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Featured DVD Review: Something Big

October 7th, 2012

Something Big - Buy from Amazon

I admit I hadn't heard of Something Big when it arrived on my desk to review. I has certainly heard of its star, Dean Martin, but other than that, I was going in with zero expectations. I did a little research and discovered this oversight wasn't really my fault. It is one of the actor's least well-known films. But is it an undiscovered gem? Or is there a reason so few have heard of it.

The Movie

The film begins in at army fort at Dry Wells run by Colonel Morgan, who is close to retirement. He just wants to get through his last few days in peace, which is why when Junior Frisbee (Denver Pyle) comes in telling him Joe Baker shot his partner, he's less than concerned. Yes, Joe Baker is a bandit and should be brought to justice, but so is Junior Frisbee and so was his partner. Bandits killing bandits is not exactly a high priority crime. In fact, it seems his only priority is waiting for his wife, Mary Anna, to arrive so he can go back east and retire. Unfortunately, a scout, Jesse Bookbinder, comes in and says Joe Baker is up to something big. What that is, he doesn't know, but it means Colonel Morgan can't just count down the days till he retires.

The scout isn't the only one who has heard of Joe Baker's plans. Another bandit, Johnny Cobb (Albert Salmi), also heard Joe was up to something big. He offers Joe a Gatling gun that he recently acquired, in exchange for something special... A woman. Seems Cobb has had trouble getting himself a wife and wants Baker to help. So Baker gives him a makeover and etiquette lesson to help him attract a wife. Just kidding, he robs stagecoaches looking to kidnap a wife for Cobb. (Seriously? When was the movie made?) There's a reason why Baker is desperate for one big score. He was only supposed to be out west for two years trying to strike it rich and it has been four. Now his fiancee, Dover McBride (Carol White), is coming out west to take him back to Pennsylvania, whether he likes it or not. With no time left, he has to plan his last big heist. He decides to go after Emilio Estevez... no, not that Emilio Estevez. Emilio Estevez (José Ángel Espinosa), the richest bandit in Mexico. He's so powerful that he's taken over a town and stores all of his stolen loot there. However, it is very well protected, so they will need a Gatling gun if they are able to succeed. Not only will it bring the riches Joe Baker wants, but also the fame.

So Joe Baker starts his quest to find the perfect wife for Cobb. Eventually he finds the perfect wife. Unfortunately, she's already married. ... To Colonel Morgan. Now Morgan has the motivation he needs for one last big bust before retiring. But who will accomplish their "big something" before retiring?

Something Big is anything but big. It is a rather small western that just moves along at a slow pace through a simple plot. It tries to mix some humor into the film, but those attempts mostly fall flat. The predictability wouldn't be too much of a problem if the film had better energy, but even Dean Martin seems flat in this film. I did like seeing Honor Blackman in the movie, who is best known for playing Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. It's not a terrible movie, or ever really a bad movie, but it is just so middle-of-the-road that it is hard to come up with anything enthusiastic to say about it.

The Extras

There are no extras on the DVD.

The Verdict

There are far too many light-hearted westerns out there for Something Big to stand out. If you like Dean Martin movies, then it might be worth renting, but with a featureless DVD, it isn't worth buying unless you love this movie.

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Filed under: Video Review, Honor Blackman, Emilio Estevez, Ben Johnson, Brian Keith