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It's a Big Country

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Subject: A Girl Named Tamiko, Fast Company (1953 film), The Girl in White, Kind Lady (1951 film), Chino (film)
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It's a Big Country

It's a Big Country
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Clarence Brown
John Sturges
Richard Thorpe
Charles Vidor
Don Weis
William A. Wellman
Produced by Robert Sisk
Written by Edgar Brooke
Ray Chordes
Claudia Cranston
Helen Deutsch
Dorothy Kingsley
Isobel Lennart
William Ludwig
John McNulty
Charles Palmer
Joseph Petracca
Dore Schary
George Wells
Starring Ethel Barrymore
Gary Cooper
Van Johnson
Gene Kelly
Janet Leigh
Marjorie Main
Fredric March
George Murphy
William Powell
James Whitmore
Cinematography John Alton
Ray June
William C. Mellor
Joseph Ruttenberg
Edited by Ben Lewis
Fredrick Y. Smith
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • November 20, 1951 (1951-11-20)
Running time 89 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,013,000[1][2]
Box office $655,000[1]

It's a Big Country is a 1951 anthology film directed by 6 directors: Clarence Brown, John Sturges, Richard Thorpe, Charles Vidor, Don Weis, and William A. Wellman.


A professor traveling on a train overhears a fellow passenger make a comment about "America". The professor then asks: "Which America?" This provides a lead-in for multiple tales of American life. There is the tale of Mrs. Riordan, an elderly lady from Boston. She is upset about not having being counted in the 1950 census. She asks a newspaper editor named Callaghan to intervene on her behalf, and he makes the mistake of not taking her seriously.

There is the story of a Hungarian immigrant named Stefan Szabo who is in the business of selling paprika. He has several daughters and does not want them to marry men of other nationalities. Rosa falls in love with Icarus, who is Greek, and must overcome her father's objections. There is the tale of Maxie Klein, a young Jewish man. He looks up the mother of a young man who died in the war. The mother is not sure what to make of Maxie because her son mentioned no Jewish friend, but ends up touched by his visit. So many tall tales about Texas exist that a tall Texan man takes it upon himself to separate the fact from the fiction.

Adam Burch, a minister in Washington, D.C., whose parishioners include the President of the United States, sometimes tailors his sermons specifically for the President, only to learn later that the President was unable to attend services that day. Scolded to speak for all rather than to one, Rev. Burch gives the sermon of his life, then learns to his surprise that the President was present on that day and heard every word. Miss Coleman, a school teacher in San Francisco, discovers that her pupil Joey needs glasses. However, Joey's father, Mr. Esposito, believes they are not necessary and will only bring Joey ridicule from his peers. In the end, it is the father who learns an important lesson.



According to MGM records the film earned $526,000 in the US and Canada and $129,000 elsewhere, resulting in a loss to the studio of $677,000.[1]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles, CA: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ Glenn Lovell, Escape Artist: The Life and Films of John Sturges, University of Wisconsin Press, 2008, p. 60

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