17 user 2 critic

Big City (1948)

Margaret O’Brien sings, dances and keeps the faith in this heartwarming musical drama costarring Robert Preston, Danny Thomas and George Murphy.


Norman Taurog




Complete credited cast:
Margaret O'Brien ... Midge
Robert Preston ... Rev. Philip Y. Andrews
Danny Thomas ... Cantor David Irwin Feldman
George Murphy ... Patrick O'Donnell
Karin Booth ... Florence Bartlett
Edward Arnold ... Judge Martin O. Abercrombie
Jackie 'Butch' Jenkins ... Louis Keller (as Butch Jenkins)
Betty Garrett ... Shoo Shoo Grady
Lotte Lehmann ... Mama Feldman
Connie Gilchrist ... Martha - the Judge's Maid
Page Cavanaugh 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 Musical Drama of New York! See more »




See all certifications »

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 »


Referenced in The Killer That Stalked New York (1950) See more »


What'll I Do
Written by Irving Berlin
Performed by Danny Thomas
See more »

User Reviews

Some advice from King Solomon
12 June 2014 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

MGM's contribution to ecumenism and universal brotherhood post World War II came with this film Big City. The idea that a Protestant, Catholic, and a Jew combine to raise a child was certainly an intriguing one.

On his way home Cantor Danny Thomas finds an abandoned baby on the basement steps of his home. As it turns out Reverend Robert Preston and policeman George Murphy are on the scene as well and they're all friends. Thomas lives with his mother Lotte Lehmann. In one fell swoop with the blessing of Judge Edward Arnold the baby who grows up to be Margaret O'Brien gets three fathers and a grandmother.

But Judge Arnold made an interesting provision in deciding custody. Which ever of the men marries first there's a provision that he and his wife get sole custody. So Margaret who is now about 11 becomes the object of a legal battle when George Murphy decides to marry lounge singer Betty Garrett. Complicating things more is Preston and Thomas are both interested in Margaret's teacher Karin Booth.

Big City holds up well as a nice family film. I'm still not sure what the fuss was, despite the fact she sings in bars Garrett was a perfectly nice person. Still Arnold must have wished he could get some advice from King Solomon.

Big City is also a fine opportunity to see concert singer Lotte Lehman in one of her few film appearances. It's a good film for a family afternoon viewing.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 17 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

25 March 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Catherine (Unfinished Symphony) See more »


Box Office


$1,725,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed