AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Big Broadcast of 1938
Director: Mitchell Leisen (Dir)
Release Date:   18 Feb 1938
Duration (in mins):  88, 90 or 97
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Cast: W. C. Fields  (T. Frothingill Bellows/S. B. Bellows)
  Martha Raye  (Martha Bellows)
  Dorothy Lamour  (Dorothy Wyndham)
 

Summary: Radio announcer Buzz Fielding's girl friend, Dorothy Wyndham, bails him out of jail, where he landed after skipping alimony payments to his three ex-wives, in time to board the S. S. Gigantic for the race against the S. S. Colossal , to cross from New York to Cherbourg in two and a half days. T. Frothingill Bellows, president of the line that owns the Gigantic , buys his accident-prone brother S. B. a ticket on the Colossal . S. B. delays boarding with a vigorous round of golf, using a motorized cart that turns into a small plane which he eventually uses to land on the deck of the Gigantic . The ship is equipped with a special turbine engine invented by Bob Hayes, but S. B. breaks it with his umbrella and then refuses to allow its use, causing the ship to fall behind in the race. Dorothy and Bob fall in love while he fixes the engine. Buzz announces the ship's entertainment in radio broadcasts, while he and his three ex-wives, eager for their alimony, anticipate winning the race and $50,000. Grace, one of Buzz's ex-wives, diverts S. B.'s attentions from Bob while he fixes the engine. Cleo, another ex-wife, reminisces with Buzz, and they slowly rekindle their love. S. B.'s daughter Martha, also accident-prone, is rescued at sea and wreaks havoc aboard the ship. Finally, Buzz fixes the engine and the Gigantic speeds ahead, at one point with S. B. at the helm. They win the race by a nose, and Buzz and Cleo happily reunite, leaving Dorothy and Bob free to continue their romance. 

Distribution Company: Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Production Company: Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Director: Mitchell Leisen (Dir)
  Edgar Anderson (Asst dir)
Producer: Adolph Zukor (Pres)
  Harlan Thompson (Prod)
  William LeBaron (Exec prod)
Writer: Walter DeLeon (Scr)
  Francis Martin (Scr)
  Ken Englund (Scr)
  Frederick Hazlitt Brennan (Story)
  Howard Lindsay (Adpt)
  Russel Crouse (Adpt)
  W. C. Fields (Contr wrt)

Subject Major: Boatracing
  Bumblers
  Ex-spouses
  Musical revues
  Radio announcers
  Radio broadcasting
  Ships
 
Subject Minor: Alimony
  Billiards and billiard parlors
  Brothers
  Comedians
  Explosions
  Gas stations
  Golf and golfers
  Jails
  Mirrors
  Opera
  Rescues
  Reunions
  Ship crews

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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