I just watched a documentary about William Castle and they didn’t even mention this movie.
IT’S A SMALL WORLD (1950) was released at a time when Hollywood, its ranks thinned by Red Scare paranoia, was arguing for greater social tolerance in American society. Films such as CROSSFIRE (1947), GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT (1947), THE SNAKE PIT (1948), and HOME OF THE BRAVE (1949) chronicled the lives of “outsider” protagonists and stumped for the acceptance of people of different races and faiths, as well as for those suffering from the stigma of mental illness.
Seemingly taking his cue (at least in part) from Tod Browning’s notorious pre-Code shocker FREAKS (1932), Castle (and cowriter Otto Schreiber – a possible pseudonym that is the name as well of an infamous German anarchist who died in a British prison in 1917) tells the tale of a dwarf (Paul Dale) who, having been raised in isolation by a well-meaning but unenlightened father (blacklisted actor Will Geer), strikes out at last on his own – only to be seduced by the seeming affections of a woman of conventional size (Lorraine Miller) and inducted into a gang of pickpockets (captained by Steve Brodie).
PS: I commented on “Red Scare paranoia” in the comments.