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Ginger Rogers stars as the title character in this 1940 film, for which she won an Oscar.

Kitty is a working class girl from Philadelphia, who falls in love with a Wynn Stratford VI, a young man from an upper class family.  However, his family do not think that Wynn and Kitty should be together – Kitty just isn’t from the same social class as they are, and they believe that she isn’t good enough for their family.  As their story is told through flashback, Kitty has a choice to make about her future.

This is the first serious role I have ever seen Ginger Rogers in, and I was blown away by her acting.  There’s no dancing here, and little comedy, so she is definitely not playing a typical role for her.  I’m not surprised she won the Oscar; people watching this film must have suddenly realised that there was a lot more talent in Ginger Rogers than they had previously thought.

I really liked Kitty as a character – she was feisty, and although she deeply loved Wynn, she could also see the social pressures they would face if they were together.  Wynn himself was brilliant played by Dennis Morgan.  He was a more naive character than Kitty, and couldn’t understand as well as she could, the kind of pressure they would be under (probably because he had never had to face such pressures himself before, being from a rich and privileged family).  Ultimately though, he is a weak character – and in one particular scene, where his family are insulting and patronising to Kitty, I was angry at him for not reacting in a stronger and more supportive way.

James Craig played Dr Mark Eisen, another man who loves Kitty – and who loves her for who she is, not where she comes from, or for what job she does.  But he suspects that her heart belongs to Wynn…

There’s tragedy in this story – grief, heartbreak, loss, helplessness – but there’s strength as well.  Kitty was resourceful and intelligent, while Wynn, nice man that he undoubtedly was – was neither resourceful (because he had never had to be) or really intelligent.  I don’t mean that he was stupid, far from it, but he never had to really think about his future because it was assured for him, and always had been.

I enjoyed this film a lot, and am surprised it isn’t better known.  If you get chance to see it, I would highly recommend it.

Year of release: 1940

Director: Sam Wood

Writers: Christopher Morley (book), Dalton Trumbo, Donald Ogden Stewart

Main cast: Ginger Rogers, Dennis Morgan, James Craig

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