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Kitty (1945 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kitty (1945 film).jpg
Theatrical poster to Kitty (1945)
Directed byMitchell Leisen
Written byKarl Tunberg
Darrell Ware
Based onnovel by Rosamond Marshall
Produced byMitchell Leisen
StarringPaulette Goddard
Ray Milland
CinematographyDaniel L. Fapp
Edited byAlma Macrorie
Music byVictor Young
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • March 31, 1945 (1945-03-31)
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$2 million[1]
Box office$3.5 million (US rentals)[2]

Kitty is a 1945 film, a costume drama set in London during the 1780s, directed by Mitchell Leisen, based on the novel of the same name by Rosamond Marshall (published in 1943), with a screenplay by Karl Tunberg. It stars Paulette Goddard, Ray Milland, Constance Collier, Patric Knowles, Reginald Owen, and Cecil Kellaway as the English painter Thomas Gainsborough. In a broad interpretation of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, the film tells the rags-to-riches story of a beautiful young cockney guttersnipe who is given a complete makeover by an impoverished aristocrat (Milland) and his aunt (Collier) in hopes of arranging her marriage to a peer, thereby repairing their fortunes and their social status.


In 1783 London, a poor thief, Kitty, is caught trying to pick the pocket of painter Thomas Gainsborough. Amused, he pays her to sit for a portrait. While posing, she attracts the attention of Sir Hugh Marcy, who upon finding out her real social status, offers her a job as a scullery maid. Kitty later learns that he is impoverished, having lost his post in the government's foreign office. All the while, Gainsborough's portrait of Kitty, The Anonymous Lady, creates a stir, as people try to guess the subject's identity. The Duke of Malmunster, who buys the painting, asks Gainsborough about the model. Sir Hugh interjects that she is his aunt's ward. So in exchange for an introduction to Kitty "Gordon", the Duke offers to have Hugh reinstated in the foreign office. Thus, he and his aunt teach Kitty how to impersonate a lady of fashion. What Sir Hugh does not count on is the attraction Kitty develops for him. When Hugh is sent to debtors' prison, Kitty charms wealthy industrialist Jonathan Selby into marrying her, using part of her dowry to free Hugh. But he and his aunt once again go broke. So when Kitty breaks into her husband's strongbox to get the pair out of trouble, Selby beats her. But Kitty's loyal maid kills him, and then commits suicide.

Kitty inherits a large fortune and wants to find happiness with Hugh, but he is determined instead to marry her off to the Duke of Malmunster and reclaim his career. Kitty gives in, and after the honeymoon, the duke lets it become known that Kitty is pregnant (though the father is actually Selby). After the birth of the boy, the future 10th duke, the old dissolute 9th duke dies, leaving Kitty extremely wealthy. After a respectable mourning period, Hugh attempts to arrange a third marriage, this time to the Prince of Wales for money and status. Kitty, however, confesses to Hugh she married twice out of love for him. Unimpressed, Hugh replies that he considers their relationship a business arrangement, nothing more. Meanwhile, Kitty becomes engaged to the Earl of Carstairs. Seeing them together, Hugh realizes he actually is in love with Kitty. The Earl, ever the gentleman, will not stand in the way of Kitty's happiness. In the end, Hugh and Kitty affirm their mutual devotion.



The film was based on a novel by Rosamund Marshall. Film rights were bought by Paramount prior to the novel's publication for a reported $50,000.[3]

In October 1943, Paramount announced they would make the film with Paulette Goddard and Ray Milland, with Karl Turnberg and Darrell Ware to write and produce.[4] The novel was published that month.[5] The New York Times called it "robust entertainment".[6] By January 1946 it had sold almost 900,000 copies.[7]

In the original novel, Kitty was a prostitute. The Breen office, who handled censorship at the time, ruled if this was to be kept in the film version, Kitty would have to die at the end for punishment. The story was changed so Kitty was a pickpocket.[8]

In March 1944 Mitchell Leisen was given the job of directing and Cecil Kellaway was cast as Gainsborough.[9]

Director Leisen worked very hard with the set and costume designers to create a historically correct picture of 18th-century England. The California portrait painter Theodore Lukits served as technical adviser for the film's artistic scenes and painted the portrait of Kitty that is seen in the film. Lukits knew Ray Milland because he had painted his wife's portrait in 1942.

Goddard was coached in her cockney accent by Connie Lupino, mother of Ida Lupino.[10]

In May 1944, before filming began, Goddard signed a new contract with Paramount to make two films a year over seven years.[11]

Filming started in May 1944. Leisen reportedly spent over $25,000 on recreations of Gainsborough portraits.[12] Goddard made the film after returning from entertaining the troops in India and Burma. Milland made it immediately prior to The Lost Weekend.[13][14]

The ending of the film was re-shot in December 1944.[15]


Box Office

The film was popular earning over $3 million at the North American box office.[2]


The film was nominated for one Oscar for Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White (Hans Dreier, Walter H. Tyler, Samuel M. Comer, Ray Moyer).[16]

Radio adaptation

Kitty was presented on Hollywood Players on CBS November 5, 1946. The adaptation starred Paulette Goddard.[17]


  1. ^ THOMAS M. PRYOR (Apr 8, 1945). "BLITHE SPENDTHRIFT: Parisian Lady". New York Times. p. 41.
  2. ^ a b "60 Top Grossers of 1946", Variety 8 January 1947 p8
  3. ^ "Hedda Hoppers: LOOKING AT HOLLYWOOD". Los Angeles Times. Dec 6, 1943. p. A9.
  4. ^ "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Goddard and Milland to Star in 'Kitty' -- Cook Chosen to Head Film Critics Group". New York Times. Oct 19, 1943. p. 15.
  5. ^ "Books Published Today". New York Times. Oct 22, 1943. p. 13.
  6. ^ Sherman, Beatrice (Nov 7, 1943). "Cockney Galatea: KITTY. By Rozamond Marshall. 303 pp. New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce. $2.50. The Latest Works of Fiction". New York Times. p. BR18.
  7. ^ "Books--Authors". New York Times. Jan 31, 1946. p. 30.
  8. ^ J. D. SPIROHOLLYWOOD (Oct 16, 1949). "HOLLYWOOD MEMOS: Gertrude Lawrence Prepares for 'Glass Menagerie' -- Dual Deal -- Other Items". New York Times. p. X5.
  9. ^ Schallert, Edwin (Mar 6, 1944). "Lubitsch Will Help Re-Sponsor Catherine: Leisen to Boss 'Kitty,' With Kellaway Acting Gainsborough; Academy Rebuttal". Los Angeles Times. p. 10.
  10. ^ Schallert, Edwin (June 28, 1944). "'Storm in April' New Purchase by Columbia: Negrete Plans to Do Film in Hollywood; 'Gallant Week-End' Slated by R.K.O.". Los Angeles Times. p. A9.
  11. ^ "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: June Allyson Named to Lead in 'Music for Millions' -- 'Taxi to Heaven' Opens Today". New York Times. May 24, 1944. p. 23.
  13. ^ Frank Daugherty. The Christian Science Monitor (Aug 18, 1944). "'Kitty' Might Stir Costume Film Revival". p. 4.
  14. ^ IDWAL JONES (Oct 15, 1944). "WHAT! NO MORE YAKS?: Producers Are Faced With Dilemma as Crop of Hair (for Wigs) Runs Out". New York Times. p. X3.
  15. ^ Hopper, Hedda (Dec 1, 1944). "Looking at Hollywood". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 24.
  16. ^ "NY Times: Kitty". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-10-18. Retrieved 2008-12-20.
  17. ^ "Recreates 'Kitty" Role". Harrisburg Telegraph. October 26, 1946. p. 21. Retrieved September 29, 2015 – via open access

External links

This page was last edited on 26 October 2021, at 00:34
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