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The Big Shot

(1937 b 60')

En: 5 Ed: 4

A man inherits wealth and crusades against a racketeering empire without knowing he is the big shot at its top.

Veterinarian Simms (Guy Kibbee) treats a dog. Chet (Gordon Jones) wants to marry Peggy Simms (Dorothy Moore), but Mrs. Simms (Cora Witherspoon) objects. Simms learns that he inherited his uncle's wealth. The Simms are met by his late uncle's lawyer and business manager, Drake (Russell Hicks), who tells the servants not to refer to the deceased as Mike Garnet. Mrs. Simms presses a button, and steel shutters close on the windows and doors. Drake tells the racketeers that Simms will be the big shot and the fall guy. Simms refuses to sign over power of attorney, and Drake tries to overwhelm Simms with business. Simms is confused and lets Drake run the business. Drake sends Bugsy to rough up editor Murdock (Frank M. Thomas), who tells writer Chet how a gang of rats ruin the city and won't let him print the news. Mrs. Simms asks Drake to plan Peggy's debut.

Chet arrives and tells Simms about the editor and the racketeers. Simms decides to fight them and buys Murdock's paper. Simms, Chet, and Murdock organize a crusade against crime, while Simms remains anonymous. Men are deputized. People stop paying protection, and crusaders fight the hoodlums. Murdock tells Simms that Big Mike died, and his heir is unknown. Drake's men come back injured. Drake tells his men to bring respectable ladies to Peggy's debut. A photographer gets a picture of the big shot Simms. Murdock makes Simms chief crusader, and Simms speaks at Peggy's debut to the city's top people, asking them to volunteer in helping to arrest 200 racketeers. Mrs. Simms discovers that Simms, Chet, Murdock, and Drake have been abducted. Drake tells Simms to sign power of attorney, and he'll release them. Simms puts ink in Drake's coffee and makes Drake think that he has taken rat poison, making his tongue turn black. Simms writes the antidote in Latin, and Drake sends a man to the druggist, who calls the police. They follow the man with the prescription and arrest Drake. Murdock calls to have the news story published, and Simms' photo appears as the public enemy. Simms sees it, and people chase and surround him. Then the police arrive. In the final scene Mrs. Simms complains of Simms' pipe, and he pushes the button to close her out.

This comedy seems to reflect the sentiment for cleaning up the corruption of racketeers with the help of a free press, citizen courage, and law enforcement.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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