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A Big Hand for a Little Lady

Where to Watch A Big Hand for a Little Lady

1966

In the 1966 film, A Big Hand for a Little Lady, director Fielder Cook effortlessly combines the elements of drama, western, and comedy genres to deliver a cinematic masterpiece. Starring Hollywood legends such as Henry Fonda, Joanne Woodward, and Jason Robards, the movie examines the fascinating world of high-stakes poker in the old west, laced with suspense, sly wit, and unexpected twists.

The story sets its stage in Laredo, Texas, in the late 19th Century and revolves around a yearly high-stakes poker game. The card game, an institution in the western town, attracts a cohort of wealthy, seasoned gamblers who are ready to match their skills, nerves, and bankrolls against each other. The line-up includes tough-talking men of the west like Otto Habershaw, Dennis Wilcox, and Amos "Bulldog" Fetcher played by veteran actors Kevin McCarthy, Burgess Meredith, and Robert Middleton respectively.

Enter into this den of seasoned gamblers, Henry Fonda as Meredith, a seeming country bumpkin with his wife Mary, played by Joanne Woodward, and their young son. Apparently penniless, Meredith, a hopeful man with a dreamy, trusting nature, puts up all of the family's savings, a total of $5000, to join the poker game, much to the initial shock and anxiety of his wife. However, encouraged by her husband's apparent card playing prowess, Mary reluctantly endorses the risky endeavor.

As the game progresses and the stakes take a steep upward climb, an unexpected crisis strikes. Meredith suddenly collapses from stress, leaving his wife Mary and son in a daunting situation. With their future hanging by a thread, she bravely takes matters into her own hands, plunging uncannily into this high testosterone, predatory environment.

At this crucial juncture, a mysterious stranger, who introduces himself as a traveling salesman, shows up at the hotel where the game is in progress. This role taken up by Jason Robards injects another layer of tension and mystery into the plot. Robards, as an unexpected ally to Mary, offers his assistance, further adding to the doubtful integrity and uncertainty of the situation.

Throughout the movie, the viewers are kept on the edge of their seats, pondering the fate of the family's investment and the unacquainted role of Robards. The film, full of suspense and unexpected turns, is a virtuoso examination of human nature, depicting the fine line between our aspirations and our flaws.

The subtle performances by the lead actors add to this engrossing narrative, making it a riveting watch. Henry Fonda's personification as the naively brave Meredith is impeccable. His portrayal depicts a blend of human vulnerability and strength in a manner that only an actor of his caliber could pull off.

Joanne Woodward, as Mary, delivers a noteworthy performance. Her transformation from a nervous and wary housewife to a determined woman ready to battle it out in a room filled with intimidating gamblers is done impressively. It outlines the quintessential strength of a woman when faced with adversity.

Jason Robards, on the other hand, adds another dimension to the movie with his portrayal of a mysterious stranger. He brings his characteristic gravitas and charisma to the role of the apparent savior, enhancing the suspense and intrigue of the unfolding narrative. His solid performance provides a perfect complement to the talents exhibited by Fonda and Woodward.

'A Big Hand for the Little Lady' is an unconventional gem, a western-fused drama that also exemplifies elements of a suspenseful con-artist film. It is a brilliantly executed blend of suspense, humor, and human psychology. Major credit to Director Fielder Cook for his adroit craftsmanship, further accentuated by the remarkable performances by the leading stars, making it a compelling and enjoyable viewing experience. The movie, a true classic of its time, still captivates the audience with its charm and suspense, making it a timeless watch.

A Big Hand for a Little Lady is a Western movie released in 1966. It has a runtime of 95. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.3..

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7.3/10
Director
Fielder Cook
Stars
Henry Fonda, Joanne Woodward, Jason Robards, Paul Ford
Genres
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