Standard Warner's programmer
Douglas M | 12/06/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
""The Little Giant" is a typical Warner Brothers pre-code programmer. Starring the then hot Edward G Robinson, who had become a big star due to his ground breaking performance in "Little Caesar", this film uses that persona but moves into farce as the Chicago beer baron goes straight and enters high society in California. Warners churned such films as this out and the film has the following features:
- a screenplay which is certainly entertaining but not really funny.
- a competent performance from Robinson but without the sense of parody which was evident in the later and far superior "A Slight Case of Murder". Maybe in 1933, he was still too close to "Little Caesar"
- a charming Mary Astor in support
- endless slang and a number of pre-code zingers e.g Astor notes that Helen Vinson has been "a sister in law to the world"
The print is excellent and the DVD contains the usual comprehensive set of extras. The Newsreel is about the repeal of prohibition which ties in nicely to the film. The musical short stars gangly dancer Hal Le Roy and a young rubber legged Mitzi Mayfair in a pleasant but corny musical fantasy. The original trailer is included as well as the trailer for "Hard to Handle", another programmer of the period but a much funnier film than "The Little Giant". A commentary is included and it is reasonably interesting shared between the articulate John McCarty but spoilt by the dreadful Daniel Bubbeo, a Warner's biographer with a repetitious sing song delivery and gossipy observations. Bubbeo should be axed from providing commentaries.
The DVD is OK value but best if purchased as part of the Warner's Gangster Collection Volume 4."