Before slipping into character roles Eddie Quillan did several leads in silent and early sound films as a kinder, gentler version of William Haines. He was never a wiseacre like Haines on screen, but was always the eager young kid.
In The Big Shot Quillan plays Ray Smith who was brought up on those Horatio Alger stories about bright young men in the late nineteenth century who by hard work and pluck made successes of themselves. Quillan is looking for a shortcut. His latest shows him demonstrating puncture proof tires over a bed of hard glass and nails with the inevitable results.
Watching that scene it reminded me of someone in my youth who fired a bullet through some shatterproof window glass at close range for a demonstration and the same thing happened that occurred to Quillan. There are just some things you just should not expect from products in this world.
A sharp shark of a salesman rooks Quillan in a sale of a combination gas station and motel though that term was not in vogue yet. Quillan buys it sight unseen and finds out the reason he got it was that it was doing no business. People just did not like the odor and hazards of a swamp which was on the property as well. Still there's a hidden lemonade in this lemon if only Quillan realizes.
Maureen O'Sullivan in one of her earliest films plays the girl Quillan keeps trying to impress. She has to be rescued from the swamp at the climax and The Big Shot was interesting in that it kept the viewer both in suspense and laughing at the same time. Let's say the rescue was a close run thing.
Arthur Stone has a very nice part as a Civil War veteran who takes a liking to Quillan and helps him. He's also a part of that rescue and I'll let you judge how much help he is.
The Big Shot though really quite dated for Depression audiences is not a bad film and today quite a few laughs can be gotten from it.
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