Kentucky

An Introduction to the Film Kentucky

Kentucky is an American love story in the same vain as the tale of Romeo and Juliet. It was released in December 1938 as one of the earlier Technicolour films.

The story which was written by Lamar Trotti and John Taintor Foote is about two lovers, Jack and Sally, who are stuck in the midst of a family feud which dates back to the Civil war. The story’s premise is based around Kentucky horseracing.

Some Information about the Film Kentucky

David Butler directed the film which stars Loretta Young, Richard Greene and Walter Brennan. It is a 20th Century Film produced by Gene Markey and Darryl F Zanuck. The films music was done by Lois Silvers.

Kentucky is a 96 minute long English film that is coloured by Technicolour. Walter Brennan who played the role of Peter Goodwin won his second academy award for the role as best supporting actor.

The Family Feud in Kentucky

The background, yet symbolic, storyline about the feud between the two family’s dates back to the Civil war. This is the prologue to the film and begins with a tragedy over the one family’s consideration and support for the Confederation while the other family thrives in its dedication to the Union.

Thad Goodwin of Elmtree Farm is a local horse breeder who sympathizes with the Confederation. He resists Captain Dillon and a company of Union soldiers who are there to confiscate his prize horses. During the struggle he is killed by Captain Dillon and his young son, Peter, is left crying. This tragedy begins the feud between the two families which is kept alive with Peter’s hatred of the man who killed his father.

In the modern day sequences of the film as well as those of the Civil war, the families are surrounded by black servants who are presented in a denigrating manner. George Reed however plays the role of one character who stands out and is said to even supersede the leading cast members. He plays an old crafty reprobate who plays both families for his own benefit even though he had been working on one farm for 50 years. With no commitment to either family, especially as he had been fired, he bankrolls his own pocket.

Summary of the Film’s Plot

Apart from the underlining tale of the feud between the two families, Kentucky revolves around two different plots. Namely, the fact that Sally, the beautiful niece of the proud Peter, is being courted by and is beginning to fall in love with Jack, the son of the rival family. Jack however has yet to tell her of his real identity which he keeps secret.

The other plot revolves around the horses and how Jack assists Sally, first with her sick horse, Bessie Boy, then with the training of a horse called Bluegrass, which she obtains from his family through an old bet that Captain Dillon owed Thad Goodwin. Bluegrass is meant to be competing in the Kentucky derby and, if successful, will restore her family’s glory and pride while ending the decline of the family’s fortune.

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