The Little Giant (1933)

This guy's worth MILLIONS
Helen Vinson calculates Edward G. Robinson's net worth.

We love how Edward G. Robinson says the word “coppers”. He spits it out, with contempt, like a swear word.

Now, you should know that we simply adore Edward G. Robinson and we won’t hear a negative word against him. We think he’s the greatest thing since gourmet chocolate sauce.

In the The Little Giant, Robinson is J. Francis “Bugs” Ahearn, a Chicago bootlegger who quits the crime racket when Prohibition is repealed. Now that everyone can drink legally, what’s left for crime boss to do but cash in his millions and join high society?

This is Bugs’ Big Plan: He moves across the country to Santa Barbara – a land of “high-class dames” and no connections to his Chicago past – and rents a mansion with 14 bathrooms. (Fourteen!)

Alas, no sooner does Bugs move into this commodious home than he is glommed onto by a family of gold diggers. Sometimes it just don’t pay to go straight.

Bugs is an endearing character with zillions of great lines. When a Chicago acquaintance tells him he wouldn’t fit into high society, he replies testily, “Oh yeah? I’m just crawlin’ with culture.”

Oh dear! We’re running out of time and we haven’t even told you how delightfully despicable the glamourous Helen Vinson is, nor our amazement at how normal Mary Astor’s hair is. (We are always distracted by Astor’s quixotic hairdo in later movies.)

There is so much fun in this movie it’s hard to tell you everything. And you shouldn’t know everything, anyway, because you’ll want to see it for yourself.

Starring Edward G. Robinson, Mary Astor, Helen Vinson. Written by Robert Lord and Wilson Mizner. Directed by Roy del Ruth. First National Pictures, 1933, 75 mins.



  1. If you liked this EG gangster spoof, there are plenty more to enjoy: A Slight Case Of Murder, Brother Orchid, Larceny Inc. and The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse are great films.


      • I love the character names in Clitterhouse, Bogart as Rocks Valentine. One of my favorite character actors Allen Jenkins as Okay(a great friend of James Cagney in real life). Just a really fun film.Hope you enjoy it.

        I have seen almost 65 EG Robinson films. I wonder if you ever saw Robinson in Our Vines Have Tender Grapes, Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet, House Of Strangers, All My Sons and or Blackmail? These are just a small samplings of the greatness of Robinson.

        The worst thing anybody can do in just beginning to experience Robinson as an actor is watch Little Caesar as your first film. The acting in here is very “rough.” You definitely could get the wrong impression of EGR by just watching this one movie which btw I consider just an okay film. EGR has so much more to offer and he develops so much more as an actor in subsequent films. His granddaughter Francesca once said that Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet was his favorite film and I could definitely see why. It was a masterpiece!


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