to her whereabouts, but the police pick up the clues too late and arrive at the hideout after Farnes and his gang have left for Long Beach with Maisie. En route to Long Beach, Jane and Guy Canford, two of Farnes's accomplices, double-cross Farnes and knock him unconscious. While the Canfords plan to kill Maisie at a remote roadside location, Maisie leaves her petticoat on a sign post along the road to indicate to the police the direction they are traveling. The Canfords eventually find a satisfactory place to kill Maisie, but Paul locates Maisie in time to save her, and the criminals are arrested. 

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew's Inc.)
Distribution Company: Loew's Inc.  
Director: Harry Beaumont (Dir)
  Charles O'Malley (Asst dir)
Producer: George Haight (Prod)
Writer: Thelma Robinson (Story and scr)
Photography: Charles Salerno Jr. (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons (Art dir)
  Gabriel Scognamillo (Art dir)
Film Editor: Ben Lewis (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Edwin B. Willis (Set dec)
Costumes: Irene (Cost des)
Music: David Snell (Mus score)
Sound: Douglas Shearer (Rec dir)
Make Up: Jack Dawn (Makeup created by)
Country: United States
Series: Maisie

Source Text: Based on characters created by Wilson Collison.
Authors: Wilson Collison

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Loew's Inc. 20/2/1947 dd/mm/yyyy LP863 Yes

PCA NO: 12196
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Sound System

Genre: Comedy
Sub-Genre: Detective
Subjects (Major): Abduction
  Confidence games
  Police detectives
  Undercover agents
  Women detectives
Subjects (Minor): Banquets
  Impersonation and imposture
  Los Angeles (CA)
  Police training
  Real estate
  Romantic rivalry

Note: The working title of this film was Bunko Maisie . The film was the last in the "Maisie" series. For additional information on the series, consult the Series Index and see the entry for Maisie in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3. 2662. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   7 Jun 1947.   
Daily Variety   3 Mar 1947.   
Film Daily   20 Mar 47   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Oct 46   p. 22.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Dec 46   p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter   3 Mar 47   p. 3.
Independent Film Journal   9 Nov 46   p. 42.
Variety   5 Mar 47   p. 8.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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