Despite MGM's insistence that star Gene Kelly, just returning from military service in 1947, appear exclusively in big-budget Technicolor musicals, maverick director Gregory La Cava showcased Kelly in the modest black and white tunefest Living in a Big Way. Kelly is cast as an ex-GI who discovers that his wealthy war bride (Marie McDonald) is an insufferable snob. Flying in the face of his in-laws, Kelly insists upon using his wife's money to open a charity home for the families of those soldiers who didn't come back. Kelly's major musical number, which takes place during the building of his dream home, is a bizarre ballet utilizing such props as ladders and two-by-fours. Living In a Big Way turned out to be the flop that MGM had predicted, but the film was impressive enough to win La Cava the coveted directorial post for Mary Pickford Productions' One Touch of Venus.