The Big Shot (1942)

80 or 82-83 mins | Drama | 13 June 1942

Director:

Lewis Seiler

Producer:

Walter MacEwen

Cinematographer:

Sid Hickox

Editor:

Jack Killifer

Production Designer:

John Hughes

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The original screenplay was entitled The World Is Ours . The film's working title was Escape from Crime . Press releases included in the file on the film in the AMPAS Library announced first Brenda Marshall, then Nancy Coleman in the role of "Ruth Carter." A 12 Jan 1942 HR news item states that Susan Peters took over the role from Nancy Coleman when the latter replaced Olivia de Havilland in The Gay Sisters ... More Less

The original screenplay was entitled The World Is Ours . The film's working title was Escape from Crime . Press releases included in the file on the film in the AMPAS Library announced first Brenda Marshall, then Nancy Coleman in the role of "Ruth Carter." A 12 Jan 1942 HR news item states that Susan Peters took over the role from Nancy Coleman when the latter replaced Olivia de Havilland in The Gay Sisters . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
6 Jun 1942.
---
Film Daily
4 Jun 42
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jan 42
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jan 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 42
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Jun 42
p. 714.
New York Times
18 Jul 42
p. 8.
Variety
3 Jun 42
p. 9.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Escape from Crime
Release Date:
13 June 1942
Production Date:
7 January--early February 1942
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
13 June 1942
Copyright Number:
LP11374
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
80 or 82-83
Length(in feet):
7,378
Country:
United States
PCA No:
8046
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In a prison hospital ward, dying gangster Duke Berne tells Warden Booth and two young people, George Anderson and Ruth Carter, the story of his recent past: Knowing that as a three time loser, he will be sentenced to life in prison if he is arrested again, Duke decides to go straight. He is unable to get a job, however, and is totally broke when crooks Frenchy and Sander invite him to join them in a robbery set up by wealthy lawyer Martin T. Fleming. Initially Duke is not interested in the job, but pays a visit to Fleming's office to look into it. There he is introduced to Fleming's wife Lorna, who, unknown to Fleming, is Duke's former lover. Duke agrees to carry out the robbery. Later, Lorna, who broke off with Duke when he insisted on going through with the robbery that sent him to prison, visits his room and begs him not to do this job, promising to come back to him. Impressed by the intensity of her feeling, Duke agrees to back out of the job. The robbery fails and only Frenchy escapes with his life. The police are convinced that Duke was involved and persuade a witness to falsely identify him as the man who held her hostage after the robbery. Lorna wants to tell the police that she was with him during the crime and thus provide him with an alibi, but Duke does not want her to be exposed to a scandal. Instead, he asks Fleming to provide him with an alibi and threatens to reveal his complicity if he does not cooperate. ... +


In a prison hospital ward, dying gangster Duke Berne tells Warden Booth and two young people, George Anderson and Ruth Carter, the story of his recent past: Knowing that as a three time loser, he will be sentenced to life in prison if he is arrested again, Duke decides to go straight. He is unable to get a job, however, and is totally broke when crooks Frenchy and Sander invite him to join them in a robbery set up by wealthy lawyer Martin T. Fleming. Initially Duke is not interested in the job, but pays a visit to Fleming's office to look into it. There he is introduced to Fleming's wife Lorna, who, unknown to Fleming, is Duke's former lover. Duke agrees to carry out the robbery. Later, Lorna, who broke off with Duke when he insisted on going through with the robbery that sent him to prison, visits his room and begs him not to do this job, promising to come back to him. Impressed by the intensity of her feeling, Duke agrees to back out of the job. The robbery fails and only Frenchy escapes with his life. The police are convinced that Duke was involved and persuade a witness to falsely identify him as the man who held her hostage after the robbery. Lorna wants to tell the police that she was with him during the crime and thus provide him with an alibi, but Duke does not want her to be exposed to a scandal. Instead, he asks Fleming to provide him with an alibi and threatens to reveal his complicity if he does not cooperate. Fleming hires George Anderson, who needs the money in order to get married, to provide Duke's alibi. With Fleming as his lawyer, Duke is set to go to trial when Frenchy contacts Fleming and tells him that Lorna was with Duke during the robbery. After George testifies that he was with Duke, the prosecution, with Fleming's secret help, introduces a new witness, George's fiancée Ruth, who, not knowing that George has lied about his activities, testifies that George was with her the night of the robbery, thus proving that George is lying. Duke receives a life sentence, and George is sentenced to a year in prison for perjury. On a prison visit, Ruth gives George a message for Duke from Lorna, telling him that she has left her husband. Duke then plans a prison break, aided by Lorna, who places the necessary tools under the warden's car. During a prison show, Duke and another convict break out and George tries to stop them. The other man is killed but Duke escapes over the wall where Lorna is waiting. When one of the guards dies, George is charged with his murder, despite his honest statement that he was not trying to escape. Fleming discovers Duke's hideout and sends the police after him. In the meantime, Duke learns of George's murder charge and knows he must clear him. He and Lorna leave just as the police arrive and a chase ensues. Lorna is killed during the chase, but Duke manages to get to Fleming. Holding him at gunpoint, Duke calls the warden. Fleming shoots Duke and Duke returns his fire. Fleming is killed and Duke is fatally wounded, but before he dies in the hospital, Duke clears George's name. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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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.