Today on TCM it’s Ginger Rogers Day. I love me some Ginger Rogers.
One of Ginger Rogers’s favourite quips is that she did everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels. It’s that quip that sums up why I love Ginger Rogers so much: she was fearless, talented, strong, and determined to succeed in a male-dominant field. Ginger wasn’t anybody’s doormat and she carved her own way in Hollywood.
I’m blogging twice today for Ginger Rogers Day, and my first entry is for Kitty Foyle.
Kitty Foyle won Ginger Rogers her only Oscar, which is a real shame if you ask me. Made in 1940, it’s the story of a young woman named Kitty Foyle who falls in love with a society boy and endures everything that life throws at her. One of the reasons I loved Kitty Foyle is because I had absolutely no idea what would happen next; it ended completely different from what I expected.
You should know that Ginger didn’t even want to star in Kitty Foyle. In the original book, Kitty has “explicit love scenes” (according to Ginger’s memoirs) and Ginger doubted the scenes would make it past the censors, so she refused to waste her time on a movie that would never be made. Then, the studio re-wrote the script and Ginger felt that what had been lacking in the novel had taken root in the script, and she took the role.
You should also know that Kitty Foyle sparked a fashion trend with the Kitty Foyle dress.
You should also know that Fred Astaire sent Ginger a telegram after he saw Kitty Foyle and told her she’d win all kinds of awards for it.
You should also know that when Ginger was nominated for Best Actress, she didn’t even want to attend the ceremony. She wanted to win, and she was worried that she wouldn’t win (Ginger Rogers was nothing if not competitive). All her worrying was for naught, as we now know, but her Oscars were the first where the winners weren’t revealed until the actual ceremony (prior to this, newspapers would publish the winners; in 1939 the Academy wanted to keep the winners secret, but newspapers published the winners anyway).
You should also know that Ginger’s Oscar dress caused quite a stir, with its lingerie-style bodice.
You should also know that Katharine Hepburn congratulated Ginger by telling her how jealous she was (but also how happy she was) of Ginger.
You should also know that in 1991, Ginger’s secretary held a party to honour the 50th anniversary of Ginger’s Oscar win.
You should also know that Ginger turned down films that went on to win Oscars for its leading ladies (Olivia de Havilland allegedly owes Ginger a thanks for one of her Oscars).
You should also know that Ginger is an amazing actress, in addition to a superior dancer.
This means you owe it to yourself to watch one of her dramatic films. Kitty Foyle is on today at 12 p.m. AST. Do yourself a favour.