5.7/10
418
20 user 2 critic

The Big Wheel (1949)

Approved | | Action, Drama, Romance | 4 November 1949 (USA)
A brash young midget car race driver lives in the shadow of his famous father, a drunken womanizer, who was killed in an accident years earlier.

Director:

Edward Ludwig

Writer:

Robert Smith (original screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mickey Rooney ... Billy Coy
Thomas Mitchell ... Red Stanley
Michael O'Shea ... Vic Sullivan
Mary Hatcher ... Lou Riley
Spring Byington ... Mary Coy
Steve Brodie ... Happy Lee
Lina Romay ... Dolores Raymond
Hattie McDaniel ... Minnie (as Hattie McDaniels)
Allen Jenkins ... George
Monte Blue ... Deacon Jones
Richard Lane ... Reno Riley (as Dick Lane)
Eddie Kane Eddie Kane ... Head Waiter
Charles Irwin Charles Irwin ... Drunk
Kippee Valez Kippee Valez ... Carla
Denver Pyle ... Doctor
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Storyline

Billy Coy comes to Carrell. His late father's mechanic Red hires Billy as a mechanic. Soon, Billy gets a job as a driver. Written by Daniel Ljungberg <meen@df.lth.se>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The RACE of his LIFE could be his ROAD to RUIN! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Romance | Sport

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 November 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Thundering Wheels See more »

Filming Locations:

Culver City, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Home video versions of the film run under 89 minutes. See more »

Goofs

When Mickey Rooney runs out of his burning car near the end, we hear the gas tank exploding, but the car clearly hasn't exploded yet. See more »

Quotes

Red Stanley: The way I figure it, another thousand dollars and she'll be ready for Indianapolis.
Reno Riley: I wouldn't give you another buck and a half.
Red Stanley: But Reno, this is the fastest iron in the business!
Reno Riley: How many years have you been takin' this pile of junk to the race, Red? Six? Seven?
Red Stanley: Eight.
Reno Riley: And you never even qualified.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film opens with the following written acknowledgements: "Grateful acknowledgement for their invaluable assistance is made to the AAA, the URA, the Racing Drivers of America, the Indianapolis Speedway and Mr. Wilbur Shaw." See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Pickers: What Happens in Sturgis... (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Que Bueno
Written by Kermit Goell and Fred Spielman
Sung by Lina Romay at nightclub
See more »

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User Reviews

 
If it feels like you've seen this before, you probably have....or at least a film very much like it.
11 August 2014 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"The Big Wheel" is not a bad movie. However, the plot is very, very familiar and although I hadn't seen this movie before, it sure felt that way as MANY films made during the 1930s, 40s and 50s had similar themes. So the film certainly won't get any kudos from me for originality. But, it is moderately engaging and isn't a bad time-passer.

Mickey Rooney plays Billy Coy--the son of a very famous race car driver that was killed years ago at the Indy 500. He's intent on following in his father's footsteps--well, as least as far as being a racing champ! But he's a bit too cocky and young and folks around him think that he's a bit too eager. However, it turns out he is very talented and has what it takes to win--provided he doesn't sabotage himself. In addition, his father's old pal (Thomas Mitchell) is intent on wooing the widow Coy (Spring Byington). What's to happen? See the film...or not.

Rooney and the rest of the cast were just fine in this film. There were some other similar films before it and the plot about a guy who alienates everyone but eventually learns humility and makes good is possibly one of the oldest clichés in films! Fortunately, the racing sequences are competently made and the film has enough going for it that you won't hate it. Not exactly a glowing endorsement, huh?


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