Kitty [1945]

After initially rejecting the role as too sentimental, Ginger Rogers found the title character of Kitty Foyle to be an Oscar winner and a career breakthrough. Released in 1940, only a year after her nine-picture partnership with Fred Astaire ended, Kitty Foyle helped establish Rogers as a nonmusical box-office star. The film portrays a white-collar working girl who receives a warm and welcome marriage proposal from Mark (James Craig), a kindly but humble doctor. As soon as she accepts, however, she receives a different proposition, this one from her former love, wealthy socialite Wyn (Dennis Morgan), who plans to flee his life and his wife and asks Kitty to join him and live in unwedded bliss in South America. Kitty then recounts her life in flashback to help her choose which man to love. Rogers gives an appealing performance as the feisty yet vulnerable Kitty, who makes up in moxie what she lacks in social status. Did she really deserve the Best Actress Oscar over Bette Davis in The Letter, Joan Fontaine in Rebecca, Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story, and Martha Scott in Our Town? Well, evidently Rogers had real-life moxie too. --David Horiuchi

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