What's she got? Kings over queens? Four aces? Straight flush? Whatever the beautiful blonde holds, watch out! Henry Fonda, Joanne Woodward and Jason Robards headline this sly, sassy Old West caper about a Texas town's humdinger of a poker game. A "reformed" gambler and homesteader (Fonda) sits down at the card table, loses his family's $4,000 startup stake - and then is dealt a fantastic hand. What happens next offers a full deck of suspense, humor and surprises, many involving an aces-high ensemble, (Charles Bickford, Burgess Meredith, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ford) and especially the newcomer's wife (Woodward), who says she hasn't a clue about how to play. A big hand? Give this clever, all-star comedy a standing ovation!
I have to admit, westerns have never really been my thing and I don’t know jack about poker but for some reason when I heard that TCM (Turner Classic Movies) was showing A Big Hand for the Little Lady I knew I just had to watch it and it turned out to be such a great film too!
The movie was originally made as a TV play called Big Deal in Laredo in 1962 but Warner Brothers decided to make it into a feature film in ‘66. For a film that mainly revolves around a poker table, it’s surprisingly almost suspenseful and continually kept me guessing.
I’d recommend seeing A Big Hand for the Little Lady for the ending alone but it also has a great cast and is genuinely interesting. There are not many movies that can get an undertaker, lawyer, a large landowner, two other rich men, a bank manager, doctor, a kid and a lady into one little room and it pull off without feeling like the director is just throwing people at you but this one does it with style.
~ This film has become available recently in The Leading Ladies Collection Vol. 2 and also has it’s own DVD too.
Reminder: There are links to more information about the movie behind the pictures above.