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Big City
     

The Big City

Director: Norman Taurog, Margaret O'Brien, Robert Preston, Danny Thomas

Cast: Norman Taurog, Margaret O'Brien, Robert Preston, Danny Thomas

 
MGM's all-purpose title The Big City was deployed once more for this treacly 1948 drama. To prevent orphaned Midge (Margaret O'Brien) from being sent to an institution, Protestant minister Andrews (Robert Preston), Jewish cantor Feldman (Danny Thomas) and Catholic cop Patrick O'Donnell (George Murphy) jointly "adopt" the girl. Midge grows up in Feldman's home,

Overview

MGM's all-purpose title The Big City was deployed once more for this treacly 1948 drama. To prevent orphaned Midge (Margaret O'Brien) from being sent to an institution, Protestant minister Andrews (Robert Preston), Jewish cantor Feldman (Danny Thomas) and Catholic cop Patrick O'Donnell (George Murphy) jointly "adopt" the girl. Midge grows up in Feldman's home, and all is rosy until O'Donnell, on the verge of marrying funloving "Shoe-Shoe" Bailey (Betty Garrett in her film debut), announces that he wants to take full custody of the child. It's up to Midge herself, with the help of kindly Judge Abercrombie (Edward Arnold), to sort things out. Meanwhile, the Reverend Andrews finds romance in the shapely form of Florence Bartlett (Karin Booth). Though it's hard to forget that Danny Thomas was one of show business' most prominent Catholics, he delivers a convincing performance as the tune-happy Cantor Feldman, at one point foregoing his usual Kol Nidres in favor of a rousing cowboy song!

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The casting and the musical numbers are the strengths of The Big City, a maudlin little melodrama that would otherwise not be worth watching. Oh, City is certainly well-intentioned and carries a message of understanding, tolerance and cooperation that is entirely laudable. But it wraps that message up in a story that is trite, sticky, excessively sentimental and quite manipulative. There are individual scenes that work, but on the whole the screenplay is a liability. Fortunately, Margaret O'Brien, almost a teen-ager, is still young enough to make this mess work, aided immeasurably by the likes of Robert Preston, George Murphy and Danny Thomas. This three men and their little lady provide enough charisma and personality to make up for most of the script's failings; and what they can't overcome, Betty Garrett, in her film debut, can. Throw is some invaluable assistance from Edward Arnold and Karin Booth and bits by Connie Gilchrist and Butch Jenkins and City becomes surprisingly entertaining -- especially when the screenplay gets out of the way and lets the players engage in some nifty singing and stepping.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/03/2012
UPC:
0883316481615
Original Release:
1948
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Region Code:
0
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:43:00
Sales rank:
43,153

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Margaret O'Brien Midge
Robert Preston Rev. Phillip A. Andrews
Danny Thomas Cantor David Irwin Feldman
George Murphy Patrick O'Donnell
Karin [Katharine] Booth Florence Bartlett
Edward Arnold Judge Martin O. Abercrombie
Betty Garrett Miss Grady
Connie Gilchrist Martha, Abercrombie Maid
Page Cavanaugh Trio Themselves
George Davis Flower Seller
David Leonard Waiter
Butch Jenkins Lewis Keller
Lotte Lehmann 'Mama' Feldman

Technical Credits
Norman Taurog Director
Preston Ames Art Director
Irving Berlin Songwriter
Anne Morrison Chapin Screenwriter
Whitfield Cook Screenwriter
Jack Dawn Makeup
Stanley Donen Choreography
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Inez James Songwriter
Aben Kandel Screenwriter
Jimmy McHugh Songwriter
Sidney Miller Songwriter
Ann Morrison Screenwriter
Joe Pasternak Producer
Walter Popp Songwriter
Helen Rose Costumes/Costume Designer
Gene Ruggiero Editor
Jerry Seelen Songwriter
Alfred E. Spencer Set Decoration/Design
Fred Spieian Songwriter
George Stoll Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Robert Surtees Cinematographer
Janice Torre Songwriter
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

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