[box cover]

Kitty Foyle

Actors constantly chase respectability, and there is no greater measure of unearned class for a star or starlet than taking the bald man home come Oscar night. Alas, typically the pictures that artists are given the gold for offer little reflection of their talents — it's usually stunt-casting gone right, and all too often some of the least interesting work of their careers (think Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman). That's not to say Ginger Rogers is bad per se in Kitty Foyle (1940) — in the modern vernacular, it's better to hate the game than the player here. And Rogers is fine in the role that got her the best actress nod. It's just that the film has aged in a way that's not applicable to her still-peerless work with Fred Astaire in their run of musicals. By comparison, Kitty Foyle plays to the worst instincts of the "woman's picture" — when that phrase meant that the worst thing a woman had to worry about was which man she would marry. Rogers stars as the titular Foyle, a woman torn between two men. The first is a rich playboy named Wynnewood Strafford VI (Dennis Morgan), who romances Kitty on his schedule, while Dr. Mark Eisen (James Craig) is the caring, good-natured doctor who eschews money for taking care of sick children. Director Sam Wood's film then follows Kitty as she bounces from one man to the other, fighting Wyn's family to retain her autonomy and then finding that he married someone else, while the doctor waits in the wings, and waits, and waits… and waits. Rogers is an involving screen persona, and her foibles here are engaging enough for what amounts to soap opera material. But, as is often the case with award-winning titles seen a couple of years later, it now appears to be a superficially important and out of date movie — but not so antiquated to feel like it's discussing an extinct culture. Sam Wood, a modestly talented director who is best remembered for directing the Marx Brothers in A Night at the Opera, dutifully directs the piece, which is all over quickly enough. Warner Home Video presents Kitty Foyle in a good full-frame transfer (1.33:1 OAR) and DD 1.0 audio. Extras include the Tom and Jerry cartoon "Kitty Foiled" (7 min.), the Tex Avery short "Bad Luck Blackie" (7 min.), the Lux Radio Theater broadcast from May 5, 1941 (59 min.), and the Academy Award Theater Broadcast from April 6, 1946 (30 min.), along with the theatrical trailer. Keep-case.

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