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Big Boy (1930) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 9% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Harold Atteridge (based on a musical comedy by)
Billy K. Wells (screen play & dialogue by) ...
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Release Date:
11 September 1930 (USA) See more »
Gus, the trusty family retainer, has hopes of riding his boss' horse, Big Boy, to victory at the Kentucky Derby. | Add synopsis »
Noah’S Ark – George O’Brien, Dolores Costello
 (From Alt Film Guide. 24 September 2009, 10:20 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Less musical than most of Jolson's films... See more (14 total) »


  (in credits order)

Al Jolson ... Gus

Claudia Dell ... Annabel
Louise Closser Hale ... Mother

Lloyd Hughes ... Jack
Eddie Phillips ... Coley Reed
Lew Harvey ... Doc Wilbur
Franklin Batie ... Jim

John Harron ... Joe
Tom Wilson ... Tucker
Colin Campbell ... Steve Leslie

Noah Beery ... Bagby
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Edna Bennett ... Dolly Reed (uncredited)

Bill Elliott ... Race Fan Wearing Straw Hat (uncredited)
Eddie Kane ... Oyster Customer (uncredited)
Ray Turner ... Stableboy (uncredited)
Carl White ... Character (uncredited)

Directed by
Alan Crosland 
Writing credits
Harold Atteridge (based on a musical comedy by)

Billy K. Wells (screen play & dialogue by) (as William K. Wells) &
Rex Taylor (screen play & dialogue by)

Buddy G. DeSylva  play (uncredited)
James P. Henley  play (uncredited)
Joseph Meyer  play (uncredited)
Perry N. Vekroff  screenplay (uncredited)

Original Music by
Rex Dunn (uncredited)
Alois Reiser (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Hal Mohr (photography)
Film Editing by
Ralph Dawson (edited by)
Costume Design by
Earl Luick (costumes)
Music Department
Erno Rapee .... general music director
Louis Silvers .... conductor: Vitaphone Orchestra

Production Companies
  • Warner Bros. (present) (as a Warner Bros.-Vitaphone Talking Picture)

Additional Details

Also Known As:
68 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)

Did You Know?

This was the first of two Jolson Broadway vehicles to be filmed; the other was Wonder Bar (1934).See more »
The Handicap MarchSee more »


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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
Less musical than most of Jolson's films..., 15 November 2009
Author: calvinnme from United States

...largely because of the fact that by the autumn of 1930, when this film was released, musical films were a sure fire miss at the box office. However, Jolson still owed Warner Brothers one more film to fulfill his contract. Thus they came up with the idea that Jolson should reenact his role as Gus in one of his Broadway hits, "Big Boy". This would allow Jolson to sing but be more likely to attract audiences. This required Jolson to do the entire film in black-face as a black man who is a servant on a plantation. If this had been done seriously I'm sure it would leave modern audiences aghast. However, let me assure you that through the entire film Jolson, as Gus, is kidding the audience. Let me also assure you that Gus is smarter than the family that employs him. I doubt most of them could reason their way out of a paper bag without his assistance. Gus' family has been serving the Bedford family for generations. Specifically, Gus is trainer and jockey for the Bedford family prize horse, Big Boy. However, one member of the family has written a bad check to a girl in the city, and a gambler is using that as a threat to the young man so that he can fix the results of the Kentucky Derby. Under fear of being sent to jail if the bad check is reported to the police, the young man gets Gus fired so that a jockey that will throw the Kentucky Derby can be hired to ride Big Boy. It sounds like serious stuff, but believe me the whole thing is performed tongue-in-cheek, at least Jolson's part is.

Just because 1930 audiences had their fill of musicals did not mean they had their fill of Jolson, so at the conclusion of the film Jolson is introduced as himself without makeup to sing one song. I'd recommend this one, but you have to like Jolson and you have to remember that this film was made eighty years ago and that no harm was intended by any of the characterizations.

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