6.5/10
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17 user 4 critic

Big City (1937)

Passed | | Drama | 3 September 1937 (USA)
To avoid a taxi war, city officials blame a gang bombing on driver Joe Benton's wife Anna and put her on a ship to deport her. The mayor is speaker at a boxers' banquet where Joe pleads for... See full summary »

Directors:

Frank Borzage, George B. Seitz (uncredited)

Writers:

Dore Schary (screen play), Hugo Butler (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Luise Rainer ... Anna Benton
Spencer Tracy ... Joe Benton
Charley Grapewin ... The Mayor
Janet Beecher ... Sophie Sloane
Eddie Quillan ... Mike Edwards
Victor Varconi ... Paul Roya
Oscar O'Shea ... John C. Andrews
Helen Troy ... Lola Johnson
William Demarest ... Beecher
John Arledge ... Buddy
Irving Bacon ... Jim Sloane
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ... Danny Devlin (as Guinn Williams)
Regis Toomey ... Fred Hawkins
Edgar Dearing ... Tom Reilley
Paul Harvey ... District Attorney Gilbert
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Storyline

To avoid a taxi war, city officials blame a gang bombing on driver Joe Benton's wife Anna and put her on a ship to deport her. The mayor is speaker at a boxers' banquet where Joe pleads for them to go with him to the wharf and rescue Anna (about to deliver their baby) from the ship. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

taxi | rescue | murder | banquet | mayor | See All (28) »

Taglines:

So much of happiness and heart-break...drama and romance...set to the tune of a big city...glorified by two great stars...it will bring glowing memories for years to come! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 September 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Skyscraper Wilderness See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$621,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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 was a success at the box office, earning MGM a profit of $462,000 ($8.33M in 2019) according to studio records. See more »

Goofs

Although the film is set in New York City, in one of the shots of the cars racing to the ship, a car is shown on Vine St. in Hollywood, passing a Schwab's drug store and the offices of the Hollywood Citizen-News newspaper. The group of Comet cabs are subsequently shown on the same street. See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Night at the Movies (1937) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cavalcade of Schmaltz
12 January 2006 | by sol-kaySee all my reviews

(There are Spoilers) Strange movie featuring two double Acadamy Award winner, for best actor & actress, as it's top stars.

New York cabbie John Benton, Spencer Tracy,is having such a wild and crazy time with his Russian born wife Anna, Luise Rainer, that at first you don't realize that the movie "Big City" is actually a crime drama not a light screwball 1930's type comedy.Later we see that there's a taxi war going on between the independent cab drivers, which Joe is a member of, and the Comet Taxi company that turns deadly. Anna's brother Paul, Victor Varccni, goes to work for Comet and at a birthday party she gives his friend Buddy, John Arledge,a raincoat to leave at the Comet Taxi garage for him. Not knowing that Beecher, William Demarest, who's the head of security for Comet is planing to start a war between the two rival taxi groups, the independent and Comet in order to justify his job, by having the garage blown up that evening. What happens is that after Buddy leaves the package with the raincoat Paul shows up to pick up his cab and the bomb goes off and Paul's killed by the night watchman, Paul Fix, who's also working for the sleazy Beecher. With Buddy now in hot water for leaving the package, that is mistakenly described as a bomb, Anna is the prime suspect in her brothers murder and the independent cab drivers, like her husband Joe, are seen as accomplices in the crime since they were at odds, or at war, with the Comet Taxi Company.

At Paul's funeral Anna, who's there in black grieving for him, is on the verge of getting arrested and deported back to Russia, or the Soviet Union, for "her part" in Paul's murder and the bombing of the taxi garage. The independent cabbies outraged at this injustce keep the police and immigration agents at bay as Anna is slipped out of the church and into hiding.

In what seems like a shell, or Three Card Monte, game Joe and his cabbie friends keep the police and immigration agents away from Anna as almost all the independent, some 40 of them, divers are held as accessories to her escaping from the arms of the law. As all this is going on Anna, who's very pregnant, now sick and tired off all the trouble she's caused by being on the lamb decides to give herself up for a crime, the bombing of the Comet garage and the murder of her brother Paul, that she had nothing to do with. later Buddy, Anna and Paul's friend, decides to take out insurance by leaving a letter to the District Attorney, implicating Beecher for the bombing if Beecher tries to have him knocked off in order to keep his mouth shut for good.

Joe together with fellow cabbie Mike, Eddie Quillian,getting the letter implicating Beecher and his hoods for Paul's death rushes to a boxing event that the mayor, Charley Grapewin, is attending to get him to stop the ship from leaving New York Harbor, for the Soviet Union, with Anna on it.

Wild ending with the mayor and a couple of car load of professional boxers including Jack Dempsey James J. Jeffres Man Mountain Dean, and even Olympic legend Jim Thorpe, wading into a battle with the Comet Taxi drivers. The drivers together with Beecher and his hoods, came to the docks to have it out with Joe & Co. as the mayor and his DA and top aids watch and enjoy the action with the cops, called to put an end to all this ruckus, stuck in heavy midtown traffic. In the middle of all this action poor Anna is in an ambulance giving birth, surprise it's a boy, and the baby is later christened with every boy's name ,from A to Z, in the book to make sure that no one's left out.


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