The Big Brain (1933)
Collection: Motion Picture Herald, July 1933
Source: Philadelphia Exhibitor, November 1933
(RKO, June 23; running time, 72 minutes)
Unpleasant and demoralizing. Not for a long time has an unsympathetic character such the one portrayed by George E. Stone been seen on the screen. No pity or respect whatever is felt for him since the things that he does are unforgivable.
For instance, he robs poor people of their money by selling them stocks in fake companies, inducing them by persuasion and lies to invest their life savings with him, his intention being to walk out on them.
Another miserable act on his part is to fix the books so to make Phillips Holmes, an honest person, shoulder all the blame for his manipulations, leaving Holmes to face arrest and imprisonment.
And even his attempt to win Fay Wray away from Holmes is despicable. How can one be expected to follow with any sympathy the doings of such a character? The situation in which Fay Wray, through physical allure, puts Stone in the hands of the police is disgusting:
Stone, starting a bootblack, builds up a fortune by running a gambling den. He becomes a stock broker in New York and attains a position of affluence. In a speak-easy one night he notices Fay Wray and is attracted by her. He is enraged when both she and her sweetheart, Phillips Holmes, spurn his offer of champagne.
An investigation is started against Stone and he leaves America for England. Phillips Holmes is a passenger on the same boat; he was leaving for England since he did not want to marry Fay because of her wealth; he wanted to make a fortune by himself.
Stone picks up an acquaintance with him by warning him against card sharks. He offers Holmes a position in his brokerage office which Holmes accepts. Stone buys up some worthless property and then sells stock to his victims, telling them there is oil on the property.
A powerful newspaper editor starts a campaign against Stone. In order to cover himself Stone brings a libel suit and on the day of the trial oil is suddenly found on the property. Fay arrives in England to visit Holmes. Stone attempts to make love to her and she spurns him. Furious, he changes the books so to make it appear that Holmes is in charge and then he leaves the country.
Holmes is arrested, and Stone is safe in a state from which he cannot be extradited. Fay visits him and make him believe she wants him to be with her at her home. He goes in her car and when they pass the border line the police arrest him. Holmes is released and he and Fay are united.
Not suitable for children, adolescents, or for Sundays.
Source: Harrison's Reports, 10 June 1933