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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

The Big Shot

1942 | United States | 82 min | More...
A still from The Big Shot (1942)
  • Watched on C: 3 stars (out of 5)
    on Sun Sep 11, 2022 via Watch TCM

    Humphrey Bogart plays a hood fresh off his third prison stint. He signs on for a hold-up job masterminded by a lawyer named Fleming. Fleming’s wife, played by Irene Manning, has a history with Bogart. The night of the job, she shows up at his place, confesses her love, and holds him at gunpoint to prevent him from joining the robbery.

    The job, of course, goes wrong. This sequence features a brutal POV shot as a hood backs into a pair of cops then speeds away only to suffer a shot through the rear window. The car runs full speed into a roadside stall and tumbles onto its side.

    The cops pressure a witness into placing Bogart at the scene. Fleming arranges an alibi via a thick-headed stooge played by Richard Travis. But Fleming finds out his wife was at Bogart’s place and sabotages the alibi, sending Bogart and Travis to prison. Bogart for life.

    During a prison talent show, Bogart escapes with a fellow prisoner played by Chick Chandler. They stage their escape during Chandler’s Eddie Cantor-style blackface performance. Said performance may account for the film’s relative obscurity. Anyway, Manning speeds Bogart away and the pair play house in the Adirondacks.

    Domestic life proves less than blissful. Bogart struggles to work a can-opener and tumbles backwards out of a recliner.

    Soon Bogart gets word Travis is facing a murder rap for a guard killed during Bogart’s escape. He opts to return to prison to save Travis. Unbeknownst to him, Fleming has sicked the cops on him. The cops spot him and Manning en route and give chase, with fatal results.

    Bogart’s last turn playing a gangster at Warner Bros. proves forgettable, save the car stunts. My lasting memory is the final chase. Despite the overcranked footage, it thrills to see those monstrous cars slipping and sliding down the snowy roads and around the icy corners.