The Farmer's Daughter (1947 film)

The Farmer's Daughter is a 1947 American comedy film that tells the story of a farmgirl who ends up working as a maid for a Congressman and his politically powerful mother. It stars Loretta Young, Joseph Cotten, Ethel Barrymore, and Charles Bickford, and was adapted by Allen Rivkin and Laura Kerr from the Finnish play Juurakon Hulda by Hella Wuolijoki, using the pen name Juhani Tervapää (misspelled in the film's credits as Juhni Tervataa). It was directed by H.C. Potter.

The Farmer's Daughter
theatrical release poster
Directed byH. C. Potter
Produced byDore Schary
Written byAllen Rivkin
Laura Kerr
Based onJuurakon Hulda (play)
by Hella Wuolijoki
StarringLoretta Young
Joseph Cotten
Ethel Barrymore
Charles Bickford
Music byLeigh Harline
CinematographyMilton R. Krasner
Edited byHarry Marker
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures Inc.
Release date
  • May 25, 1947 (1947-05-25) (Premiere-New York City)[1]
  • May 26, 1947 (1947-05-26) (U.S.)[1]
Running time
97 minutes
Box office$3.3 million (US rentals)[2]

The film won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Loretta Young and was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Charles Bickford. Young's win was considered an upset; everyone had expected Rosalind Russell to win for her Lavinia in Mourning Becomes Electra.

In 1963, a television series based on the film was produced, starring Inger Stevens, Cathleen Nesbitt and William Windom.


Katie Holstrom (Loretta Young), a Swedish-American, leaves the family farm to go to nursing school in Capitol City. Barn painter Adolph Petree (Rhys Williams), who had completed a job for Katie's father, offers her a ride, but robs her of her money. Katie, refusing to ask her family for help, goes to work as a maid in the home of political power broker Agatha Morley (Ethel Barrymore) and her son, U.S. Representative Glenn Morley (Joseph Cotten). Soon, she impresses Agatha and her loyal majordomo Joseph Clancey (Charles Bickford) with her refreshing, down-to-earth common sense and Glenn with her other charms.

Unexpected problems arise when the Morleys and the other leaders of their political party select a replacement for a deceased congressman; they pick the unscrupulous Anders J. Finley (Art Baker). Knowing of the man, Katie strongly disapproves of their choice. She attends a public meeting arranged to introduce Finley and begins asking pointed, embarrassing questions. The leaders of the opposition party are impressed and offer her their backing in the coming election. When she accepts, Katie reluctantly has to quit her job, much to Glenn's annoyance.

When Katie's campaign picks up support (with the help of some coaching from Glenn), Finley resorts to smearing her reputation. He pays Petree to claim Katie spent the night with him when he gave her a ride. As a result, Katie becomes so distraught, she runs home. Glenn learns of the chicanery, follows her and proposes to her.

After hearing the news of her son's engagement, Agatha, with her butler's help, gets Finley drunk and tricks him not only into revealing that he is secretly a member of an extreme nativist political group [3]and that he bribed Petree, but also that he has him safely hidden away at his isolated lodge. With the help of Katie's three big, strong brothers (James Arness, Lex Barker, Keith Andes), Glenn takes Petree away from the goons Finley assigned to watch him, and makes him confess over the radio. Agatha withdraws her party's support from Finley and endorses Katie, ensuring her election. In the final scene, Glenn carries Katie across the threshold of the United States House of Representatives.


In addition, Gus Stavros appears as a background extra in the film.[4]


Critical response

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 100% based on 7 reviews with an average rating of 7.08/10.[5]


Because of rumours that Joseph Cotten and Ingrid Bergman were having an affair, Miss Bergman was replaced by Loretta Young.[6]


  1. "The Farmer's Daughter: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  2. "Top Grossers of 1947", Variety, 7 January 1948 p 63
  3. (Per the actual movie)
  4. Robert Trigaux (September 15, 2012). "In stepping back, legendary philanthropist Gus Stavros leaves a void". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  5. "The Farmer's Daughter (1947)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  6. Cotton, Joseph Vanity Will Get You Somewhere 2000 iUniverse
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