6.2/10
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5 user 3 critic

Big Fella (1937)

| Drama, Musical | 1939 (USA)
In this musical comedy, Paul Robeson stars as Joe, a Marseilles docker hired by a wealthy English couple to find their missing son. When Joe finds him, he learns he escaped of his own will,... See full summary »

Director:

J. Elder Wills
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Paul Robeson ... Joe
Elisabeth Welch Elisabeth Welch ... Amanda 'Manda'
Roy Emerton Roy Emerton ... Spike
James Hayter ... Chuck
Lawrence Brown Lawrence Brown ... Corney
Eldon Gorst Eldon Gorst ... Gerald Oliphant (as Eldon Grant)
Marcelle Rogez Marcelle Rogez ... Marietta
Eric Cowley Eric Cowley ... Ferdy Oliphant
Joyce Kennedy Joyce Kennedy ... Mrs. Oliphant
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Storyline

In this musical comedy, Paul Robeson stars as Joe, a Marseilles docker hired by a wealthy English couple to find their missing son. When Joe finds him, he learns he escaped of his own will, and takes him to stay with a local singer. They offer him a refuge from his repressed white parents. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Musical

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Een zwarte idylle See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Roll Up Sailorman
Music by Eric Ansell
Lyrics by Henrik Ege (uncredited)
Sung by Paul Robeson and patrons in the cafe
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User Reviews

 
A dreadful film that was beneath Paul Robeson's immense talents.
24 June 2010 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Paul Robeson was an amazing man. During an age when black men were, at best, second-rate, he managed to excel in so many ways--graduating from a top college at the top of his class, a four-letter man, aster of 20 languages, professional athlete, a lawyer and one of the greatest singers of his age. Considering how much he accomplished in the repressive early to mid-20th century, you wonder just how far he might have gone had he been born a half century later.

While Robeson only made a few films, most of them are wonderful...though sadly "Big Fella" is not wonderful in any way except for the singing. Even the nice and seemingly effortless performance by Robeson and his amazing singing isn't enough to support this film--mostly because the plot sucks. It's obvious that the plot was secondary and was just an excuse to have him sing-often at the most bizarre times. But, considering how dumb the whole kidnapping plot was and how obnoxious the little jerk was, it was hard to care one bit about the film. On top of that, it was obvious that British Lion Films simply didn't care much about the production, as it was supposed to take place in Marseilles but practically everyone either has a strong American accent or British one. Aside from a few stock pieces of footage, it's pretty obvious this was made in a UK studio. A dumb plot, annoying and one-dimensional characters and low production values really sink this film. It's a shame and a film clearly beneath Robeson's immense talents.


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