6.6/10
191
16 user 2 critic

Big City (1948)

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 »

Director:

Norman Taurog
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Cast

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 Lotte Lehmann ... Mama Feldman
Connie Gilchrist ... Martha - the Judge's Maid
Page Cavanaugh Page Cavanaugh ... Trio Leader (as Page Cavanaugh Trio)
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Excitement from Dusk to Dawn! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 March 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Catherine (Unfinished Symphony) See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In July of 1947 the "Hollywood Reporter' 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the MGM Script Collection at the AMPAS library indicates that the initial script was based on a story, or possibly an unpublished novel, by Laszlo entitled "Catherine (Unfinished Sympathy)."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 "Hollywood Reporer' news item noted that Van Heflin was "pencilled in" for the part played by Robert Preston. A Jul 1947 news item indicated that MGM 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 MGM 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 "Hollywood Citizen News" article, writer Walter Abbott received a "very good settlement" from MGM 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." See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Kol Nidre
Traditional
Performed by Danny Thomas
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A well done Social Drama applicable to 1948 and to today...
26 January 2005 | by thesommersSee all my reviews

Synopsis:

As the film opens, three men, all of whom live in the same neighborhood but have differing religious and social circles, come across an abandoned infant in a basket at the steps to one of the men's apartment building...

This film, whose alternate title could have been 'Three Men and a Baby', deals with the commonalities of the Jew, the Catholic and the Protestant as they work for the common good of this baby girl. The cast is rounded out by a sweet, if not stereotypical, Jewish 'grandmother', a benevolent judge and a couple of 'love interests'.

After the initial introduction of the characters, we are left to assume that all goes well for some 10-12 years where the film picks up on the co-mingled lives of the odd family and some of the challenges faced by Midge, the infant now turned lady-beyond-her-years, in the classroom, and by her adoptive fathers in their courtships. It includes many of the aspects of today's 'reality television' shows, including 'alliances', differing moral values, and competition among participants.

Social Impact:

The movie deals nicely, if not superficially and somewhat predictably, with the issues of finding common ground to base friendships on, rather than differences upon which to build enmity.

Recommendation:

This film is timely for 1948 and for today in a world where religious differences seem to be playing a vital role in public opinion.

I recommend this film for its cinematography (B&W) and for its ability to remind the viewer that there are things worth working together for, especially the future we build for our children.


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