Their Big Moment (1934)

Article #1161 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-19-2001
Posting Date: 10-16-2004
Directed by James Cruze
Featuring Zasu Pitts, Slim Summerville, Julie Haydon

A magician with a fake spiritualist act is hired to save a woman from the clutches of a fake medium intent on bilking her of her money.

This slight comedy/mystery never hits a comic peak, but it has a somewhat novel plot (I like the “dueling fake psychics” story) and remains pleasant viewing throughout. Part of what makes it work is the nice chemistry between the magician (William Gaxton) and his assistants (Zasu Pitts and Slim Summerville); they work quite well together. I could see one major plot twist coming a mile away (if you’ve got a comic actress reluctantly taking on the role of a fake medium, what’s the first comic twist you can think of?), but that’s a minor quibble, and there is still a surprising development or two ahead. Incidentally, the mediums provide the fantastic content, though it’s not quite as marginal as it may seem at first.

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