Big Boy (Full Screen)

The dynamic Al Jolson puts on blackface makeup to portray likable Gus, a stableman-turned-jockey who overcomes adversity and wins the Kentucky Derby after gamblers conspire to have him fired from his mount Big Boy.
Rating 4.7
3 ratings
Movie on IMDb
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Item:  WAC 617397D

Warner Archive Collection Product Series:

DVD Features:

  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 1 hours, 8 minutes
  • Video: Black & White
  • Released:
  • Originally Released: 1930
  • Label: Warner Archives
  • Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
  • Aspect Ratio: Full Frame
  • Audio:
    • English

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Starring , , , &
Directed by &
Screenwriting by &
Composition by
Director of Photography:

Description by OLDIES.com:

With charisma, outsized singing and a fast horse, Al Jolson rides home a winner in this opened-up screen version of one of his biggest stage hits. The dynamic entertainer puts on blackface makeup to portray likable Gus, a stableman-turned-jockey who overcomes adversity and wins the Kentucky Derby after gamblers conspire to have him fired from his mount Big Boy. The role gave Jolson a chance to immerse himself in two of his great passions: the racetrack and singing, with audience-pleasers including Tomorrow Is Another Day and Liza Lee. The ebullient Jolson didn't like one of the songs in the original stage score, so he gave If You Knew Susie to Eddie Cantor. It became wide-eyed Cantor's biggest hit!

Product Description:

BIG BOY may well be the closest a modern audience will ever come to seeing what a genuine Al Jolson Broadway musical looked like. Based on his 1925 stage hit, the film casts Jolson in the blackface role of Gus, a stableboy at a moss-covered Southern plantation. Gus' favorite horse is the magnificent Big Boy, whom he hopes to ride to victory at the Kentucky Derby. Through a misunderstanding, Gus is fired from his job, but he manages to make his way to Louisville during Derby week by working as a singing waiter. Against all odds, our hero manages to win the Big Race -- at which point the scene fades to a "curtain call" on a Warner Bros. soundstage, with Jolson, minus makeup and out of character, cheerfully introducing the supporting cast and offering to sing few encores for the benefit of the spectators. To say the least, BIG BOY is a bizarre experience, but the film is not without its charms. The best moments include a lengthy Civil War flashback in which Gus's grandfather (Jolson again) outwits an outrageously bigoted Simon Legree type (Noah Beery Sr.), and the closing musical number in which Jolson waxes nostalgic over Sunday dinner with his family: "And I see on the kitchen table a ham -- a beautiful ham --.Ha! That ain't my house!"

Plot Keywords:

Civil War | Horses | Race Relations | Spiritual
This product is made-on-demand by the manufacturer using DVD-R recordable media. Almost all DVD players can play DVD-Rs (except for some older models made before 2000) - please consult your owner's manual for formats compatible with your player. These DVD-Rs may not play on all computers or DVD player/recorders. To address this, the manufacturer recommends viewing this product on a DVD player that does not have recording capability.
Warner Archive Collection

Movie Lovers' Ratings & Reviews:

Customer Rating: Rating 4.7
Based on 3 ratings.
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Product Info:

  • Sales Rank: 24,586
  • UPC: 883316173978
  • Shipping Weight: 0.18/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item