Sunday, May 31, 2009

Kitty Foyle (1940)

Kitty Foyle, the story of a woman torn between two men as well as featuring Ginger Rogers playing the most unconvincing teenager ever put to film.

The film starts with Kitty (Ginger Rogers)'s doctor boyfriend Mark (James Craig) proposing, upon which she returns to her hotel room only to find her former flame, the wealthy Wyn Strafford (Dennis Morgan) waiting for her, hoping to resume their relationship (despite Wyn being married and refusing to divorce). Kitty says yes and packs her bags to leave with Wyn, when her demonic mirror (Well, her reflection) begins talking to her, forcing her to look back at what led her to this point. Basically, the film follows Kitty's on-and-off again relationship with Wyn (who looks like he's had a stroke whenever he moves his mouth).

It must be said that Ginger Rogers is very good in the title role, for which she actually won the Oscar (though, try watching Bette Davis in The Letter and agreeing with that choice), she gives Kitty a vulnerability as well as a fighting spirit, which makes it a pity that we almost never see her without a man. I'm not trying to scream sexism or anything, but Kitty is always alternating between Wyn and Mark, which kind of undoes that film's efforts to portray Kitty as this strong independent woman.

That's where the positives of this film ends. It's not a horrible film by any means, but both men are such bores that I personally didn't care who she stuck with. Wyn is an overly-charming and spoiled playboy (and it doesn't read well for him that he is willing to abandon his wife and child at the drop of a hat) and Mark is creepy (he negotiates a date out of Kitty by threatening to inject her with a syringe and once they have the date he insist on playing double solitaire for 3 hours as some sort of "test").

Plus, the fact that the film is essentially a flashback really hurts any sort of suspense about the film. We know that Kitty and Mark end up together and that Wyn marries another woman, there's also a major plot development that fails to illicit any sort of interest because we already know how it is going to work out. Not to mention that the flashbacks don't really offer any real insight that would make Kitty make the decision that she does at the end of the film.

I know it sounds like I hated this film, because I didn't. Ginger Rogers is good enough to recommend this film alone, but without her the film is a big soap opera. There are interesting moments, but there's too much of "Wyn is here and I am in love!" to "Wyn is gone, and I am sad. I guess I'll play with the affections of this creepy-ass doctor for a while". The film really could have been trimmed a bit, but it's still a decent enough film.

No comments:

Post a Comment