With the profits of the Abbott & Costello films in decline, Universal decided to experiment with the comedians' standard formula. In both Little Giant and The Time of Their Lives, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello play separate characters, rather than the usual smart guy/dumb guy comedy team. In Giant, Costello is cast as farm boy Benny Miller, a would-be salesman who goes to work for the Hercules Vacuum Cleaner company. Almost immediately running afoul of crooked general manager Morrison (Bud Abbott), bumbling Benny is about to be fired when he is convinced by a bunch of practical jokers that he has the power to read minds. His newfound self-confidence enables Benny to become Hercules' top salesman, which delights branch manager Tom Chandler (also Bud Abbott), Morrison's cousin and principal rival. About to receive a salesmanship award, Benny falls into a trap laid by Morrison and his wife (Jacqueline de Wit), who conspire to discredit Chandler by exposing Benny as a fraud. Thoroughly disillusioned, Benny returns home, only to discover that not only is he still Hercules' fair-haired boy, but that he's also replaced Morrison as general manager. Written by Richard Collins and Paul Jarrico, Little Giant is hardly typical Abbott and Costello fare, though the film contains several characteristic comedy setpieces, including an interpolation of Abbott & Costello's classic "Seven Goes Into Twenty-Eight Thirteen Times" routine. Perennial Marx Brothers foil Margaret Dumont shows up in one of the better slapstick scenes.
by Hal Erickson synopsis