Directed by J. Elder Wills
Virtually unseen in the United States until this Kino on Video release (newly restored from a nitrate 35mm negative by the Library of Congress), Big Fella is a lively British musical built around the magnetic personality and unforgettable voice of the legendary Paul Robeson.
Loosely based on the 1929 novel Banjo by Claude McKay, Big Fella stars Robeson as Joe, a Marseilles dockworker who is asked by police to help find a young boy missing from an ocean liner. When Joe finally discovers the child (Eldon Grant), he learns that the boy escaped of his own will, and takes him to stay with a local cafe singer, Miranda (Elisabeth Welch). Joe and Miranda become surrogate parents to the boy, offering a welcome change from his wealthy, and somewhat repressed, white parents.
As usual in a Robeson picture, music provides much of the entertainment, and the songs in this film include: "Lazin'," "Roll Up Sailorman," "You Didn't Ought To Do Such Things," "All God's Chillun Got A Robe," "My Curly Headed Baby" and "River Steals My Folks From Me."
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