Sunday, September 30, 2018

Tonight's Movie: The Farmer's Daughter (1947) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

Today my movie viewing had a fun and unexpected theme. Earlier in the day I watched PERSONAL MAID'S SECRET (1945), with Ruth Donnelly as a wise housekeeper, and I followed up watching that with Loretta Young as THE FARMER'S DAUGHTER (1947), who proves to be another smart maid.

THE FARMER'S DAUGHTER was just released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber. It's a longtime favorite with two highly appealing stars, Loretta Young and Joseph Cotten. I hadn't seen it for quite some time and revisiting the movie via the beautiful new Blu-ray was a real treat.

Loretta Young won her only Oscar in the title role as Katrin "Katie" Holstrom, a Swedish-American miss who leaves the family farm intending to go to nursing school in the big city. An unfortunate incident with an masher (Rhys Williams) who essentially robs her of every penny leads to her taking a job as a maid for a pair of political hotshots, Congressman Glenn Morley (Cotten) and his mother (Ethel Barrymore).

It isn't long before Katie has become indispensable to the entire household, including butler/advisor/family friend Joseph Clancy (Oscar-nominated Charles Bickford). Katie may "just" be the maid but she has no problem speaking her mind freely, particularly on political issues. Glenn is charmed and starts to fall in love with her...which gets really complicated when rival political brokers suggest she run for Congress!

The movie is amazingly timely; did you know people were arguing about a "living wage" way back in the '40s? The last part of the film revolves around the attempt to baselessly smear Katie; should she slink away or fight to preserve her good name and the chance to serve her country?  Regardless of where people fall on the political spectrum, I think viewers may be surprised by how undated the issues are. (Side note, "just in case": Please steer clear of current politics in the comments; this site is a place where we're united by our love of movies!)

The four lead actors are all completely charming; it's especially hard not to love Bickford, who is quickly won over by Katie's ability to make good coffee. Loretta was approximately 33 when this was filmed and realistically is a bit old for the part but she's so gorgeous and winning, who cares?

And what a supporting cast! Right down to Charles McGraw, who pops up in the final minutes as a bad guy exasperated with Glenn. Check out this list of character actors: Harry Davenport, Frank Ferguson, Charles Lane, Don Beddoe, Tom Powers, Art Baker, Thurston Hall, John Gallaudet, William Bakewell, and Cy Kendall. Katie's brothers are played by James Arness, Lex Barker, and Keith Andes. And yes, this movie even has a party scene with legendary dress extra Bess Flowers. Add in a good script (by Allen Rivkin and Laura Kerr), and it's quite wonderful spending 97 minutes with faces like these.

THE FARMER'S DAUGHTER was directed by H.C. Potter and filmed in black and white by Milton Krasner. While some of the exterior scenes are obvious soundstage shots, there's a strikingly beautiful scene in which Glenn and Katie climb a hill to see her father. It's so beautiful it makes one wish more of the "outdoor" scenes looked like that! According to IMDb, exteriors were filmed up the California coast in Petaluma.

The Blu-ray is a beautiful print. The disc has the movie trailer and a commentary track by Lee Gambin which I look forward to hearing soon.

In addition to the Blu-ray, Kino Lorber has also released THE FARMER'S DAUGHTER on DVD.

The Blu-ray is a lovely release of a delightful movie, and I recommend both highly.

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.


Blogger Net - "It's a Wonderful Movie" said...

Oh. A lovely Loretta Young movie! Thank you for this wonderful review! This is one I definitely need to re-watch again! :)

Blessings, Net

6:31 AM  
Blogger Caftan Woman said...

I have not seen this movie in decades! Maybe I should get it for someone for Christmas and then borrow it. H'm.

6:42 AM  

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