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Big Jim McLain (1952)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, History | 30 August 1952 (USA)
In the post-war Hawaii, House Un-American Activities Committee investigators Jim McLain and Mal Baxter hunt down Communists.

Director:

Edward Ludwig

Writers:

Stephen Vincent Benet (quotes from "The Devil And Dan'l Webster"), James Edward Grant | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Wayne ... Jim McLain
Nancy Olson ... Nancy Vallon
James Arness ... Mal Baxter
Alan Napier ... Sturak
Veda Ann Borg ... Madge
Hans Conried ... Robert Henried
Hal Baylor ... Poke
Gayne Whitman ... Dr. Gelster
Gordon Jones ... Olaf
Robert Keys Robert Keys ... Edwin White
John Hubbard ... Lt. Cmdr. Clint Grey
Soo Yong Soo Yong ... Mrs. Namaka (as Madame Soo Yong)
Dan Liu Dan Liu ... Dan Liu - Honolulu Chief of Police (as Honolulu Chief Of Police Dan Liu)
Paul Hurst ... Mr. Lexiter
Vernon 'Red' McQueen Vernon 'Red' McQueen ... Phil Briggs (as Red McQueen)
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Storyline

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 <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 August 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jim McLain See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$826,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the first film in which John Wayne played a contemporary law enforcement officer (as opposed to an Old West lawman). See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Nancy Vallon: He just is a neuter in the personality.
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 »

Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

Featured in Red Hollywood (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Yankee Doodle
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played during the opening credits
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Crucible
26 February 2017 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

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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