So Big

  • 1932
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

This, the third version of Edna Ferber's Pulitzer Prize novel, was not so big at all, either at the box office or with the critics. First filmed as a silent in 1925 starring Colleen Moore, it was done as a short in 1930, as directed by Bryan Foy, starring Helen Jerome Eddy, John Litel, Gardner James, and Marian Marsh. This very short picture seems long...read more

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This, the third version of Edna Ferber's Pulitzer Prize novel, was not so big at all, either at the box office or with the critics. First filmed as a silent in 1925 starring Colleen Moore, it was done as a short in 1930, as directed by Bryan Foy, starring Helen Jerome Eddy, John Litel,

Gardner James, and Marian Marsh. This very short picture seems long as they attempt to portray many years in the life of Stanwyck et al, and fail. O'Day is the young daughter of gambler Warwick, who sends her to a fancy school. She grows up to be Stanwyck, and when Warwick dies without a cent in

his trousers, she is out in the cold. Madison's father, Kibbee, enlisted to help, finds Stanwyck a job teaching school in a community of Dutch farmers in Illinois just after the turn of the century. She tutors Winslow (who grew up to be a popular entertainer in Los Angeles and, in the 1980s, was

still performing as a one-man band) while living as a boarder in Hale's family home. Eventually, she marries older farmer Foxe, who spends much of his time tilling the old-fashioned way, refusing to make any adjustment to modern methods. Foxe's hard work kills him, and Stanwyck is left with a

young son, Moore, whom she loves and measures daily as the boy grows "so big." Moore grows into Albright and Winslow matures into Brent. Stanwyck wants Albright to study to be an architect but he disappoints her by preferring to hawk stocks and bonds after quitting a job as an architect in

training. Albright's boss' wife, La Roy, arranges the job for him, as she is fascinated by the youth. Meanwhile, Brent becomes a well known artist-sculptor and when he comes back to the small town after setting Europe on its ear with his creations, he tells Stanwyck that his success is all due to

her tutoring, as she exerted the greatest influence on him while he was growing up, and that he couldn't have done any of his wrok without her as his mentor. Stanwyck is thrilled at this and even happier when her son, Albright, comes to her house with a new amour, Davis, in tow. She is an artist

and doesn't much respect Albright at first, but when she meets Stanwyck, she sees that Albright comes from good stock and that he may eventually come to his senses and return to the world of architecture. Stanwyck and Brent become very affectionate toward each other, even though she's older. This

was the only film in which Stanwyck and Davis appeared in the same scenes. Although they did play in another movie together, HOLLYWOOD CANTEEN, they were never on screen at the same time. Irish-born Brent, a one-time IRA member, had been playing on the stage for years and was now appearing in his

seventh film. In just two years, Davis had made eight films and did well in this, one of her larger roles since her first movie, BAD SISTER. The major trouble with this version of SO BIG was that so much action and material were jammed into the brief running time that there was no opportunity to

flesh out the characters. A somewhat more successful version was attempted in 1953, with Jane Wyman and Nancy Olson in the Stanwyck and Davis roles.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This, the third version of Edna Ferber's Pulitzer Prize novel, was not so big at all, either at the box office or with the critics. First filmed as a silent in 1925 starring Colleen Moore, it was done as a short in 1930, as directed by Bryan Foy, starring… (more)

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