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Film / Kitty Foyle

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Kitty Foyle is a 1940 romantic drama directed by Sam Wood and starring Ginger Rogers in the title role.

Kitty Foyle is a white-collar office worker in New York who is about to get married to her boyfriend, handsome doctor Mark Elsen. But just as she's preparing to elope, none other than her old boyfriend Wyn Stafford shows up. Wyn, who is both wealthy and married, is about to sail away to South America, and wants Kitty to accompany him so they can live in sin together. The main plot is then told in a series of flashbacks, as Kitty remembers how her relationship with Wyn started and how it went bad, and how she met Mark. Kitty then faces the dilemma of who to choose.

Kitty Foyle might come off as dated, creaky melodrama to a latter-day viewer, but in 1940 it was a critical and commercial success. Ginger Rogers, who had enjoyed some starring vehicles before but had mostly appeared in Busby Berkeley musicals and dance movies opposite Fred Astaire, benefited from the full force of the Tom Hanks Syndrome here, winning the Academy Award for Best Actress.


  • As You Know: Kitty's reflection in the mirror is a narrative device, but even if it's meant to symbolize Kitty remembering her past, it's still the reflection telling real-world Kitty things she already knows and remembers.
  • Character Title
  • Chick Flick: Modern career girl has to choose between two handsome, adoring suitors in a Love Triangle? The female lead gets top billing and is a much bigger star than the male leads?
  • Distant Prologue: Before the main story starts, there's a little prologue without dialogue meant to symbolize how relationships between the sexes changed when women achieved "equal rights". Apparently everything went south after the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma: Played with. Mark, after figuring out that Kitty didn't really faint but is playing possum, starts feeling her up. Remember, Mark is supposed to be the good guy.
  • Fake Faint: Kitty, after accidentally triggering the burglar alarm at the department store where she works, pretends to faint to avoid getting fired.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: "I'm sorry you seem to think that I am making love to you", says Wyn to Kitty when first putting the moves on her.
  • How We Got Here: The film starts as Wyn returns to whisk Kitty away on the night she was going to get married to Mark. The main plot is then told in a prolonged flashback.
  • Knitting Pregnancy Announcement: In the prologue, the husband discovers the wife is pregnant when he sees she's making a needlepoint that says "Baby".
  • Love Triangle: A classic example, as Kitty must choose between the one suitor who offers her cozy domestic bliss, and the other who offers her an exciting but dangerous affair.
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: The reflection of Kitty in the mirror in her apartment starts talking and moving independently of real-world Kitty. Mirror Kitty is much more skeptical of Kitty's decision to run away with Wyn. After a scene where the two Kittys talk to each other, Mirror Kitty becomes the Narrator, recounting her history with Mark and Wyn.
  • Meet Cute: Mark and Kitty meet when he, as a doctor, tends to her when she pretends to faint after triggering the burglar alarm.
  • Old Money: Wyn's hopelessly snobby, arrogant Main Line Philadelphia family is a perfect example.
  • Sexy Secretary: Kitty to Wyn. Their relationship goes from professional to personal after she plays back a dictaphone recording in which he talks about how much it distracts him when she crosses her legs.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Wyn skirts the edge of this trope. After Kitty breaks up with him and moves to New York, he tracks her down and fills her apartment with flowers. Later, when she's about to go away and get married, she discovers that Wyn has sneaked into her apartment and is waiting for her.
  • Uptown Girl: Apparently it's Serious Business if a man from the aristocracy of "Main Line" Philadelphia marries a secretary like Kitty. Wynn's snobby family has the effrontery to say that Kitty has to go to a finishing school for high-class ladies before she can marry him.