30 Days of Oscar: Day 9 - The Farmer's Daughter

Movie: The Farmer's Daughter
Year: 1948
Nominations: Best Actress (Loretta Young), Best Supporting Actor (Charles Bickford)
Wins/Snubs: According to TCM, it was a huge upset that Young won, over Joan Crawford (for Possessed), Rosalind Russell (for Mourning Becomes Electra), Dorothy McGuire (for Gentleman's Agreement), and Susan Hayward (for Smashed Up: The Story of a Woman).  Young's role is lighter, and supposedly less demanding, than the others.  Edmund Gwenn won for playing Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street, which makes sense to me over Charles Bickford as a meddling servant.  
The Farmer's Daughter is a relatively light film - Katrin "Katie" Holstrom (Young) is a young Swedish-American girl who has saved up enough money to take a nursing course in the city.  Unfortunately, she's robbed on the ride and has too much pride to return to her father broke, so she takes work as a domestic to a local Congressman, Glenn Morley (Joseph Cotton) and his mother, a political operative for the party.  She wears her blond hair in donut braids over her ears and has a touch of an accent - she seems to me like a really horrible cliche most of the way through this part: she's hard working, no nonsense, a little socially awkward and kind of dumb-witted.  She's serving at a party for political fundraising and starts to speak her mind about political issues.  There's a spot open in Congress and Glenn and his mother have chosen a fairly corrupt, slimy politician that Katie doesn't like, so she challenges him at a rally, with facts of his corruption.  He won't back down, but other opponents have polled and they find that Katie has a chance to beat him.  So in 1947, they run an uneducated, plain spoken, honest woman for Congress.  In that sense, I respect this movie for showing something different.  However, if they hadn't thought of it as a farce, I'd have liked it even more.  When they show polls in the newspaper, it's always Katie vs Finley (her opponent's LAST name).  Mostly, the fact that Katie is running for office is treated as a strange anomaly, and thankfully, she still gets the man when Glenn changes party loyalties to support her, and carries her across the Congressional threshold.  So that part of it brought it down for me too.  But, then you look at the fact that this is 1947, so perhaps the leanings toward sexism should be forgiven.  But I think the fact that I saw Gentleman's Agreement which threw those ideas on their head makes me disappointed in the cliches of The Farmer's Daughter.  Alas, one step forward and another step back.  

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