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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:

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:

M-G-M's star-studded spectacle 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 »
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

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

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

Soundtracks

God Bless America
(uncredited)
Written by Irving Berlin
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User Reviews

 
Pleasant enough but could've been better
15 October 2016 | by utgard14See all my reviews

Well-intentioned anthology film from MGM that lacks a clear focus. It's a collection of short stories that don't seem to have any other point except, I suppose, that the United States is a melting pot and how swell that is. Absolutely nothing wrong with that idea but I feel like more effort could have been put into (a) writing better stories and (b) having the stories connect better to drive home the "we're all different but we're all together" theme. The best anthology films tend to connect their stories and this just doesn't do that well. Still, it's full of old stars and the stories themselves, while not the strongest, are enjoyable enough. Worth a look for classic film fans. Probably kryptonite to cynics.


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