The daughter of Swedish immigrant farmers in Minnesota, Katie Holstrom leaves home, determined to study nursing in Washington, D.C. When she is robbed of her tuition money during the trip, Katie is forced to put her dream on hold, and find a job before she can pursue her studies. It’s not long before she ends up in the household employ of young senator Glenn Morley (Joseph Cotten, Niagara) and his mother, Agatha (Ethel Barrymore). Not intimidated by her surroundings, Katie gains attention by interjecting her views into conversations around her. She catches the attention of the senator when she dares correct him on the political career of one Mr. Schmidlapp whom he refers to as second-rate: “Oh no, sir. Mr. Schmidlapp was not second rate. He was first rate. With a second-rate party.” She knew Schmidlapp to be a fine neighbor and a good farmer. Predictably, Katie and the senator end up falling in love, but their political differences cause some tension. Katie decides to run for congress–party affiliation isn’t specified, it’s clear Katie is running as a Democrat and that the Morley’s represent the Republican party–when the Senator’s preferred candidate isn’t her taste.
Given the social and political sensibilities of late post-war America, The Farmer’s Daughter offers a rare message of female empowerment. Quaint, by today’s standards, she’s honest to a fault and her positions are devoid of controversy. Nonetheless, she’s an everywoman for the times, making her own, albeit simplistic, decisions. Apart from being dated, The Farmer’s Daughter suffers from lack of surprise. Once Kate hits the big the big city, the characters make it easy to figure out how the story will unfold.
As to the performances, Loretta Young is well cast as Kate, though jet character is straightforward. The always reliable Joseph Cotten brings some real personality to senator Morley. For me, the real standout performance is Ethel Barrymore as Agatha Morley. Having first appeared in film back in 1914, Barrymore captures the cool, calculating nature of a political lifer.
Presented in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, Kino Lorber’s 1080p transfer looks great. It has an an appropriate level of grain throughout and the image is clean. The only noticeable issue is some slight thickness in a few short sequences. Otherwise, there are no significant print flaws and contrast is appropriate.
The DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio is nothing flashy but provides clean and clear effects and dialogue. The score by Leigh Harline sounds pleasing throughout. English subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Audio Commentary with Film Historian Lee Gambino
- Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:48)
Movie title: The Farmer's Daughter (1947)
Director(s): H.C. Potter
Actor(s): Loretta Young , Joseph Cotten , Ethel Barrymore , Charles Bickford , Rose Hobart , Rhys Williams
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance