Mickey Spillane meets Mr. Bill; The Big Tuna is a film Noir detective story done entirely in claymation. Set in a time when men wore hats and women were called dames, a hard drinking, chain smoking private detective is hired by a buxom bombshell to find her husband’s killer.
Nick Slammer is your average big city private dick with a dingy office and a penchant for sleazy bars and dangerous women. A nightclub owner with mob ties has been murdered and his wife, Irene Catolli shows up at Nick’s office. She hires him to track down her husband’s killer; paying him in cash and a romp in the hay. After coming up with few clues in the dark and seamy underbelly of the city, Nick turns to his former partner on the police force, Lieutenant Jiggs for help. After Jiggs gives Nick little more than a warning to stay away from Irene, Nick goes to Irene’s house in search of answers. While there, he stumbles into a murderous love triangle involving Jiggs, Irene and a mysterious cabana boy named Juan. What follows is a surprising and comically tragic ending to this age-old detective story with a twist.
All the classic detective genre elements are here; catchy inner dialogue, scenes done entirely at night, a leggy mystery woman and a double cross involving greed and lust. As far as the claymation, it actually works well, after all, the formulaic nature of the genre isn’t normally associated with great acting anyway.