Big Boy (film)

Big Boy is a 1930 American Pre-Code musical comedy film produced by Warner Bros.. The film was directed by Alan Crosland and stars Al Jolson, Claudia Dell, Louise Closser Hale, and Noah Beery. The film is based on the 1925 Broadway hit show of the same name in which Jolson also starred.

Big Boy
Directed byAlan Crosland
Written byWilliam K. Wells
Rex Taylor
based on a musical comedy by Harold Atteridge
StarringAl Jolson
Claudia Dell
Louise Closser Hale
Noah Beery
Music byRex Dunn
Alois Reiser
Sam H. Stept
Bud Green
CinematographyHal Mohr
Edited byRalph Dawson
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • September 6, 1930 (1930-09-06)
Running time
68 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$574,000 [1]
Box office$498,000[1]


Al Jolson plays Gus, a loyal stable boy and jockey to a rich family in the South that has been interested in horse racing and breeding horses for generations. (In a flashback we see Jolson's grandfather, who also worked for the same family back in 1870.) The young heir of the family, Jack, loses a lot of money by gambling and is blackmailed by the crooks he lost to for forging a check. They convince Jack to ask his mother to replace Gus with another jockey for the family's racehorse, "Big Boy", but she refuses. The crooks frame Gus and he is discharged for tampering with the horse. Gus is replaced by a jockey who has been bought off to lose on purpose. Gus finds work as a waiter in a fancy restaurant. While working there he uncovers the details about the race throwing plot and he reveals this to Hughes and then, with his help, outsmarts the crooks just in time to then ride "Big Boy" to victory.



  • Little Sunshine
  • Tomorrow Is Another Day
  • Liza Lee
  • Hooray For Baby And Me

Box Office

According to Warner Bros records the film earned $437,000 domestically and $61,000 foreign.[1]


Because of the public apathy to musicals at the time of its release, some of the musical sequences were cut from the picture before release and it was advertised strictly as a comedy picture. This domestic release print survives complete and has been released by Warner Archive on DVD. The film seems to have been released in a longer version outside the United States where there was never any backlash against musicals. It is unknown whether a copy of this full musical version still exists.[2]


  1. Warner Bros financial information in The William Shaefer Ledger. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1-31 p 10 doi: 10.1080/01439689508604551
  2. Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Crongress <book title> p.16 c.1978 by The American Film Institute
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