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It's a Big Country: An American Anthology (1951)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama | 20 November 1951 (USA)
The story, told in eight episodes, covers different facets of the American Spirit, from racial and religious tolerance to the dangers of self-centeredness and myopic reasoning. The parables... See full summary »

Writers:

(story for picture), (screenplay: episode one) | 11 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Mrs. Brian Patrick Riordan
...
Sgt. Maxie Klein
...
Texas
...
Miss Coleman (as Nancy Davis)
...
Rev. Adam Burch
...
Icarus Xenophon
...
Rosa Szabo Xenophon
...
Mrs. Wrenley
...
Joe Esposito
...
Mr. Callaghan
...
Professor
...
Stefan Szabo
...
Church sexton
...
Mr. Stacey
...
Michael Fisher
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Storyline

The story, told in eight episodes, covers different facets of the American Spirit, from racial and religious tolerance to the dangers of self-centeredness and myopic reasoning. The parables represent a broad cross-section of the American experience: the elderly woman whose pride is injured when she's forgotten in the latest census; the novice minister more pleased with the sound of his own voice than with the needs of his congregation; the mother who confronts the illogic of racial intolerance when she meets the best friend of the son she lost to war; and the enigma that is Texas. Episode titles are: 1) Interruptions, Interruptions; 2) Census Taker; 3) Negro Story; 4) Rosika, the Rose; 5) Letter from Korea; 6) Lone Star; (7) Minister in Washington; 8) Four Eyes; a further episode, titled Load, directed by Anthony Mann, with 'Jean Hersholt' (q.v.) and 'Ann Harding' (q.v.), was filmed but deleted. Written by Chris Stone <jstone@bellatlantic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's a Great, Big, Wonderful Country And You're Part of It! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 November 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

It's a Big Country  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,013,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film did poorly at the box office, resulting in a loss for MGM of $677,000 ($6.3M in 2016) according to studio records. See more »

Goofs

When the census taker asks Ethel Barrymore her name, she replies "Mrs. Brian Patrick Riordan" and he writes it down. Always with censuses, a woman's given name is entered. See more »

Quotes

Rosa Szabo Xenophon: Marry me? You don't know anything about me.
Icarus Xenophon: You're a girl. You're pretty and you're modest. What else is there to know?
See more »

Connections

Edited into A Letter from a Soldier (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

God Bless America
(uncredited)
Written by Irving Berlin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
It's a banal country
29 June 2017 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Expensive and all-star and in production for most of 1950 and 51, this MGM anthology reflects what patriotism looked like in the Cold War era, and uncertainly jumbled together comic and dramatic episodes. A couple just pass muster: There's one where Ethel Barrymore is a sad Boston matron dismayed to learn she hasn't been counted in the census, and in another, Marjorie Main is excellent as a grieving mother visited by her dead son's war buddy. Most of the stories just aren't interesting, and there's some amazing miscasting: Gene Kelly as a Greek entrepreneur making goo-goo eyes at Janet Leigh (and S.Z. Sakall rattling his cheeks as her father), Fredric March (in a rare bad performance) as a stupid Italian immigrant arguing with schoolteacher Nancy Davis over whether his son should have eyeglasses, Gary Cooper over-drawling as a Texan mis-explaining the Lone Star State. There's a welcome but perfunctory documentary about great African Americans, and William Powell is elegant in the opening segment. There's also a lot of narration, and if I'm not mistaken, it's Louis Calhern. It was understandable that MGM wanted to celebrate America in the early '50s, but couldn't they have come up with some better plots?


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