Big Jim McLain (1952)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
Big Jim McLain Videos & Photos
In this Cold War film, Big Jim McLain (John Wayne) and his partner Mal Baxter (Jim Arness) head to Hawaii to investigate a subversive pro-Communist organization. Feigning love for suspect Nancy Vallon (Nancy Olson), McLain ferrets out the name of the Big Cheese in charge of operations.
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as Jim McLain
as Nancy Vallon
as Mal Baxter
as Dr. Gelster
as Edwin White
as Robert Henried
as Lt. Cmdr. Clint Grey
as Mrs. Lexiter
as Mrs. Nomaka
as Honolulu Chief of Po...
as Mr. Lexiter (uncredi...
as Phil Briggs (as Red ...
as Mr. Nash
as McLain's Superior
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Critic Reviews for Big Jim McLain
Pathetic anti-Communist propaganda film with a snarling John Wayne at his ugliest as a macho windbag special agent for HUAC.
Audience Reviews for Big Jim McLain
Big Jim McLain features one of John Wayne's best walk-through; he looks a little sheepish, but he's so amiable you forget he's really not in character. The drama at hand is tidied up rather quickly, yet the film is directed with a steady hand and has an easy-going pace.
The black-and-white cinematography is quite beautiful, with silvery shots of the tropics in all their '50s splendor.
Seeks to glorify the loathsome Joe McCarthy and his venal lot. Wayne was a well known ultra conservative so his presence here is no surprise but that this thing exists at all is a shame.
Nothing but a propaganda film promoting the agenda of the House Un-American Activities Committee in the time of McCarthyism. Now, I'm about as pro-America and anti-communist as a person can get, but even I found this film to be laughable, cheesy, and extremely heavy-handed with its political message, portraying communism as something like satanism (communism is bad, but it's not quite THAT bad), and casting the HUAC (often bad for America in its own way) in a downright heroic light.
Of course, having said all that, it's not fair to condemn this film without taking fully into account the time in which it was made. At the time of this movie's release, the Korean War was raging, America had lost its nuclear supremacy, Russia and China were being assholes, and all kinds of organizations within America itself (the ACLU, for instance) were hoping to see the White House painted red someday soon. All that doesn't change the fact that "Big Jim McLain" is a terrible movie, but it does help to put it into perspective somewhat.
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