The Big Wheel

Overview

In The Big Wheel, Mickey Rooney plays Billy Coy, a garage mechanic who matriculates into a champion race-car driver. On the way to the top, he steps on friends and foes alike. He even manages to briefly alienate his saintly mother Spring Byington. The cocky Coy eventually kills another racer when he forgets that gas and alcohol don't mix. It takes some doing, but Billy finally redeems himself. The climax blends stock footage of the Indianapolis 500 with newly-lensed racing sequences. The Big Wheel lapsed into ...
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Overview

In The Big Wheel, Mickey Rooney plays Billy Coy, a garage mechanic who matriculates into a champion race-car driver. On the way to the top, he steps on friends and foes alike. He even manages to briefly alienate his saintly mother Spring Byington. The cocky Coy eventually kills another racer when he forgets that gas and alcohol don't mix. It takes some doing, but Billy finally redeems himself. The climax blends stock footage of the Indianapolis 500 with newly-lensed racing sequences. The Big Wheel lapsed into public domain in 1976.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
A thoroughly average but also quite watchable little sports flick, The Big Wheel will probably appeal most to race fans, especially those with an itch to experience automobile racing "as it used to be." Indeed, the best parts of Wheel come when it puts its stock characters and stock situations on hold and takes to the speedway. What happens out there on the track is just as stock as anything else in the film in terms of story, but the footage makes it exciting. While clearly shooting on a budget, director Edward Ludwig and cinematographer Samuel H. Steifel make sure that these sequences, especially the final one, are pretty darn gripping. Although one can often tell where the "real" racing footage ends and the "created" footage begins, it still packs a decent wallop. As indicated, the script that surrounds these segments is quite routine, but it's handled with commitment by Ludwig and given their best shot by Mickey Rooney, Spring Byington and Thomas Mitchell, all of whom add significantly to the picture. (Coming off less well is steady love interest Mary Hatcher.) Its screenplay may keep it out of the big time winner's circle, but Wheel is a perfectly fine way to pass a little time.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/24/2012
  • UPC: 874757027296
  • Original Release: 1949
  • Source: American Pop Classic
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:32:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 75,421

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mickey Rooney Billy Coy
Thomas Mitchell Red Stanley
Michael O'Shea Vic Sullivan
Spring Byington Mrs. Mary Coy
Mary Hatcher Louise Riley
Allen Jenkins George
Hattie McDaniel Minnie
Steve Brodie Happy
Lina Romay Dolores Raymond
Dick Lane Reno Riley
Technical Credits
Edward Ludwig Director
Mort Briskin Producer
Jack Dempsey Producer
Nathaniel W. Finston Score Composer
Ernest Laszlo Cinematographer
Harry M. Popkin Producer
Robert Smith Screenwriter
Samuel H. Steifel Cinematographer, Producer
Walter Thompson Editor
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