May 9, 2009

Its a Big Country

The picture above shows Ethel Barrymore in It’s a Big Country. This is a compilation of 8 stories about America. Since it was done in 1951, it’s a patriotic movie. One story, or segment, consists of footage of various black figures including Benjamin O. Davis, Senior, and Junior. Another story, featuring S.Z. Sakall and Gene Kelly is a comedic treatment of the Romeo and Juliet story. Juliet’s father, Sakall, is a Hungarian with a prejudice against Greeks. Romeo, Kelly, is a Greek. Unlike Shakespeare’s plot there is no poison and no knife, though there is a secret marriage.

Ultimately many of the stories deal with diversity, but in a non-multiculti way. E pluribus unum, after all means “out of many one,” not anything else.

It doesn’t seem to available at Amazon, but you can probably catch it on TCM sometime.