Big Jim McLain (1952)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, History  |  30 August 1952 (USA)
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Reviews: 34 user | 9 critic

In the post-war Hawaii, House Un-American Activities Committee investigators Jim McLain and Mal Baxter hunt down communists.



(quotes from "The Devil and Dan'l Webster"), , 5 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nancy Vallon
Mal Baxter
Veda Ann Borg ...
Robert Henried
Hal Baylor ...
Gayne Whitman ...
Dr. Gelster
Robert Keys ...
Edwin White
John Hubbard ...
Lt. Cmdr. Clint Grey
Soo Yong ...
Mrs. Namaka (as Madame Soo Yong)
Dan Liu ...
Dan Liu - Honolulu Chief of Police (as Honolulu Chief Of Police Dan Liu)
Paul Hurst ...
Mr. Lexiter
Vernon 'Red' McQueen ...
Phil Briggs (as Red McQueen)


U.S. House Un-American Activities Committee investigators Jim McLain and Mal Baxter attempt to break up a ring of Communist Party troublemakers in Hawaii (ignoring somewhat, as do their superiors in the Congress, that membership in the Communist Party was, at the time, legal in the U.S.) Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He's a Go-Get-'Em Guy for the U.S.A. on a Treason Trail that leads Half-a-World Away! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 August 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jim McLain  »

Box Office


$826,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The German title is "Mathuana". In this dubbed version for the German market John Wayne plays a hunter of marijuana smugglers, not an investigator for the Un-American Activities Commitee ferreting out Communists, as in the original film. See more »


When Olaf comes out of the house and sees Jim talking to Madge, the background changes between the wide shot of the three of them and the close-up of Olaf getting the axe. See more »


Poke: I've had a belly full of this East Texas cotton-chopping jerk.
Jim McLain: Did you ever chop cotton?
Poke: Nah, I'm from the country club set. That chopping cotton's for white trash and niggers!
[McLain punches Poke and a fight ensues]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits epilogue: The Incidents in this motion picture are based on the files of the Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, Congress of the United States. Names and places have been changed. We gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of this Committee. See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: The Conqueror (2014) See more »


The Year of Jubilo
Played during the opening credits
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User Reviews

This film needs to be viewed in the context of the times.
18 November 1999 | by (arlington, VA) – See all my reviews

While Big Jim McLain will hardly rank with the greatest of John Wayne's films, it expresses the conflict between loyal American citizens and law enforcement officials and the threat posed by Soviet agents. Only since the release of some of the USSR archives can we see how real the threat was although rarely as simplistic as the film shows it. Big Jim McLain needs to be viewed in the context of its times just as other US wartime action films reflect the tenor of our role in World War II and how people saw the enemy of that day.

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