Best of… Series – 1937 – Big City

Big City (Frank Borzage, 1937)

Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived. –Galatians 6:2-3

So how does a film so rich in its presentation of a loving marriage and a selfless community not become one of my favorite films? By leaving a sour taste in my mouth with an absurd ending. (I won’t get into this; if you’ve seen the movie and you know my tastes, this won’t surprise you.) But to focus on the positives – the opening sequence of loving flirtatious exchanges between a man and his wife, starting on the streets of the big city followed all the way back to the couple’s humble apartment was about as much fun as you’ll see a married couple have in a movie. It was a breath of fresh air especially considering the way Borzage applies the realism of the ‘new love’ relationships of many of his other films to this seasoned love. And he follows it up with as refreshing a presentation of a surrounding community as you’ll see. Friends, family, and co-workers gather for celebrations, to discuss troubles, and to fight for and protect one another. I don’t know if this was exaggerated or just a product of the time period, but it was heartening. Perhaps Borzage fills this up with too much heart to where the film’s dangers never feel as dangerous as you’d think, but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that people can be good.  7.75/10

big city

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