Congo Maisie


1h 10m 1940
Congo Maisie

Brief Synopsis

Brooklyn showgirl Maisie gets stranded in the African jungle with a romantic doctor.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Release Date
Jan 19, 1940
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Congo Landing by Wilson Collison (New York, 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

Maisie Ravier, a fast-talking showgirl with a heart of gold, is stranded in an African village when she slips out of her hotel window to beat her bill, and stows away on a Congo riverboat in hopes of reaching another town where a job awaits her. On board, she meets the boat's only other passenger, Dr. Michael Shane, a doctor-turned-rubber planter, and the ship's captain Finch, who offers her the dubious privilege of sharing his cabin. When the boat blows a boiler, Maisie and Shane find refuge at a rubber company's medical station manned by Dr. John McWade, the doctor who succeeded Shane, and McWade's wife Kay. At the station, Shane denounces his former bosses at the rubber company for their indifference to the health of the natives, and he urges McWade to leave the shelter of his laboratory and make contact with the natives. Kay, who is lonely and homesick, is on the verge of succumbing to Shane's charms when Maisie intervenes to save the McWades' marriage. After John falls gravely ill, Maisie intercedes once again to save his life by persuading Shane to perform an emergency appendectomy. Soon afterward, all their lives are threatened when the witch doctors incite the natives to rebel. The fast-thinking Maisie quells the uprising by donning her sequined dress and performing a series of magic tricks, which are highlighted by a rain storm that proves her "power" to the natives. Having fallen in love with Maisie, Shane then agrees to take over the medical station with her at his side. Thus McWade and Kay are free to return to America to begin life anew.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Release Date
Jan 19, 1940
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Congo Landing by Wilson Collison (New York, 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

Congo Maisie


The role of Maisie - brassy, sassy, but still-classy showgirl -- was originally intended as a vehicle for Jean Harlow, but her untimely death meant it went to Ann Sothern. The ghost of Harlow still hovered over the second Maisie movie, billed in trailers as "Racier than Red Dust!" Not really, but the story of how the Brooklyn-born scatterbrain skips out on a hotel bill only to end up down the river at a Congo rubber plantation still had parallels aplenty, most notably Sothern playing against Clark Gable lookalike John Carroll. More racially sensitive modern audiences will cringe at the film's ooga-booga attitude towards the African natives, but it's still a treat to see Sothern all dolled up in black sequins, gamely doing her nightclub routine to a less-than-optimal audience. Her bump and grind in the heart of the jungle is a great example of the appealing mix of awkward comedy and genuine sex appeal that Sothern brought to all the Maisie movies, much to the delight of audiences and her employers MGM. At her peak Sothern received fan mail addressed only to ''Maisie, U.S.A.'' -- no other explanation was needed.

By Violet LeVoit
Congo Maisie

Congo Maisie

The role of Maisie - brassy, sassy, but still-classy showgirl -- was originally intended as a vehicle for Jean Harlow, but her untimely death meant it went to Ann Sothern. The ghost of Harlow still hovered over the second Maisie movie, billed in trailers as "Racier than Red Dust!" Not really, but the story of how the Brooklyn-born scatterbrain skips out on a hotel bill only to end up down the river at a Congo rubber plantation still had parallels aplenty, most notably Sothern playing against Clark Gable lookalike John Carroll. More racially sensitive modern audiences will cringe at the film's ooga-booga attitude towards the African natives, but it's still a treat to see Sothern all dolled up in black sequins, gamely doing her nightclub routine to a less-than-optimal audience. Her bump and grind in the heart of the jungle is a great example of the appealing mix of awkward comedy and genuine sex appeal that Sothern brought to all the Maisie movies, much to the delight of audiences and her employers MGM. At her peak Sothern received fan mail addressed only to ''Maisie, U.S.A.'' -- no other explanation was needed. By Violet LeVoit

TCM Remembers - Ann Sothern


Actress Ann Sothern passed away on March 15th at the age of 89. Her film career spanned sixty years and included a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for The Whales of August (1987) and several Emmy nominations for her roles in the TV shows Private Secretary (1953) and The Ann Sothern Show (1958). Sothern was born as Harriette Lake in North Dakota. She made her first film appearance in 1927 in small roles (so small, in fact, that some sources omit any films before 1929) before deciding to work on Broadway instead. Shortly afterwards she signed with Columbia Pictures where studio head Harry Cohn insisted she change her name because there were already too many actors with the last name of Lake. So "Ann" came from her mother's name Annette and "Sothern" from Shakespearean actor E.H. Sothern. For most of the 1930s she appeared in light comedies working with Eddie Cantor, Maurice Chevalier, Mickey Rooney and Fredric March. However, it wasn't until she switched to MGM (after a brief period with RKO) and made the film Maisie (1939) that Sothern hit pay dirt. It proved enormously popular and led to a series of nine more films through 1947 when she moved into dramas and musicals. During the 50s, Sothern made a mark with her TV series but returned to mostly second tier movies in the 1960s and 1970s. Finally she earned an Oscar nomination for her work in 1987's The Whales of August (in which, incidentally, her daughter Tisha Sterling played her at an earlier age). Turner Classic Movies plans to host a retrospective film tribute to her in July. Check back for details in June.

TCM Remembers - Ann Sothern

Actress Ann Sothern passed away on March 15th at the age of 89. Her film career spanned sixty years and included a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for The Whales of August (1987) and several Emmy nominations for her roles in the TV shows Private Secretary (1953) and The Ann Sothern Show (1958). Sothern was born as Harriette Lake in North Dakota. She made her first film appearance in 1927 in small roles (so small, in fact, that some sources omit any films before 1929) before deciding to work on Broadway instead. Shortly afterwards she signed with Columbia Pictures where studio head Harry Cohn insisted she change her name because there were already too many actors with the last name of Lake. So "Ann" came from her mother's name Annette and "Sothern" from Shakespearean actor E.H. Sothern. For most of the 1930s she appeared in light comedies working with Eddie Cantor, Maurice Chevalier, Mickey Rooney and Fredric March. However, it wasn't until she switched to MGM (after a brief period with RKO) and made the film Maisie (1939) that Sothern hit pay dirt. It proved enormously popular and led to a series of nine more films through 1947 when she moved into dramas and musicals. During the 50s, Sothern made a mark with her TV series but returned to mostly second tier movies in the 1960s and 1970s. Finally she earned an Oscar nomination for her work in 1987's The Whales of August (in which, incidentally, her daughter Tisha Sterling played her at an earlier age). Turner Classic Movies plans to host a retrospective film tribute to her in July. Check back for details in June.

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to information in a studio assignment sheet, Herman Mankiewicz worked on a screenplay for this film for producer Bernard Hyman in 1934, but it is not known if any of Mankiewicz's material was included in the final film. Hollywood Reporter production charts add Forrester Harvey to the cast, but his participation in the final film has not been confirmed. Modern sources indicate that Congo Maisie is a remake of Red Dust. Although the stories are similiar and the author, Wilson Collison, is the same, Congo Maisie is based on another Collison book, Congo Landing. The original trailer for Congo Maisie promoted the film as "a drama more sensational than Red Dust by the author of Red Dust and Maisie." This was the second picture in M-G-M's Maisie series. For additional information on the series, consult the Series Index and for Maisie.