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.
This film made its initial USA telecast in Los Angeles Tuesday 4 December 1956 on KTTV (Channel 11), followed by Minneapolis Sunday 13 January 1957 on KMGM (Channel 9) and by Philadelphia Sunday 24 February 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6); its Chicago it first aired 21 September 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2) and in San Francisco 12 January 1958 on KGO (Channel 7); its earliest documented telecast in New York City took place Friday 8 January 1960 on WCBS (Channel 2).
Working titles of the film included Catherine (Unfinished Symphany) , Brothers of the East Side and Home Is Where the Heart Is . Jul 1947 HR news items indicate that producer Joe Pasternak purchased the rights to Miklos Laszlo's story in 1937. Information in the file on the film in the M-G-M Script Collection at the AMPAS library indicates that the initial script was based on a story, or possibly an unpublished novel, by Laszlo entitled "Catherine (Unfinished Sympathy)." Script materials also indicate that in 1942, "Brothers of the East Side," the title of Nanette Kutner's treatment, was submitted, based on an idea by Pasternak. Several treatments and outlines were written over the course of the next four years, variously titled "Brothers of the East Side," "Catherine" and "Home Is Where the Heart Is." Additional writers who worked on these treatments included Charles Larson and Warner Law, but the extent of their contributions to the completed film has not been determined. A Feb 1947 HR news item noted that actor Van Heflin was "pencilled in" for the part played by Robert Preston. A Jul 1947 news item indicated that M-G-M writer Leslie Kardos was set to make his directorial debut with this film. The picture marked the screen debut of Broadway actress Betty Garrett and opera star Lotte Lehmann. Although a Nov 1947 M-G-M News item noted that former Keystone Kop players Hank Mann and Heinie Conklin appear in the film as police officers, they actually played "drunks." According to a 1953 HCN article, writer Walter Abbott received a "very good settlement" from M-G-M following his $100,000 plagiarism suit against the company. Abbott claimed in the suit that the studio based Big City on his story entitled "Choir Boy." (AFI)