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Marv needs money. His unemployed dad is so poor that he makes Marv give up half his last six bucks so they can both go on three-dollar dates; he's just lost his scholarship after getting caught writing a term paper for Betty, the prettiest (and only) girl in his class; and Betty herself has told him he doesn't stand a chance with her unless he can give her what she wants most: money, money, money. But Marv has mob ties and Marv knows where to find a million dollars cash... Written by
While I, like my fellow commentators, enjoyed the MST3K send-up of this flick, I also agree with them that "High School Big Shot" definitely had some redeeming values.
The biggest value: the acting. For such a low-budget movie, the actors did a very good job. Tom Pittman pulled off the difficult task of making the audience sympathize with Marvin Grant, but not excuse his behavior. As his world goes to hell, destroyed by petty greed (both his own and others), the pain is evident on his face. His father, played by Malcolm Atterbury, comes off as a mainly honest, good guy who's made a few mistakes that have continually haunted him. As Betty Alexander, Virginia Aldridge plays the perfect conniving ice queen, and Howard Veit breathes convincing life into brainless jock Vince Rumbo (now THERE'S a name!).
But the true standouts are Stanley Adams and Louis Quinn as Harry March and Samuel Tallman, respectively. Although they have limited screentime, they effortlessly make you believe that here are lawbreakers with honor. As Harry says, "I am a thief, not a crook." You know that if you hire these two as part of your caper, they won't doublecross you and will stay with you until the bitter end. To once again quote Harry, they are the "last of the gentlemen;" criminals with hearts of slightly tarnished gold. Adams and Quinn truly shine in the roles.
The writing and directing by Joel M. Rapp is serviceable, and Carlo Lodato's editing works fine. Gerald Fried contributes a very nice score to this picture.
Overall, I'd have to recommend checking out this picture, whether the original or the MSTreatment.
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