skip navigation
The Big Shot

The Big Shot(1937)

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here

Remind Me

TCMDb Archive MaterialsView all archives (0)


powered by AFI

To the delight of his social climbing wife Elizabeth, Dr. Bertram Simms, a small town veterinarian, receives word that he has inherited a fortune from his uncle Ferdinand and is expected to move into his uncle's city home. At Ferdinand's lavish estate, Bertram, Elizabeth and their daughter Peggy are counseled by Martin Blake, the family lawyer, who explains to Bertram that his former employer was involved in a myriad of complicated business concerns. Although baffled by their new home's elaborate security system, the Simms never suspect that Ferdinand had been the leader of a successful gang of racketeers whose criminal "moniker" was Mike Garnet. Anxious to take control of the gang and keep Bertram unaware of its activities, Blake requests power of attorney and overwhelms the timid veterinarian, who has been pressured by Elizabeth to act the part of executive, with an avalanche of business "responsibilities." Although Bertram relinquishes his job as "corporate" head to Blake, he refuses to grant him power of attorney. While Bertram secretly returns to his veterinary work, Blake orders his men to intimidate Murdock, the editor of the local newspaper, who has been publishing articles exposing the local corruption. After Murdock's newspaper is shut down by the gang, Chester "Chet" Scott, Peggy's reporter boyfriend, arrives in the city and learns about Murdock's troubles. Chet then tells Bertram about the racketeers and inspires him to buy Murdock's newspaper and lead a public crusade against the gang. To avoid reprisals, however, Bertram agrees to finance the crusade, which is to culminate in the printing of the gang leader's photograph, but does so anonymously. Backed by the police and Bertram's own security force, the crusade soon inhibits the gang's activities, which include extortion, gambling and political bribery. Desperate, Blake decides to use Elizabeth, who is planning a "debut" party for Peggy in the hope of finding a socially acceptable son-in-law, to obtain power of attorney. After planting his own thugs and molls at Peggy's party, Blake insinuates to Elizabeth that Bertram is ruining the business by refusing to give him power of attorney. Then a Murdock reporter, who has overheard one of the thugs identify Bertram as the gang's leader, takes Bertram's photograph and notifies Murdock to ready the "Rogues Gallery" issue. When Bertram proudly announces to his guests that he is the "chief" crusader, he is promptly kidnapped by Blake. While being held prisoner, Bertram tricks Blake into believing that he has been poisoned and alerts the police of his whereabouts through a coded message in a prescription. Blake and his men are apprehended by the police, but the newspaper containing Bertram's damning photograph is circulated throughout the city. After being rescued by the police from a mob of angry "crusaders," Betram takes his well-earned place as the head of the Simms's household.