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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 <email@example.com>
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 »
The version released in Italy and some other European countries is retitled Marijuana and has John Wayne chasing drug smugglers instead of communists. See more »
Big Jim McLain is a hilariously bad propaganda film. If it was made by the Nazis, the cast and crew would had got medals from Goebbels.
John Wayne surely was doing his best to avoid being labelled as a commie (it was made in conjunction with his own production company.)
Big Jim McLain (John Wayne) and his partner even bigger Mal Baxter (James Arness) are investigators for the House Un-American Activities Committee. They have been sent to Hawaii to round up some local Communists. They visit Dr Gelster a psychiatrist who is treating one of the party members. While there, McLain charms the doctor's secretary, Nancy Vallon (Nancy Olson) and asks her out. McLain and Baxter become targets of the local communist head honcho, really tall Sturak (Alan Napier.)
It is left to James Arness to really ham up his character's anti communist credentials. Oh if only he could get his hands on those reds under the beds. He fought in Korea you know.
Wayne is too busy being a tourist and trying to charm Olson who he met on his first day ashore. Although raucous party girl Veda Ann Borg is also interested to know how big John McLain really is.
Napier is suave and despicable going around in expensive cars treating the lower ranked members of the party with disdain. It is a laughably bad and camp film. You have a nurse who once dabbled with the reds and talks about being a communist like being struck down by a disease. She does penance by working with ill children.
Given the mayhem caused by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s. Wayne should had burned the negatives.
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