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A wonderful story of a young woman caught between two worlds, what she wants
and what she needs. This has got to be one of the best stories of all time.
Ginger Rogers gives an outstanding performance of a young woman from the
wrong side of the tracks that stands up to society and makes her way on her
It is incredibly forward thinking for the time period and yet it deals with struggles that seem to be timeless.
I give it as many stars as can be given.
A love story, mostly drama, some comedy, set in the backdrop of Philadelphia main line society in the 1920s/1930s. Rogers is great as the working girl heroine- Kitty Foyle, but so is Morgan as the wealthy socialite, Wynn Stafford. Rogers won the Oscar for her role. I don't know why Morgan doesn't get more recognition for his role; he was always underrated. James Craig is perfect as the other man in the triangle- the earnest, struggling young doctor. A warm, romantic movie- the kind which is rarely made today.
This must have been the year for the City of Brotherly Love. James
Stewart wins his Academy Award for The Philadelphia Story and Ginger
Rogers who he was going out with at some point, wins Best Actress for
Kitty Foyle, a film also set in Philadelphia. Too bad neither the
Athletics or the Phillies won the World Series that year, but neither
of them came close.
Although Stage Door more than amply demonstrated Ginger Rogers's abilities at serious drama, this particular film cemented her as dramatic actress. Most of Ginger's films up to this point had been musicals, mostly with Fred Astaire. After Kitty Foyle she rarely did any musicals.
The story is told in flashback after Ginger engages in some dialog with her alter ego in the mirror. That one in the mirror is usually the one person you cannot fool. So the ego narrates the ups and downs of the life of Kitty Foyle.
Ginger's a working class Irish lass whose got two men going for her big time, young earnest doctor James Craig, and mainline millionaire heir Dennis Morgan. Morgan's family name is Stratton and no doubt the Strattons socialized with the Lords of The Philadelphia Story. But they're definitely not as fun a group.
Ginger's alter ego narration and her scene upon being told she suffered a miscarriage probably are what won her the Academy Award. She's very effective in those scenes and in her scene where her father, Ernest Cossart dies.
Kitty Foyle is good soap opera material, I'm surprised it's characters weren't used in one. It still holds up well after over 60 years.
As well as that other Philadelphia Story.
And not just because my name is kit. The chemistry between Ginger Rogers and Dennis Morgan is unlike any other screen romance I've ever seen. Total smolder city. Rogers mixes idealism and cynicism has stunningly as it can be done. Morgan nicely tightropes between strength and fecklessness. The supporting cast, in entirety, is magnificent. Just a tremendous movie. In fact, I just got inspiration -- following the recording of this review -- I will change my IMDB handle to kittyfoyle.
"Kitty Foyle" is a lush, expertly done example of the "women's films" that were popular in the 1940's and are so rare today. The rather simplistic plot focuses on Kitty's choice of sharing her life with either a married scion of a mainline family or an impoverished doctor, both of whom love her. Pure soap opera, but lovingly done, especially those luminous closeups. The device of having Kitty talk to her own conscience is rather hokey, but does provide for an interesting touch. The spark in the production is the admirably natural but spirited performance of Ginger Rogers in the title role. She perfectly fits the role of a working girl surviving on her wits and gumption, and really shines when telling off her rich, patronizing in-laws. See it for her, and for a somewhat dated but still intriguing view of the travails of independent women during the first half of the 20th century.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Oh, it's a good picture, but, well, it is just hairs away from being a
film. Actually, a lot of hairs. They're all small, individual problems, but
there are tons of 'em. Just some small changes in the script, ones that
wouldn't have been too difficult to make, and it could have been a
Ginger Rogers won an Academy Award for Best Actress for playing the title character, a Philadephian of a modest, Irish upbringing. Did she deserve it? I can't be fair in the matter. I'm totally in love with Ginger Rogers. However, in my opinion, this isn't one of her more memorable performances. She's good, to be sure, but I guess that she's not great for a melodramatic role. Basically, she won it because she died her trademark blonde locks red, akin to John Wayne wearing an eye patch in True Grit. Symbolically, that is, an actress who is perceived to play the same part time and time again went to a different genre. I hate to say that, because, as I said, I LOVE Rogers. I just worship her. I think it's horribly unfortunate that audiences, critics, and even actors themselves cannot accept comedic talent as equal to dramatic talent. I think that a comedic performer has a much, much more difficult job than his or her dramatic counterpart. Drama is easy in comparison. And who besides Ginger Rogers could dance like Ginger Rogers? Take a look at the musical actresses of the 1950s, to compare: Leslie Caron, Debbie Reynolds, Cyd Charisse. All great. I'd never say anything different. But they're no Ginger Rogers. They all let Gene Kelly do all the work (Jerry the mouse has more to do than they do), whereas Rogers "did everything that [Fred Astaire] did, except backwards and in high heels."
Everyone knows that Rogers was amazing in the RKO musicals of the 1930s. That's where you know Rogers from, and that's the direction from which I arrived at this film. However, I've seen at least one non-musical role that could be helpful here, very much so: Stage Door from 1937. It's about a boarding house for actresses, starring Katherine Hepburn, but there are many other great actresses involved, including Rogers, who is the second most important character in the film. She is enormously quick-witted in that film, sassy and brassy to the extreme, but she also has a lot of choice dramatic scenes in which she is great.
Let's talk about Kitty Foyle now. I love the structure: On the same day, Kitty's confronted by her two suitors, both proposing, Wynn, a Philadephia millionaire, and Mark, a doctor (yes, you read that right: Kitty has to suffer the pulls between a millionaire and a doctor, the poor thing). As she stands around trying to make her decision, she begins debating inwardly (actually, debating with her reflection in the mirror, which is pretty ingenious for the time). The whole film is constructed in flashbacks, a year before Citizen Kane. It also uses a snow globe symbolically, which is now getting spooky, a snow globe with a little girl on a sleigh in it. And it's an RKO film. I must be on to something! Were Welles and Mankiewicz making fun of this?
Onward. The film actually uses symbolism decently, but it can never solidify the abstractions that the symbolism raises satisfactorily. Flowers, a specific type of alcohol, perfume, presidential elections, children. They work metonymically, which means that we're reminded of a previous scene in which, say, that particular type of alcohol is ordered. Sometimes it works, often it doesn't. Maybe when it doesn't, it's because the script (by Dalton Trumbo, but it was also a novel first, which is probably the source of the symbolism) uses it too often.
The film's biggest problem is that it goes overboard with its melodrama too often. Scenes grow silly. Take the scene where Wynn, seeing Kitty for the first time in a long while, hires an orchestra to play until 5 AM so that they can dance alone (and not Astaire and Rogers dance, mind you!). If that weren't silly enough, when he is kicked out of the orchestra hall, he hires the orchestra to come to Kitty's appartment to play there! There's even a scene where Wynn has to argue with the hotel clerk about it, promising him that the orchestra won't wake anybody!
Another scene that should have been great but faltered is one where (SPOILERS) Kitty runs into Wynn's new wife and son (Kitty's own son by him was stillborn after she annulled their marriage). The son, who should be hers, forgets his toy and has to come back. Kitty has a conversation with him that should be enormously touching, but, for God's sake, is that kid a terrible actor! My Lord, he completely craps on the scene.
To make the film a bit harder to take, the rival for her love is despicable. In another cringeworthy scene, Kitty pushes the burglar alarm in the department store where she works instead of the stock call button (seriously, they're RIGHT NEXT to each other; whoever designed the system should be hit with a bat!). In order to avoid getting fired, a friend tells her to pretend to faint, something that I couldn't understand. The doctor who comes to help her is Mark, and he realizes that she is faking it (apparently he can tell why, too). He demands that she go out with him or he'll tell on her. When she refuses, he threatens (joking) that he'll prick her with a syringe if she doesn't agree. Jeeze, and some people have a problem at Fred Astaire's ploys to get Rogers! When he shows up for the date, he keeps her in her apartment, telling her he has no money to take her out. When he reveals that he was lying, the reason is because he wants to make sure his dates aren't gold-diggers. He must have seen Gold-Diggers of 1933, too, where Rogers sings "I'm into Money" with paper coins attached to her costume! Luckily, Mark has enough of what it takes to get along. 7/10.
While I still prefer a Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire film like TOP
HOT, this film is probably Ms. Rogers' best film because she is clearly
THE star and the film gives her a good chance to show her acting
ability. In fact, for this film she earned the Best Actress Oscar,
though I really think that perhaps both Bette Davis' performance in THE
LETTER and Katherine Hepburn's in PHILADELPHIA STORY were both a bit
better. Perhaps she won that year because KITTY FOYLE is a very
sentimental film or perhaps the other two actresses lost because they'd
both already received that award. Or, perhaps Hepburn and Davis drew
votes from each other. The bottom line, though, is Rogers is very good
and compared to her other films, this one really stands out--even after
all these years. My preferring the other performances in no way
diminishes the fine job she did here. At the time, her winning was
considered a big upset, though you can't deny all three performances
were superb. And you really cannot be upset about her being chosen--she
The film is a romance, though instead of being taught in the traditional linear fashion, it starts near the end and then is told in a long series of flashbacks. This really works well--especially because what you THINK Kitty is about to do at the beginning of the film isn't exactly what you might think. Additionally, these flashbacks are written and directed very deftly and so many little touches help to give this movie a heart. Especially touching were the ballroom dancing sequence with Dennis Morgan as well as the weepy section that soon follows. The bottom line is that this is a complex, well written and acted film that might require you keep a box of Kleenex nearby--just in case. See this movie!
The movie opens with a young woman, Kitty Foyle, assisting her
doctor-sweetheart in delivering a child in a ramshackle tenement. They are
a very compassionate pair. Afterwards he proposes marriage, she accepts and
agrees meet him at midnight to be immediately married by an all-night
Justice of the Peace. But while packing back at her hotel room, in pops an
old flame, a wealthy married man who Kitty still desperately loves. He
announces he has left his family and is leaving that night at midnight for
South America. He still loves her, and wants her to join him. Oh, Kitty,
what to do?
The remainder of the film is a series of flashbacks prompted by Kitty's image of herself in the mirror (i.e., her conscience) as it attempts to direct Kitty to the proper decision. Starting with her teenage years growing up working-class Irish in 1920s Philadelphia we learn how poor Kitty met and fell in love with a rich Mainline aristocat, and got herself in such a predicament.
Ms. Rogers won best actress for her role as Kitty, but the rest of the cast is no less deserving. A real movie treat.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film almost gets there, but not quite. It's an interesting portrait
a woman torn between two men, both of whom she ostensibly loves. Ginger
Rogers, in the title role, is enchanting as always, but the screenplay
up just a bit short in the end.
The problem is this: The entire picture focuses on Kitty's relationship with a rich Philadelphia aristocrat, and is very good at showing us why she should and shouldn't run away with him. On the other hand, we are left with very little on the other candidate -- a bare two or three scenes that give us very little of his character or personality.
In the end, the film seems to suggest that Kitty should choose the doctor for the simple reason that he's not the aristocrat. This despite the fact that she loves, passionately, the aristocrat, while she feels for the doctor, at best, a certain fondness. Despite Ginger Rogers's wonderful performance, I was ultimately unconvinced.
Ginger Rogers gives a good performance as "Kitty Foyle", making it worth
seeing even though the film is otherwise a mostly average production. The
story is worthwhile, but much of it is rather ordinary material, and it is
somewhat slow. The rest of the cast is good enough, but most of the time
does not come close to Rogers's level. There is nothing wrong with any of
it, but not much of it really stands out.
Kitty, the main character, must make a number of choices during the course of the story, and is forced to weigh her options and her priorities. Rogers is believable and generally effective in portraying Kitty's thoughts and personality. The others in her life are mostly likable, yet most of the time they do not come to life in the way that Kitty does. Fortunately, Ginger is able to carry the load.
Many of us would have loved to see more Astaire-Rogers musicals, but you can see why Ginger wanted a chance to perform more dramatic roles, to show what she could do. This movie as a whole is generally pleasant and always watchable, but nothing special, and a number of her musicals were certainly better films. Nevertheless, it did give her a chance to do something different, and she did it well.
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