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

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:

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

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ethel Barrymore ... Mrs. Brian Patrick Riordan
Keefe Brasselle ... Sgt. Maxie Klein
Gary Cooper ... Texas
Nancy Reagan ... Miss Coleman (as Nancy Davis)
Van Johnson ... Rev. Adam Burch
Gene Kelly ... Icarus Xenophon
Janet Leigh ... Rosa Szabo
Marjorie Main ... Mrs. Wrenley
Fredric March ... Joe Esposito
George Murphy ... Mr. Callaghan
William Powell ... Professor
S.Z. Sakall ... Stefan Szabo
Lewis Stone ... Church Sexton
James Whitmore ... Mr. Stacey
Keenan Wynn ... 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:

YOU'RE in this picture with the girl you love - and the kids on the street corner - and the guy next door! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hungarian | Italian

Release Date:

20 November 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

It's a Big Country See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,013,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
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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

The St. Thomas Episcopal Church in the film is located at 18th and Church Streets near DuPont Circle in NW Washington, DC. Completed in 1899 it was largely destroyed by an arson fire in 1970. 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

Featured in The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Story (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
But it's a WASP-y collection of actors
7 May 2009 | by benjweilSee all my reviews

This movie seems like a good idea -- debunking myths and defusing prejudice, showing us all how diverse America is -- but it also begs the question of why nearly all the main characters are WASPs (okay, except for S.Z. Sakall)! Janet Leigh is lovely in the Hungarian-Greek love story, but why not cast someone Hungarian, or at least Eastern European? And Gene Kelly as a Greek (speaking, by the way, with a perfect American accent, but a few stiff phrases thrown in to show he's a foreigner)? Fredric March as an Italian father (named Esposito?) ... and the list goes on. All wonderful actors, but miscast in this. Not only are all the actors as white as snow, the rhetoric is pretty heavy-handed, too. I love many of the old Hollywood movies, but this one could have used a more realistic approach. The '50s were a strange time in American film, as in American life. Everything and everybody were supposed to be sparklingly clean and chipper all the time. We had to wait until the '60s for a wrench to be thrown into those oh-so-smoothly-functioning works ...


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