Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Edward G. Robinson Film Festival--Part 2

By 1933, Warner Brothers had released Little Caesar, Public Enemy and Scarface. It was King of the Gangster movies and would be releasing many more classic films in that genre throughout the decade.

So it was, naturally, time to start having a little bit of fun with the genre. And one of their resident gangsters--Edward G. Robinson--had a talent for playing tough guys and add subtle variations that suddenly made him funny without taking away any of his toughness.

In The Little Giant, he's a Chicago bootlegger (Bugs Ahearn) who wisely realizes that the repeal of Prohibition is going to be bad for business. So he sells out and retires, moving to California with plans to fit in with the snooty upper crust. He hires a local woman (Mary Astor) as a sort of social secretary, not realizing that Astor actually owns the mansion he's renting--she was rich but has fallen on hard times.

Bugs falls for a snooty upper crust woman. But he's out of his natural environment and has no idea that the woman is a gold-digger and her family are all crooks and con artists. Soon, the gal's dad has talked Bugs into buying the dad's investment firm--a firm that is being investigated to for selling worthless bonds.

But when Bugs finds out he's been had, he calls in some of his old Chi-Town associates to... well, re-negotiate the deal.
let's say

The Little Giant isn't quite as funny as Robinson's other great comedy/gangster mash-up--1942's Larceny Inc.  But it's still funny, maintaining a pleasant ambiance throughout and giving us a fair share of laugh-out-loud moments.

Besides, when Edward G. Robinson wants to be funny, you had better laugh. You don't want to have him... well, let's say re-negotiate your attitude.

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