23 February 2012 | blanche-2
A farm girl runs for Congress
Loretta Young and Joseph Cotten star in The Farmer's Daughter, a 1947 film also starring Ethel Barrymore and Charles Bickford.
Young, in a role originally intended for Ingrid Bergman, won an Oscar for her portrayal of Katie Holstrom, a young woman who lives on a farm with her family. She saves her money and goes off to the big city to become a nurse. Unfortunately, thanks to taking a ride from someone who once worked for her family, she ends up loaning him her money and he won't pay her back. So she takes a temporary job as a second maid in the house of a Congressman (Cotten) until she can save enough for school.
It turns out that Katie is pretty outspoken when it comes to politics and, not only that, knows her stuff. When a congressman dies, Katie goes to a rally for the replacement that the party has put forward and embarrasses him with her questions. Political leaders from the other side are impressed and want her to run against him.
It's always fascinating to me, and a little sad, that films with political themes, no matter how old they are, always seem timely. I guess that's where the term "politics as usual" comes from, though no one adds "for the last hundred years." In this film, 100$ American is described by Finley, the party's candidate, as "white, not foreign born, of the right religion." Now tell me that couldn't be a scene today. The search for dirt is in this film, as is all the back office manuevering.
Loretta Young as a blond is every bit as beautiful as she was as a brunette, and she is a delight as the efficient, intelligent Katie. One can easily see how Joseph Cotten could fall for her. Ethel Barrymore, as Cotten's mother and the widow of a political great, does a wonderful job, strong-willed, clever, and no-nonsense. Charles Bickford, as the family's butler and friend is excellent as tough taskmaster who is nevertheless very impressed with his new charge.
This is a very warm film with a terrific cast that will give you some chuckles and make you realize that the more things change, the more they remain the same - in politics. In movies - well, that's another matter.