Kentucky (1938)

Genres - Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama, Romantic Drama, Sports Drama  |   Release Date - Dec 1, 1938 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

It hasn't aged as well as the bourbon that shares its name, but Kentucky still has enough charm to make many viewers overlook its defects. The biggest one, related to the time in which it was made, is its stereotypical view of race relations; it's not as offensive as many other films from the 1930s, but there's enough here to make many viewers a bit uncomfortable. Kentucky's other big drawing card -- 3-strip Technicolor -- also is not the novelty it once was, but the colors here really are vivid and give the picture genuine beauty. And speaking of beauty, a youthful Loretta Young has rarely looked more enchanting. She fairly sparkles and is filled with a vivacity that is contagious. Her performance is every so slightly self-conscious in places; this was one of her first starring parts, and she's still feeling her way occasionally. But overall, it's a winning and lovely performance. Walter Brennan is also in fine form, even if his work is not necessarily Oscar-worthy, and Richard Greene makes a fine match for Young and reluctant sparring partner for Brennan. The screenplay -- an updating of Romeo and Juliet, basically -- varies in quality, but it's generally solid, and David Butler's well-paced direction takes advantage of the setting and the yummy colors to very good effect. Even if Kentucky is somewhat flawed, it does offer some rare glimpses of some incredibly gorgeous racehorses.