Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
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Barbara Stanwyck stars as a famous expert on marriage, cooking and homemaking who is asked by her publisher to host a national hero for Christmas dinner at her famous Connecticut home. It should be simple, but she must scramble to keep the secret that she's single, can't cook and doesn't own a home. With a lot of help, meticulous planning and split-second timing, the urban sophisticate may succeed . . . but the unforeseen happens when she falls in love with her guest in this classic romantic comedy.]]>
- Vintage Oscar-winning short: "Star in the Night"
- Theatrical trailer
Top Customer Reviews
Being a huge Barbara Stanwyck fan I would have loved this film anyway however in "Christmas In Connecticut" Barbara has never been more winning than as Elizabeth Lane, the know it all columnist for "Smart Housekeeping" magazine in New York who always, (in her reader's minds at least) can wip up the most exquisite culinary masterpieces for any occasion. Barbara was always a very honest actress and brought conviction and feeling to any role she tackled whether it be a devoted mother or a murderess. Here the focus is on comedy as the film tells the very funny story of how after winning country wide fame as the icon of "Smart Housekeeping" her deception starts to unravel as the Christmas season approaches when her publisher Alexander Yardley (a superb Sydney Greenstreet) decides he wants to boost circulation by inviting a returning war veteran to spend Christmas with Elizabeth and her family on her beautiful farm in Connecticut. The only problem here is that Elizabeth has made up everything about her supposedly ideal life, from having a husband, a child, owning a farm in the country and worst of all even being able to cook! What follows is a highly amusing tale as Elizabeth tries to avoid having her deception uncovered. Yardley with more dollars flashing in his eyes however is not easily put off and demands that the war veteran Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan) share in an ideal American Christmas on the farm with Elizabeth and her "family". To make matters worse rather than be alone for the holidays he also invites himself along to experience this ideal Christmas with all the trimmings which creates anxiety for Elizabeth in that she knows Yardley will only except "total honesty" from all his staff, and thus she is in danger of also losing her job because of her deception. Complication piles on complication for Elizabeth as wealthy suitor John Sloan "lends" her his farm and "borrows" a local factory workers child to make up the family she needs and also recruits Felix Bassenak a gourmet chef from the local restaurant to play "Uncle Felix'. He is instructed to "assist" Elizabeth with the cooking because of course as Elizabeth tells Yardley "she taught him everything he knows!!"
"Christmas In Connecicut" is blessed with a wonderful cast that help bring this amusing story to life. Sydney Greenstreet has never been better than in the role of the bombasic Yardley and his reactions to Stanwyck's attempts to flip his pancakes "just as she writes so lovingly about in Smart Housekeeping" are a delight. Dennis Morgan provides the suitable love interest in the story and he is just that right combination of goodlooks and simple sincerity as the returning war veteran. The memorable S.Z. Sakall, a veteran of so many comic performances in countless films literally steals the show as the exasperated "Uncle Felix". His reactions of fear at being found out in the ruse are hilarious. His facial expressions alone are worth watching the film for. Reginald Gardiner has the thankless role of the boring architect John Sloan who is in love with Elizabeth and offers to go along with the story if Elizabeth will promise to marry him. He nevertheless does make something of his character despite being up against the more colourful characters played by Greenstreet and Sakall.
"Christmas In Connecticut" is a delightful romantic comedy from beginning to end and benefits not only from excellent writing but good if unspectacular direction from Peter Godfrey who collaborated with Barbara Stanwyck on two other interesting efforts in "Cry Wolf" and "The Two Mrs. Carrolls". The settings of the film are just right for the Christmas feel whether it be Barbara's small cold water apartment with snow on the balcony or the beautiful country estate with its big open fire, stunning Christmas tree, New England furniture and big windows with views of snow covered fields. Just the setting I've always imagined for an ideal old fashioned Christmas!.
I cannot recommend "Christmas In Connecticut" highly enough for the festive season. It's a simple, old fashioned story filled with good cheer, a warm cosy feel and the ultimate message of caring for other people. As a wonderful holiday treat make sure you find "Christmas In Connecticut" in your Christmas Stocking. Enjoy!.
1) The fashions, the cars, the war bonds drive, the music, the furniture...is there anything in this film that doesn't scream 1945?
2) There are more classic (and perfectly understated) one-liners than any other Christmas comedy of the era.
3) The supporting cast includes many of your favorite 1940s character actors.
4) Barbara Stanwyck!
5) It snows at all the right moments.
This is the perfect Christmas movie to watch while lounging on the Lazy Boy (the chair - not your husband) with the gift Aunt Martha sent you: the family-size can filled with carmel popcorn, cheddar cheese popcorn, and the mystery flavor you can't quite identify.
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