Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Little Giant (1933)

Director: Roy Del Ruth

Writers: Robert Lord, Wilson Mizner

Composer: ???

Starring: Edward G. Robinson, Mary Astor, Helen Vinson, Russell Hopton, Kenneth Thomson, Shirley Grey, Berton Churchill, Don Dillaway, Louise Mackintosh

More info: IMDb

Plot: Prohibition is ending so bootlegger Bugs Ahearn decides to crack California society. He leases a house from down-on-her-luck Ruth and hires her as social secretary. He rescues Polly Cass from a horsefall and goes home to meet her dad who sells him some phony stock certificates. When he learns about this he sends to Chicago for mob help.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

Edward G. Robinson is one of my top favorite actors. I haven't seen a picture of his yet that I didn't like and I've spent years tracking down every film.  Just a few more to get.  Playing off of his gangster image he has a bit of fun as a fish out of water in high society.  It's not a laughfest like LARCENY, INC. (1942) but it is cute and fun.  It's a treat to see how long it takes him to fail to notice that Polly (Vinson) isn't the broad for him and Ruth (Astor) is when it's plain as day to us but not to him.  When it all comes together for them you couldn't be happier.  My favorite part is when Bugsy (Robinson) calls the boys over from Chicago to come out to California and help him fix this problem that he got himself into.

That's where the real laughs come in. 

Here's an unintentionally funny moment that had my roaring with laughter...

My, what a difference 80 years makes. Overall it's an enjoyable little picture.  It probably helps just a little if you've seen some of his earlier work like LITTLE CAESAR (1931) but not much.  Robinson's got so much charisma that it's hard not to like him.  Here he goes for comedy but he also exhibits the stones to be the big boss and get things done with the tough guys when he needs to.  Warner Bros. knows how to treat (some of) their older films on DVD right.  The disc comes with lots of extras including trailers, a newsreel and a commentary.  It's easy for me to recommend this even as a blind buy because I'm such a huge fan of Eddie's but you can easily pick it up for just a few bucks online.  Now I'm in the mood for some Cagney.

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