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Big Jim McLain (1952)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, History  |  30 August 1952 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 1,412 users  
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?


Edwin Layton has a cameo that was arranged by the studio as a favor for getting permission for John Ford to film the actual Midway battle. Layton was the Pacific Fleet's Fleet Intelligence Officer at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. See more »


When the plane taking McLain to another island begins taxiing, the door is still partly open. See more »


Jim McLain: You're comfy without French fries.
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 Ed Wood (1994) See more »


(I Wish I Was in) Dixie's Land
aka "Dixie"
Music by Daniel Decatur Emmett
Played during the opening credits
See more »

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User Reviews

A more gentlemanly John Wayne
22 December 2004 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

The Duke (in ties and jackets!) ferrets out Commies in Hawaii along with strapping partner James Arness. For a movie so obviously filled to the brim with machismo, the results surprise us with just a scene or two of fisticuffs and much more romance between Wayne and Nancy Olson (who moves quickly, and can you blame her?). The black-and-white cinematography is quite beautiful, with silvery shots of the tropics in all their '50s splendor. "Big Jim McLain" features one of John Wayne's best walk-throughs; he looks a little sheepish, but he's so amiable you forget he's really not in character. The drama at hand is tidied up rather quickly, yet the film is directed with a steady hand and has an easy-going pace. Its flag-waving stance is 100-percent purple heart-patriotic, but that's certainly in keeping with the era, as well as with Wayne's all-American persona. **1/2 from ****

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