Kentucky


1h 35m 1938
Kentucky

Brief Synopsis

A Romeo and Juliet love story set amidst horseracing.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Drama
Sports
Release Date
Dec 30, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Look of Eagles by John Taintor Foote (New York, 1916)

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,630ft (11 reels)

Synopsis

In Kentucky during the Civil War, John Dillon, a local horse breeder originally from Massachusetts, leads a company of Union soldiers to Elmtree Farm, which belongs to a competing breeder, Thad Goodwin, with orders to confiscate the horses of known rebel sympathizers. When Goodwin sees his prize horses being taken, he pulls out a gun, but Dillon shoots and kills him. Goodwin's young son Peter runs out crying and screaming at the departing soldiers. In 1938, Peter, now a crotchety old man, still resides on Elmtree Farm and raises horses with his niece Sally. Dillon's grandson Jack returns from England, where he has been learning the banking business for eight years. Although Jack wants to breed, train and race horses, his father convinces him to work in his bank and train horses as a hobby. Sally's father encounters Jack's father at the track and asks if he could get a loan from his bank to buy cotton. Dillon says that he will take the matter up with his board, and then, because Jack is anxious to cross horses with the Dillons', they roll dice to see who will give up a horse to the other. Dillon loses and writes Goodwin a note for the horse. When Dillon speaks against the loan to the board of the bank because it is for speculation in cotton, Jack argues against his father and questions whether his motives are personal. The loan does not pass, and when cotton prices fall, Goodwin has a heart attack and dies. Jack leaves his father's home after an argument about the loan. After the Goodwins are forced to auction nearly all their horses, Jack offers his services to Sally, who does not know he is a Dillon, as a trainer of their last prize horse, "Bessie's Boy." Although she says that they cannot pay him, he offers to train the horse for nothing until the horse wins. During a storm, Sally drives to get a doctor for her ill mother after the phone wires have come down, but a tree falls and blocks the path of her car. She then saddles Bessie's Boy, and despite the objections of Peter, who warns that running the horse on cement will ruin him, she rides off. The horse's legs are injured from the four mile run, and after her mother dies, Sally and Peter are forced to give up the farm. After Sally finds the note from Dillon offering any two-year-old at his farm, she goes to the Dillon farm with Peter, who hates the Dillons. Although Sally wants to take "Postman," who has the appearance of a winner, she defers to Peter's judgment about a "runt" horse which, he says, has "the look of eagles" in his eye, a look he has seen only a few times before. They name the horse "Blue Grass," and after a few weeks, Jack and Sally are skeptical about him, but Peter predicts that the horse just needs time. As their romance grows, Jack tries to tell Sally of his identity but can't. Soon Blue Grass's time improves, and they decide to enter him in a prep race prior to the Kentucky Derby. Before the race begins, Sally learns Jack's real identity, and even though the horse wins, she and Peter have Jack paid off. At a dance before the derby, Jack explains to Sally that he didn't think she would allow him to train her horse if she knew he was a Dillon, and she accuses him of trying to insure Postman's victory. Before he leaves her, he warns that Blue Grass's jockey should not use a whip, because the horse sulks when he is whipped. He also says that he loves her. When Peter instructs the jockey to whip the horse when he gets to the eighth pole, Sally countermands the order, which greatly upsets Peter. Jack reconciles with his father, but roots for Blue Grass. During the race, as Blue Grass and Postman run neck and neck, the jockey uses the whip, and Blue Grass falls behind, but the jockey soon stops the beating and Blue Grass wins. Sally embraces Jack, but Peter collapses before the decoration ceremony and dies. At his funeral, Dillon eulogizes him and the passing of a phase of American life.

Cast

Loretta Young

Sally Goodwin

Richard Greene

Jack Dillon

Walter Brennan

Peter Goodwin

Douglas Dumbrille

John Dillon, 1861

Karen Morley

Mrs. Goodwin, 1861

Moroni Olsen

John Dillon, 1938

Russell Hicks

Thad Goodwin, Sr., 1861

Willard Robertson

Bob Slocum

Charles Waldron

Thad Goodwin, 1938

George Reed

Ben

Bobs Watson

Peter Goodwin, 1861

Delmar Watson

Thad Goodwin, Jr., 1861

Leona Roberts

Grace Goodwin

Charles Lane

Auctioneer

Charles Middleton

Southerner

Harry Hayden

Racing secretary

Robert Middlemass

Track official

Madame Sul-te-wan

Lily

Cliff Clark

Melish

Meredith Howard

Susie May

Fred Burton

Presiding officer

Charles Trowbridge

Doctor

Eddie Anderson

Groom

Stanley Andrews

Presiding judge

Billy Mcclain

Zeke

John Nesbitt

Commentator

Joan Valerie

Lucy Pemberton

Chick Chandler

Clerk

Hal K. Dawson

Clerk

Mildred Gever

Cleo

Thaddeus Jones

Zeb

Howard Hickman

Banker

Ed. Stanley

Banker

Frank Jaquet

Banker

Daisy Lee Mothershed

Louella

Walter Miller

Cavalry Sergeant

Dudley Dickerson

Chauffeur

Lee Shumway

Sergeant

Buster Slaven

Newsboy

James C. Morton

Bartender

J. H. Allen

Swipe

James Adamson

Swipe

Charles Moore

Swipe

Lillian Yarbo

Magnolia

John Elliott

Purchaser

Eddie Dunn

Workman

Harrison Greene

Manager

Sherry Hall

Chalker

Blue Washington

Bill

Eugene Jackson

Black child

Stymie Beard

Black child

John Dilson

Man at track

Landers Stevens

Man at track

Lee Murray

Palisades' jockey

Jimmy Eagles

Jockey

Willie Saunders

Postman's jockey

Bob Thompson

Blue Grass's jockey

Darby Jones

Duckfoot

Bernice Pilot

Edward Keane

Tom Chatterton

Edward Earle

Douglas Wood

Margaret Irving

Photo Collections

Kentucky - Loretta Young Publicity Stills
Here are a few photos of Loretta Young, taken to help publicize Fox's Kentucky (1938). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Drama
Sports
Release Date
Dec 30, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Look of Eagles by John Taintor Foote (New York, 1916)

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,630ft (11 reels)

Award Wins

Best Supporting Actor

1938
Walter Brennan

Articles

Kentucky (1938) - Kentucky


A Romeo and Juliet love story set amid horse-racing.

Producer: Gene Markey
Director: David Butler
Screenplay: John Taintor Foote (screenplay and story); Lamar Trotti (screenplay)
Cinematography: Ernest Palmer, Ray Rennahan
Art Direction: Lewis Creber, Bernard Herzbrun
Film Editing: Irene Morra
Cast: Loretta Young (Sally Goodwin), Richard Greene (Jack Dillon), Walter Brennan (Peter Goodwin), Douglas Dumbrille (John Dillon - 1861), Karen Morley (Mrs. Goodwin - 1861), Moroni Olsen (John Dillon - 1938), Russell Hicks (Thad Goodwin Sr. - 1861), Willard Robertson (Bob Slocum), Charles Waldron (Thad Goodwin - 1938), George Reed (Ben)
C-96m.

Kentucky (1938) - Kentucky

Kentucky (1938) - Kentucky

A Romeo and Juliet love story set amid horse-racing. Producer: Gene Markey Director: David Butler Screenplay: John Taintor Foote (screenplay and story); Lamar Trotti (screenplay) Cinematography: Ernest Palmer, Ray Rennahan Art Direction: Lewis Creber, Bernard Herzbrun Film Editing: Irene Morra Cast: Loretta Young (Sally Goodwin), Richard Greene (Jack Dillon), Walter Brennan (Peter Goodwin), Douglas Dumbrille (John Dillon - 1861), Karen Morley (Mrs. Goodwin - 1861), Moroni Olsen (John Dillon - 1938), Russell Hicks (Thad Goodwin Sr. - 1861), Willard Robertson (Bob Slocum), Charles Waldron (Thad Goodwin - 1938), George Reed (Ben) C-96m.

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to Motion Picture Herald, this film began as "a fairly representative production in what is still referred to as the 'A' bracket," but studio head Darryl Zanuck, after seeing rushes, decided on using Technicolor for the whole film and increased the budget considerably. According to this review, the cost of the ten-day cross-country promotional tour for the film "cost as much as most better-class westerns." After the opening Civil War sequence, the present day story is introduced by offscreen narration, a device that Motion Picture Herald called "an innovational departure." During this section, which describes the continuation of the tradition of the thoroughbred through improvements in the American racehorse, a number of famous Kentucky-bred champion racehorses are presented, including Gallant Fox, Omaha, Hard Tack, Chance Play and Man of War, who is called the greatest racehorse. According to a publicity program for the film, a location company headed by director David Butler, who himself was a stable owner of eight horses, went to Kentucky to film the Kentucky Derby. Butler obtained the technical advice and help of Matt Winn, the president of the racing board, who, according to the program, was "known as the father of racing in Kentucky"; Howard Oots, who loaned his farm near Lexington for filming; Hal Price Headley, of the Keeneland track; Harkness Edwards, whose Castleton and Walnut Hill Farms were used; and Warren Wright, who donated his famed $2,000,000 Calumet Farms for filming. In addition, a $100,000 set was built at Twentieth Century-Fox's Movietone City to match one of the farms, and extensive filming was done at the Hollywood Track in Inglewood, CA., where the track was transformed using vegetation indigenous to Kentucky. A number of horses awaiting a Santa Anita meet were secured for the film. According to the program, the following ex-jockeys were employed for the film: Willie "Smokey" Saunders and Charlie Burrell, two Kentucky Derby winners; Carl Meyers; Beryle Tatum; Bruce Galbraith; Bob Thompson; Jack Howard; Bob Folkerson; Clyde Kennedy; Dickie Mathis; Al Rampau; A. E. Ricketts; and Jack Gilman. In addition, Frank Herbert, a silk maker for various stables, made the silks for the jockeys in the film.
       According to news items, Don Ameche was originally cast for the male lead, but was replaced by Richard Greene after undergoing a tonsillectomy. According to a May 1938 Hollywood Reporter news item, Arleen Whelan was scheduled for the female lead. Reviewers praised the Technicolor photography, with Variety stating that Loretta Young's "lensing in tints will be accepted as the best of any actress to date." They went on, however, to note that both Young's and Greene's performances were "overshadowed by [Walter] Brennan's brilliant portrayal." Brennan received the Academy Award for Supporting Actor for his performance in this film. Ralph Morgan and James West are listed as cast members in Hollywood Reporter production charts; while Morgan was not in the final film, West's inclusion is unconfirmed.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1938

Released in United States 1938