Film of the Month

Little Big Shot (1952)

Following the death of his gangster father, a group of criminals tries to include a hopelessly soft-hearted idiot into their schemes. 

Ronald Shiner is one of the Nearly Men of British cinema, almost a star but somehow not quite. He started as a supporting player and ended as one, but there was a brief period where it looked like he was going to break through to the big time. He never quite made it. Little Big Shot is a good example of why. He's too knowing to be a naive innocent, too competent to be a chaotic clown and too laid back to be an energetic driver of the plot. Things happen to him, but they don't feel as though things happen because of him or because the Universe has it in for him.

He's not helped much by his supporting cast. Marie Lohr does her usual lady-of-the-manor act with more brisk efficiency than comic inspiration. She's playing stooge to a comic who doesn't really need a stooge.  The only other notable cast member is Derek Farr as the Inspector out to get our hero. He is utterly miscast in the sort of role Lionel Jeffries would be doing with ease a few years later. He's far too young for the role, hiding behind a raincoat and droopy moustache to cover his unsuitability.

There are a few laughs to be had with Little Big Shot, but it's mostly faint smile territory.

Script adapt.: John Paddy Carstairs (o.a. Janet Allen) 

Director: Jack Raymond

Players: Ronald Shiner, Marie Lohr, Derek Farr, Manning Whiley, Danny Green, Yvette Wyatt, Digby Wolfe, Marjorie Stewart, Victor Baring, Cyril Conway, Gabrielle Daye, Daphne Barker, Lawrence Douglas, Steve Knight, Arthur Dibbs, Tony Bradley

Little Big Shot at Amazon UK

Little Big Shot at Amazon US