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Big City (1948)

 -  Drama  -  25 March 1948 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 137 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 1 critic

An abandoned baby is raised by three men: the Rev. Andrews, cantor Feldman, and Officer O'Donnell. When Feldman and O'Donnell each find a woman to fall in love with, they both think of ... See full summary »



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Title: Big City (1948)

Big City (1948) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Complete credited cast:
Rev. Philip Y. Andrews
Cantor David Irwin Feldman
Patrick O'Donnell
Karin Booth ...
Florence Bartlett
Judge Martin O. Abercrombie
Jackie 'Butch' Jenkins ...
Louis Keller (as Butch Jenkins)
Shoo Shoo Grady
Lotte Lehmann ...
Mama Feldman
Connie Gilchrist ...
Martha, the Judge's Maid
Page Cavanaugh ...
Trio Leader (as Page Cavanaugh Trio)


An abandoned baby is raised by three men: the Rev. Andrews, cantor Feldman, and Officer O'Donnell. When Feldman and O'Donnell each find a woman to fall in love with, they both think of getting married and settling down. And each wants to adopt Midge officially and raise her without the other "fathers". And Midge has to find some way for them to all become a family again. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


M-G-M's Big Hearted Drama With Songs




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Release Date:

25 March 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Big City  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although there was not a soundtrack album, MGM issued a 78-rpm boxed album featuring Betty Garrett (making her screen debut), along with recording artists Kate Smith (intoning her trademark "God Bless America," written by Irving Berlin), Art Lund and Hal McIntyre's Orchestra. From RCA Victor came two releases by cast members: a 78-rpm album by the illustrious soprano who had retired from the Metropolitan Opera, Lotte Lehmann (singing "God Bless America" in the movie and commercially for RCA Victor); and a single by The Page Cavanaugh Trio of "Ok'l Baby Dok'l" (music and lyrics by Inez James and Sidney Miller) - performed here without Betty Garrett, who shared the soundtrack version and then made her own studio cut with Hal Mooney and His Orchestra for MGM Records to include on its album and also issue as a single. See more »


God Bless America
Written by Irving Berlin
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User Reviews

Cute idea drowned by sentimentality
19 July 2011 | by (Upstate New York) – See all my reviews

BIG CITY (1948) has a cute set-up, about three men agreeing to raise a foundling as co-fathers. The movie is well-made, but it's just too sentimental for me to stomach. Child-star Margaret O'Brien is comfortable as always in front of the camera, but seems like she might be trying too hard to act, now that she's a few years older.

Everything is hunky dory until the fathers start competing for the same woman, and ultimately fighting for sole custody of their girl. Betty Garrett (in her screen debut) is a kind-hearted bar singer who inadvertently corrupts sweet little O'Brien with her cabaret act and big city lingo. Garrett weds George Murphy, seemingly the lesser of the three fathers (as a cop he's always on a beat), who decides they're more entitled to the girl than the others.

When everybody gets together to sing "God Bless America", it becomes clear what the message is. The judge speaks about The Great Experiment of uniting three men of different faiths to raise a child together. (Robert Preston is a reverend at a city mission, Danny Thomas is a cantor at the Jewish temple, George Murphy is an Irish policeman, and thereby assumed to be Roman Catholic.) Men of different faiths united together in a Great Experiment. It becomes some sort of patriotic metaphor for the good ol' United States. "God Bless America."

The movie is alright and has its fun moments, but there's too much of a "love thy neighbor", innocent-children-singing-in-one-voice, sugary- sweet, high moral sentimentality coating the proceedings. Men of *three faiths* raising a daughter together, then playing gentle music together in the parlor after dinner. What a wholesome family.

Not my cup of tea, I suppose. But it could be a winner for those less cynical than I. It has a sort of wholesome message for "people who like people". Betty Garrett does a fine job and fans of Margaret O'Brien would want to check this out.


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