Kitty (1929 film)

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Directed by Victor Saville
Produced by Victor Saville
Written by Benn Levy
Violet E. Powell
Marjorie Young
Warwick Deeping
Starring Estelle Brody
John Stuart
Music by Hubert Bath
Cinematography Jack E. Cox
Edited by Karl Puth
Distributed by British International Pictures
Release date
  • May 1929 (1929-05)
Running time
92 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Kitty is a 1929 British drama film directed by Victor Saville and starring Estelle Brody and John Stuart. The film was adapted from the 1927 novel of the same name by Warwick Deeping and marked the third co-star billing of Brody and Stuart, who had previously proved a very popular screen pairing in Mademoiselle from Armentieres (1926) and Hindle Wakes (1927).

Kitty was initially planned and filmed as a silent, but on its original completion Saville decided to reshoot the latter part with sound. As no suitable facilities were yet available in Britain, Saville, Brody and Stuart travelled to New York to shoot the new sequences at RKO Studios.[1] The film was released in the form of a silent which switched to sound after the half-way point.


In pre-World War I London, handsome young aviator Alex St. George (Stuart) meets and falls in love with shopgirl Kitty Greenwood (Brody). He asks her to marry him, to the horror of his snobbish, class-bound mother (Dorothy Cumming), who is appalled by the notion of her son marrying into a family who run a tobacconists shop. Before the wedding can take place, war breaks out and Alex is called up to serve as a pilot.

Seeing her opportunity to sabotage the relationship, Mrs. St. George sets about trying to poison Alex's mind against Kitty by feeding him via letter a string of malicious and false tales about Kitty's behaviour, alleging that in his absence she is frequently to be seen around town flirting and behaving in an improper manner with other young men. Alex becomes so unnerved and distraught about his mother's stories that his concentration is affected and he crashes his plane, suffering not only critical injuries which leave him in danger of paralysis, but also amnesia.

Alex is repatriated to England for treatment and faces a long and painful physical rehabilitation and the struggle to regain his memory, while at the same time a battle of wills is being waged by his mother and Kitty, both trying to convince him that the other is lying. Eventually Kitty succeeds in rekindling his love for her, and Mrs. St. George is crushed.


Historical significance[edit]

Kitty, released in May 1929, is sometimes cited as the first British sound film as it was released in cinemas before Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail, the other candidate for the honour. Opponents of this view however point out that the sound portion of Kitty was filmed in the U.S., whereas Blackmail was filmed entirely in the UK. Drawing the distinction between "first British film with sound" and "first sound film made in Britain", this view holds that the latter is the true definition of the term and the distinction therefore goes to Blackmail.


  1. ^ Victor Saville (1896-1979) BFI Screen Online. Retrieved 18-08-2010

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