Kitty Foyle (1940)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Though Ginger Rogers' starring vehicles always turned a profit for RKO Radio, many filmgoers thought of Rogers only in terms of "Fred Astaire's partner." Others considered her a delightful comedienne, but no great shakes as a dramatic actress. Thus it was both a personal and professional triumph when Ms. Rogers walked home with an Oscar for her performance in Kitty Foyle. Based on Christopher Morley's Story of an American Girl, the film, told in flashback, relates the progress of working-girl Kitty Foyle (Ginger Rogers) as she pursues her Cinderella dreams. While employed at a department store, Kitty is wooed by Dennis Morgan, scion of a wealthy Philadelphia family. She flirts with the notion of marrying Morgan for his money, but decides that he's a bit too weak-willed for her tastes. Kitty enters into a romance with poor-but-dedicated doctor James Craig, then does an about-face by accepting Morgan's proposal. She quickly runs afoul of Morgan's snobbish family, who are so tightly bound by centuries-old tradition that Kitty is moved to exclaim "You mean to say you let all those dead people tell you what do?" She walks out on Morgan, then discovers that she's pregnant. Even after the trauma of delivering a stillborn child, Kitty is too proud to go back to Morgan. When true-blue Craig comes back into her life, Kitty, repeating her favorite phrase "By Judas Priest!", decides to forego money for love. Though successful to the tune of an $860,000 profit in 1940, Kitty Foyle seems stilted and over-rehearsed when seen today, save for the refreshing spontaneity of Ginger Rogers' performance. The film's best scene is the opening montage of the American Woman's "progress" once she enters the workplace (an uncredited Heather Angel is the central character in this delightful pantomimic vignette). Featured in the cast of Kitty Foyle is director Sam Wood's daughter Katherine Stevens, better known as K.T. Stevens. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Classics , Drama , Romance
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Ginger Rogers
as Kitty Foyle
Dennis Morgan
as Wynnewood "Wyn" Strafford VI
James Craig
as Dr. Mark Eisen
Gladys Cooper
as Mrs. Strafford
Odette Myrtil
as Delphine Detaille
Walter Kingsford
as Mr. Kennett
Cecil Cunningham
as Grandmother
Nella Walker
as Aunt Jessica
Edward Fielding
as Uncle Edgar
Kay Linaker
as Wyn's Wife
Richard Nichols
as Wyn's Boy
Florence Bates
as Customer
Heather Angel
as Girl in Prologue
Tyler Brooke
as Boy in Prologue
Hattie Noel
as Black Woman
Frank Milan
as Parry
Harriet Brandon
as Miss Bala
Billy Elmer
as Neway
Walter Sande
as Trumpeter
Ray Teal
as Saxophonist
Joey Ray
as Drummer
Mel Ruick
as Bandleader/Violinist
Doodles Weaver
as Pianist
Theodore von Eltz
as Hotel Clerk
Max Davidson
as Flower Man
Mary Gordon
as Charwoman
Fay Helm
as Prim Girl
Helen Lynd
as Girl in Elevator
Dorothy Vaughan
as Charwoman
Mimi Doyle
as Jane
Frank Mills
as Taxi Driver
Joe Bernard
as Waiter
Tom Herbert
as Waiter
Julie Carter
as Girl in Elevator No. 2
Renee Haal
as Shopgirl in Elevator
Mary Currier
as Clerk at Delphine's
Brooks Benedict
as Speakeasy Patron
Tom Quinn
as Speakeasy/Night Club Patron
Harriett Brandon
as Miss Bala
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Critic Reviews for Kitty Foyle

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3)

he sharpness and contemporary significance of Mr. Morley's commentary are missing. His Kitty was of real flesh and blood; this one is persuasive but fictitious.

Full Review… | January 31, 2012
New York Times
Top Critic

Sam Wood, the El Supremo of Hollywood hackdom, squired this one to glory.

Full Review… | January 31, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Despite its episodic, and at times, vaguely-defined motivation, picture on whole is a poignant and dramatic portraiture of a typical Cinderella girl's love story.

Full Review… | January 31, 2012
Top Critic

Working woman comes into conflict with the upper class. More relevant than ever in the age of income inequality and the 1%.

Full Review… | December 30, 2014
Classic Film and Television

Although the movie is unashamedly a soppy chick flick, it's impossible not to be swept along by her romantic dilemmas.

Full Review… | January 31, 2012

A minor classic and a very typical "woman's picture" of its day.

Full Review… | January 31, 2012
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for Kitty Foyle

For a romance, this film is not nearly as predictable; it also has an even blend of comedy and drama. Ginger Rogers shines and the musical selections fit perfectly. However, the film does have its faults. The acting is "below-par", with Kitty's Irish-stereotype father, Tom, and Wyn, the Philadelphia magazine owner with a Midwestern accent. What the film preaches is that the women should know their place, even if they are "free, white and 21," as the film puts it. They cannot know true love (women's idiocy) and they NEED a man to lead them. Classist, sexist, and bigoted. Sure it is a product of its time, but Judas Priest, how outdated!

Joseph Brown
Joseph Brown

GInger Rogers is okay here on her own and away from Fred Astaire. I can't say it is particularly memorable however. Call it an early version of the chick flick.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

I worked backstage on a stage musical about the life of Ginger Rogers. This movie and the Oscar Ginger won for playing Kitty Foyle was shown as the crowning achievement of her career. I had seen this years ago when I was in college as part of my Oscar winning film list. I remembered that Ginger (at nearly 30) plays Kitty at many ages. I thought I remembered a scene in this movie when Ginger is playing Kitty as a little girl, she climbs into an over sized arm chair, and kicks her dangling legs. My wife and I with a couple friends just watched a video of Kitty Foyle and that scene did not appear. What movie was I confusing this movie with? Kitty is dating a simple working class doctor. Then an old boyfriend who she thought was gone from her life for good finds her again. They both ask her to meet them later to run off and start a new life together. She begins packing and finds a snow globe. Kitty's conscience talks back to her from the hotel dresser mirror and encourages her to think carefully through her past in order to chose the right guy. Through the snow globe we see a teenage Kitty fascinated by the Chicago social elite. When she returns home (the snow globe belongs to her father), her pop tries to tell her about her proud Irish working class roots and how the aristocratic class would never accept her. Kitty's pop (Ernest Cossart) is a witty rascal who has a lot of great lines. We see Kitty grow up and fall for Wyn Strafford one of the Chicago social elite who is trying to run his own magazine until the capitol that his family provided runs out. Her relationship with Wynn is complicated and she heads to New York on her own. There, while working as a perfume sales girl, she reluctantly meets the doctor Mark. Ginger Rogers shines without singing or dancing. The script, which flashes back and skips through time, seems very mature and a bit ahead of its time. Plus there are many genuine laughs. Kitty is quite a modern woman and the ending is satisfying. If the play I worked on is to be believed, even though she was not credited in the role, Ginger had quite a bit of artistic control over this movie and she made sure the story and the characters were believable.

Byron Brubaker
Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer

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