A Big Hand for the Little Lady
Dir: Fielder Cook
Str: Henry Fonda, Joanne Woodward, Jason
Robards, Kevin McCarthy
What an entertaining film!
A Big Hand for the Little Lady is an incredibly delightful movie.
Despite the fact it was originally made for TV, it has every element of being an entertaining film. Especially,
quick and poignant dialogs and a surprising plot twist of the last scene are devastating.
Everybody will be surprised at the last scene.
Firstly I must mention that the plot twist which is so effective that I can
guarantee everyone who have watched this movie for the first time would be surely surprised. Though usually I dare
not reveal any hint of such an ingenious plot twist of any movie, lest the revelation spoils the pleasure of those
who have never seen the movie in question, in this film's case, as it would be impossible to explain what I want
to say without revealing some information about it, I've resolved to divulge a little bit of the nature of this
ingenious trick. Anyway, the film is so engrossing that the revelation of the plot would not dilute the entertaining
value of the film in the slightest, which is not necessarily true to other movies.
This movie's sudden plot twist in the last scene is completely
natural to the plot development, whereas there are such kind
other movies which employ this kind of plot twist just in order
When I watched this film for the first time, I was completely surprised by
the last scene. I was even thinking that the story must have essentially finished when the last scene in question
came along. The whole meaning by then accumulated was thoroughly reversed in the last moment. Those who till then
had looked so innocent and pure suddenly changed into the most devious and cunning frauds, and those who till then
had looked so arrogant and accustomed to all of worldly affairs suddenly became the most naive people. Sometimes
these kinds of tricks easily spoil the movies employing them especially when they are placed merely for the sake
of deceiving audiences. For example, recently I saw the movie titled Just Cause (1995). In the last scene
of this movie, the truth of the murder is revealed. And that is completely different from what seems to be, or
what should be. But then I thought so what? Because, in this movie's fashion, the ending could have been any way
the writer wanted, as long as it would surprise audiences. No meaning for the given ending. In other words, they
could, in this way, change the ending in whatever way they liked, for the ending has only to be just attached mechanically
without any regard to the inevitability of the story itself. Such is not the case with A Big Hand for the
Little Lady whose last scene not only surprises us, but also affects the position of those arrogant poker
players in the film, and, at the same time, is comletely natural to the story even if it surprises us. In short,
the pleasure of this film never accrues from mere surprise element, but from knowing all those self-confident poker
players, into whose image you might have projected similar kind of persons you are familiar with, have been completely
Japanese title of this movie is better than original one, which is
By the way, though this matters only Japanese audiences, the Japanese title
of the film also led me to be deceived. The direct translation back to English of the Japanese title is approximately
"The five fellows in Texas". If you noticed the word "Texas" being used, there would be no
problem. But if you were caught by the word "five", you would be to be said get deceived. Because you
would certainly have associated those five arrogant poker players with the word "five". As revealed in
the last scene, it actually means another five persons who firstly look ordinary and innocent (a farmer, a doctor,
a woman, a banker and a kid) and eventually swindle those five poker players cooperatively. Sometimes Japanese
movie suppliers give an awkward Japanese title to foreign movies. For example, they seem to want to use sugary
words like "ai" that is Japanese equivalent of the English word "love", obviously for marketing
sake. Sometimes, in Japan, movies are given so similar a title to each other that we cannot surely tell which is
which. But, in this movie's case, the Japanese title seems to be better than the English one, which is rather rare.
This movie is for everyone.
Finally, it should be added that the film has several other elements that makes
it one of the most entertaining movies. Dialogs are superb. Performances are first-rate except the scene that takes
place in the Jason Robards's home. But I guess this scene must have been added to the original 60 minutes TV drama
in order to fit it to the theater release. Anyway, this movie is the most entertaining movies of all time, and
highly recommended to every person of every age, and especially for those who are worried about the torrent of
vulgar words like shit or asshole, not to mention the words I cannot even describe here, washing their children's
brain, for this film is devoid of those words. I would like to discuss about this subject elsewhere if there is
any chance. Because, we, Japanese, cannot believe, especially in the American movies, there always being used such
words like "XXtherXXXXer", "coXXsuXXXX", even if, in Japan, very very kinky stuffs going on