Cast & Crew
On a snowy eve, Kitty Foyle, an executive at Delphine Detaille's fashion house, is confronted with a choice that will change the course of her life: to marry Mark Eisen, a young, sincere doctor, or to sail away with Wyn Stafford, with whom she has been in love for years and who has just re-entered her life. As she wrestles with her conscience, Kitty thinks back to her youth in Philadelphia: young Kitty gawks at the society "Main Liners" and dreams of her Prince Charming, disregarding the advice of her father, who warns her against trying to go out of her class. Five years later, Kitty meets her prince in the person of wealthy Wyn Strafford, who is so charmed by the girl that he offers her a job at his fledgling magazine. The two fall in love, but Wyn does not have the courage to break from his life in Philadelphia's Main Line society. After her beloved father's death, Kitty goes to New York, where she begins to date Mark while she still longing for Wyn. Wyn finally comes for Kitty and the two are married, but when he takes her home, his family wants to "remake" her and she rebels. Kitty forces Wyn to make a choice, but he remains a prisoner of his family's money and position and the marriage is annulled. Kitty returns to New York, where she learns in rapid succession that she is pregnant and that Wyn is to marry a Philadelphia socialite. Kitty's plans to rear the child by herself come to an abrupt end when the infant dies in childbirth. Several years later, Kitty returns to Philadelphia to open a branch of the Delphine Detaille fashion house and has a chance encounter with Wyn's wife and son. Finally, as Kitty ponders her past, she decides that there is only one future for her, and she leaves to marry the waiting Mark.
Theodore Von Eltz
Gohr Van Vleck
John L. Cass
Harry F. Edington
Robert De Grasse
Van Nest Polglase
Donald Ogden Stewart
Vernon L. Walker
Best Writing, Screenplay
A white-collar career girl sharing a cramped New York apartment with two other struggling bachelorettes, Kitty works as a jack-of-all-trades at an upscale cosmetics store. The story of Kitty Foyle, as scripted by Dalton Trumbo, is told in flashback on the eve of her life's greatest decision: to either marry the respectable but ordinary Dr. Mark Eisen (James Craig) or run away with a dashing member of Philadelphia's upper crust, Wyn Strafford (Dennis Morgan). As she confronts her reflection in the mirror (in homage to her divided nature), Kitty flashes back to her working class girlhood in Philadelphia where the groundwork for such WASP adoration was laid. The young Kitty worshipped the exploits of the wealthy Philadelphia Main Liners, the social untouchables who provided a sharp, glamorous contrast to Kitty's own shabby origins and her coarse but loving Irish father, Tom "Pop" Foyle (Ernest Cossart).
Though the elder Foyle tries to discourage his daughter's fascination with the Main Line, the plucky Kitty can't be persuaded to give up her fantasies of the Good Life. She becomes involved with Wyn, the rich publisher of the magazine where she works. When the magazine folds and it looks like Wyn may only keep Kitty on as a permanent girlfriend, she flees to New York and meets the amiable but broke doctor Mark who almost lets her forget Wyn.
A sterling example of that love, marriage and babies obsessed genre known as the woman's film, Kitty Foyle has hoofer Rogers engaged in the melodrama's perpetual dilemma, torn between two very different men. A fairly racy storyline for 1940, Kitty Foyle flirts on more than one occasion with the subject of extramarital affairs and babies born out of wedlock, though its conventional ending tends to patch over any previous, scandalous details.
After a string of enormously successful musical pairings with fellow fleet-foot Fred Astaire, Rogers eased into drama with films like Kitty Foyle. It was a move that paid off richly when she won the Best Actress Oscar® that year for her performance as the feisty Irish girl at the center of a complicated love triangle.
Though Kitty Foyle has the feel of one of Fannie Hurst's woman-centered novels (Imitation of Life, Humoresque), the screenplay was, in fact, penned by ex-newspaper reporter turned Hollywood scribe Dalton Trumbo. Trumbo's experience in the ink trade no doubt enabled him to pen lines like this exchange between Kitty and Wyn:
"Oh, darling, how did you ever find me?" Kitty coos.
"I just followed my heartbeat," effuses Wyn.
Not exactly the cloying sentiments one would expect to see fall from the leaky pen of a political martyr. The successful screenwriter (A Bill of Divorcement (1940), A Guy Named Joe, 1943) was one of the notorious Hollywood Ten (including director Edward Dmytryk and screenwriter Ring Lardner, Jr.) who were jailed for contempt of court when they refused in 1947 to testify on alleged Communist Party membership in Hollywood before the House Un-American Activities Committee. That implication of Trumbo's Communist allegiances bore immediate fruit. Trumbo's income plummeted from a weekly salary of $3,000 to $0. And the "hostile witness" ended up serving 10 months in an Ashland, KY penitentiary where, despite a blacklist in Hollywood that prohibited his work from being used, he managed to smuggle out scripts to sell. After his release Trumbo moved to Mexico where he churned out 18 scripts under a pseudonym and even - much to the industry's embarrassment - won a 1956 Academy Award as "Robert Rich" for scripting The Brave One. Through the later insistence of Otto Preminger and Kirk Douglas, Trumbo was finally credited for the Spartacus (1960) and Exodus (1960) scripts, thus ending the writer's exile from Hollywood.
Director: Sam Wood
Producer: Harry E. Edington
Screenplay: Dalton Trumbo from the novel by Christopher Morley
Cinematography: Robert De Grasse
Production Design: Van Nest Polglase
Music: Roy Webb
Cast: Ginger Rogers (Kitty Foyle), Dennis Morgan (Wyn Strafford VI), James Craig (Dr. Mark Eisen), Ernest Cossart (Tom "Pop" Foyle), Eduardo Ciannelli (Giono), Gladys Cooper (Mrs. Strafford), K.T. Stevens (Molly).
BW-108m. Closed captioning.
by Felicia Feaster
Ginger Rogers is KITTY FOYLE on DVD
To order Kitty Foyle, go to
The film starts out with a dilemma that would be shocking when the film was made: Dr. Mark Eisen (James Craig), bringing her home from dinner, says that he knows what a strong attraction there was between Kitty and Wyn Staford (Dennis Morgan), and asks if she's sure that that chapter of her life is over. She assures her that it is, and her presents her with a wedding ring. She accepts it and agrees to marry him, and they make plans to meet at midnight outside St. Timothy's hospital ( where Mark is on staff). Both are extremely happy, and Mark drops Kitty off at her apartment and goes back to work.
But when she goes into her apartment she finds wealthy Wyn waiting for her. He has decided to make a total break from his suffocating family and is on his way to Brazil, and he wants to take Kitty with him. The trouble is that Wyn already married and has a child. With no hope of getting a divorce from his wife (and a family who wouldn't stand for it), the two would be forced to "live in sin." But Kitty's ongoing passion for Wyn takes her beyond the bonds of propriety, and she decides to go with him, despite her "previous engagement."
Once we're aware of her dilemma, the action flashes back to 1932, and we trace the events that brought Kitty to the present. It is the height of the depression, and Holly lives in Philadelphia with her father "Pop" Foyle, who worked on the "Main Line" and now some freelance writing. Kitty has just learned to type in an attempt to find a job, and is now pounding the pavement looking for work. She comes home from her job search one evening to find "Wynwood 'Wyn' Stafford the VI" seated in the living room talking to her Pop about writing a series of articles for a new magazine that he's launching. Pop mentions that Kitty is looking for a job, and Wyn hires her as his secretary. Kitty is like a breath of fresh air to the man who has lived a sheltered existence, and soon their relationship becomes more and more personal. So personal that he takes her on a jaunt to New York on election night, to listen to the returns of the election run between Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover -- and to watch the sunrise. As the trip becomes more romantic, Wyn decideds that he is going to fly in the face of "propriety" and promises to take Kitty to The Assembly ball, something meant only for the elite, but he is so in love with her he is willing to brave it.
Several months after the excursion to New York, Wyn is forced to make the announcement that their magazine has become another victim of the Depression and will have to fold. Wyn will have to go back to relying on the family inheritance he was trying to avoid (by making it on his own). Kitty, on the other hand, decides to leave Philadelphia for New York where she has friends she can stay with while she looks for work. She goes home to tell Pop about her decision, only to find that he has died.
Kitty finds work quickly in New York, working at a very upscale cosmetics store. Although she hasn't been dating, she meets a likely candidate when handsome doctor Mark Eisen is called to the store on an emergency. Eisen has his own interesting ideas about dating: he is not wealthy and wants to do what he can for a date as long as he can be relatively sure that he's not with a gold digger who mistakenly believes that he's a wealthy doctor. And while Kitty may have enjoyed being swept off her feet by someone from "the other side of the Main Line," she can't shake her working class background and enjoys their rides on the subway to see a movie and have an inexpensive dinner.
Just when Kitty is starting to get comfortable with Eisen, Wyn shows up on the scene. It is the night of The Assembly ball in Philadelphia, and he intends to wine and dine her until the wee hours of the morning. The night culminates in Wyn proposing to her, and vowing to stay in New York and not return to Philadelphia. They get married so fast that Wyn doesn't have time to tell his family. Afterwards, Wyn decides that they must return to Philadelphia at least once in order to give the family the news. The family is led by Mrs. Stafford (the indomitable Gladys Cooper), and they are, of course, shocked, and immediately start making plans to send Kitty to finishing school. But Kitty will have none of it, and vows that she and Wyn will never return to Philadelphia. That's when the final blow falls: the family informs her that Wyn has no choice but to stay, because the provisos of his inheritance state that he must take up residence in one of the family's Philadelphia homes and fulfil his role in the family business..
Kitty flees back to New York and presumably gets a divorce (it's never mentioned, most likely due to the Production Code. She once again meets Dr. Eisner, and the two of them start dating again, albeit on a very tentative basis. Five years go by, bringing us back to the present and the dilemma Kitty was presented with at the outset. Dr. Eisner has proposed to her, and she accepted, and Wyn returned to the scene to ask her to go away with him – and she said yes to him, too. It isn't until she gives her instructions to the cab driver that we learn what her final decision is.
Kitty Foyle is an enjoyable soap opera with a good script and the best performance of Roger's career, though I don't know whether or not it was Oscar® caliber (she beat out ). The rest of the cast is top-notch as well: Dennis Morgan is letter perfect as the guy from the right side of the tracks who seems unaware of crossing the line, or of the turmoil he's causing in Kitty's life, and Daniel Craig is delightfully goofy as Dr. Eisner, who tests potential dates by having them play double solitaire.
The source material used for the transfer is in splendid condition, free of debris, though there are a few very brief spots where there is noticeable wear. The audio is in great shape as well, with no deterioration and a full-bodied tone quality. Dialogue is clear throughout. Extras include 2 vintage cartoons ("Bad Luck Blackie," Tom and Jerry in "Kitty Foiled"); 2 radio productions with Ginger Rogers, 5/5/1941 Lux Radio Theater broadcast, 4/6/1946 Academy Award Theater broadcast.
For more information about Kitty Foyle, visit Warner Video.
by Fred Hunter
Ginger Rogers is KITTY FOYLE on DVD To order Kitty Foyle, go to TCM Shopping.
Boy or Girl?- Kitty Foyle
Boy. Almost lost the little fella. (Looks around the poor apartment) Mighta been better if he hadn't pulled through.- Dr. Mark Eisen
Don't say that, Mark. It's always better to pull through.- Kitty Foyle
From now on, you're going to Sunday School every Sunday. Rain or shine, you're going.- Tom Foyle
But why, Pop?- Kitty Foyle
Well, it'll be giving you a little Christian upbringing. A sense of values.- Tom Foyle
Oh. And then you mean I won't ever sin or anything.- Kitty Foyle
Well, it might not keep you from sinning, but by Judas Priest, it'll keep you from getting any fun out of it.- Tom Foyle
Pop, you might as well try to argue me out of a case of bronchitis. Because I love him.- Kitty Foyle
Judas Priest.- Tom Foyle
You said it.- Kitty Foyle
You mean you want to marry him?- Tom Foyle
Mm-hmm.- Kitty Foyle
Don't you worry about me, Pop. Because I can take care of myself all right. Good-bye, Pop. (Exits)- Kitty Foyle
Take care of yourself. By Judas Priest, you're going to break your heart.- Tom Foyle
Until you can get another job...- Wyn Strafford
What do you mean?- Kitty Foyle
Why don't I just keep you on the payroll? It's no more than fair --- Wyn Strafford
Just a minute, Wyn. You needn't worry about me. I'm free, white and 21...almost. And I'll go on loving you from here on out...or until I stop loving you. But nobody owes a thing to Kitty Foyle, except Kitty Foyle.- Kitty Foyle
The opening credits feature a subtitle describing the film as The Natural History of a Woman. The film then opens with a brief, silent prologue set in 1900, depicting the life of women and the development of the "white-collar girl" of 1940. According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, RKO originally wanted William Wyler to direct this film. The writing credits were changed several times during the production of the picture. Although onscreen credits attribute the screenplay to Dalton Trumbo and additional dialogue to Donald Ogden Stewart, Screen Achievements Bulletin credits Stewart with "substantial contribution to screenplay construction"; Hollywood Reporter production charts credit him with screenplay, and RKO records contained in the UCLA Theater Arts Library credit him with continuity. Screen Achievements Bulletin also adds Robert Ardrey as "substantial contributor to treatment" and studio records credit him with continuity.
Modern sources note that Stewart's screenplay was considered "unshootable" by RKO and rewritten by Trumbo, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on the picture. Studio records also add L. Noble as director for some scenes, but he is not credited onscreen, in Screen Achievements Bulletin or reviews, and his participation in the final film has not been confirmed. Other news items in Hollywood Reporter note that RKO unsuccessfully tried to hire Dennis Morgan away from Warner Bros., to which he was under contract, because of his performance as Wyn Strafford. RKO moved up the release date of this film to qualify it for the 1940 Academy Awards. Ginger Rogers won Best Actress for her work, and Sam Wood was nominated for Best Direction. The film was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Sound Recording. In 1941, Lux Radio Theater performed a version of Kitty Foyle featuring the film's stars. Television versions were performed on NBC in 1950, ABC in 1954 and CBS in 1955. The story was featured as a daytime NBC serial in 1958.