Big Jack (1949) Poster

(1949)

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10/10
Great Classic Film of 1949
whpratt121 October 2005
Wallace Berry,(Big Jack Horner),"Wyoming",'40, made this film his swan song and gave an outstanding performance as a slick wise old owl up to no good, but had a very kind heart for doing good for people and sometimes the opposite. Marjorie Main,(Flapjack Kate), was his sidekick or wife, and gave him a hard time whenever she could. I was surprised to see Richard Conte,(Dr. Alexander Meade),"Tony Rome",'67,who was the only person all dressed up and looking like a million dollars. Big Jack Horner and the other supporting actors all dressed like hillbilly's from them thar Hills!! If you like old time actors and the rough ways of Wallace Berry, his deep voice and slow speech, you will certainly enjoy the slap stick story from the past years. My dad use to tell me that Richard Conte's father use to be a barber in Jersey City, N.J., and cut his hair for $1.25. (Way back WHEN!)
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6/10
Jacksonian Frontier Drama
bkoganbing27 November 2010
Big Jack turned out to be the swan song for Wallace Beery one of the mainstays of MGM ever since the era of sound. If Big Jack isn't the best film Wallace Beery ever did it certainly will provide the film historian and fan with what would most assuredly be called a typical Wallace Beery role.

The film is set in the Jacksonian era of American history with Beery leading a pack of bandits. On an impulse he rescues Richard Conte from a lynching party and since he's been wounded the fact that Conte is a doctor comes in handy.

But what Conte is being lynched for is stealing dead bodies from graves to use in experiments. Conte is a scientist and while he's not conducting Frankenstein like experiments, those are the fears of the local populace. And while grave robbing is not a hanging offense, that's not an argument to make to those people whose loved one's corpses are being experimented on.

Marjorie Main teamed with Wallace Beery for many films, she was his most frequent screen partner after Marie Dressler died. Beery and Main worked well together and Big Jack is a great example of their chemistry.

Wallace Beery was also a great example of the screen image totally being the opposite of the man. In real life Beery was a miserly and misanthropic individual who few would ever have said a kind word about. Far from the lovable lug that he was best known for after his Oscar winning performance in The Champ.

Beery with his hair grown long for the part, did not look well at all during the film. While Big Jack will never be classified as one of his great films, it's a good example of the appeal that Wallace Beery had with the American movie-going public.
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7/10
W Beery's last film.
ksf-210 March 2015
Big Jack starts off in 1802, with a man (Richard Conte) about to be hanged in Maryland. Marjorie Main is Flapjack Kate. The larger than life actor Wallace Beery is "Big Jack" (Big Jack Horner... not Little Jack Horner). Jack is sick. Conte is Meade, the new doc, who heals him up, and has to decide if he will join the gang, which Jack leads. Jack even brings back a girl for Meade. Good stuff happens. Bad stuff happens. Lots of lessons learned. Beery plays it WAY over the top, while Conte plays it pretty straight. Its a strange combination of an old western, humor, with a sort of "history of medicine" story worked in. Oddly, it works out quite well. Lots of fun banter between Beery and Main. Last film Beery made. Well worth the time.

I'm surprised that it only is rated 6.5 as of today. Now that TCM shows it, I would expect more people to see and rate it. Directed by Richard Thorpe. Story by Robert Thoeren, who was born (and died) in Europe.
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