Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were in the midst of a ridiculous feud around the time they shot LITTLE GIANT, and some say that is why they share so few scenes in this film and the one that followed, THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES. Still, the results are quite interesting. While THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES is often admired as one of their best, most atypical films, LITTLE GIANT is rarely talked about or dismissed as a weak effort. True, it is not an "Abbott and Costello" picture, but it is a congenial little picture that allowed both Bud and Lou to stretch themselves a little bit and break out, ever so slightly, of the characters they had always played.
Lou plays a country bumpkin who goes to the big city to be a vacuum cleaner salesman, while Bud plays two roles - the crooked head of the Los Angeles branch of Hercules Vacuums and his slightly more affable cousin at the Stockton branch. While the boys do share some scenes together, the only old routine they do is "13 Times 7 Equals 28" and it feels distinctly out of place. Otherwise, Lou's story, in which he is tricked into thinking he can read minds and then becomes a superb salesman because of it - is played without Bud for the most part. Bud seems very comfortable in playing his two roles, and as I say in the review of THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES, he could have had a good side career as a character actor.
The comedy relies mostly on situations rather than gags, although Lou tends to spice up entrances and exits with his usual pratfalls and headbangs into doors. He also shares one scene with the Marx Brothers' favorite leading lady Margaret Dumont. It's not a hilarious scene, but anything that gave Maggie work back then is okay by me.
Reportedly, LITTLE GIANT and the far superior THE
TIME OF THEIR LIVES did not perform as well as earlier A&C films at
the box office. Apparently, people wanted to see Abbott and
Costello, not Abbott or Costello. - JB