Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas In Connecticut (1945)

You may have heard about the 12 Days of Christmas Movies that Sally from Flying Down to Hollywood is hosting. If not, head over to her blog for more info on it.  

For my movie I chose Christmas In Connecticut, a 1945 film starring Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Sydney Greenstreet (you may recognize him from Casablanca), Reginald Gardiner, and S.Z. Sakall (he was in Casablanca, too!). And this film just happens to be the one featured in the badge Sally made for the event (above).

It had been a while since I saw this movie, and I remembered it as a terrific and fun holiday/screwball comedy. It was all that, but sometimes I have a tendency to mentally overbuild movies I haven’t seen in a while. Sometimes I think the best way to view a movie is with no preconceived notions or expectations. Still, this is a very enjoyable movie that clips along at a steady pace and keeps the audience interested. 

The plot is really quite a clever one: Elizabeth Lane (Stanwyck), author of a successful feature in Smart Housekeeping magazine is roped into hosting a war hero (Morgan) at her Connecticut farmhouse with her family for the holidays. The only problem is…Elizabeth doesn’t have a farmhouse…or a family. And in real life, she knows nothing about the cooking and housekeeping topics she is so famous for writing about.

This was a great scene. I love how they are all hovering over. And isn’t
Stanwyck’s outfit adorable?

Though the plot is entertaining, and the script sufficient, what really keeps this film ticking is the great character actors and moments of screwball situation zaniness. It’s especially fun to see Elizabeth attempt to adapt to all the domestic activities that she is supposed to be such an expert on—from flipping flapjacks to trying to bathe a baby, Stanwyck is great as always. Dennis Morgan is perhaps one of the weaker links in the film, however (at least in my opinion). His role is basically to just stand around looking handsome in his uniform and [*SPOILER ALERT*] fall in love with Elizabeth from the moment he sets his eyes on her. I know this movie isn’t meant to be taken too seriously, but he just strikes me as a bit of a cad to run after a woman that he thinks is married. But maybe I’m just over-thinking things. I do give his character props for being cute with the baby. That was pretty adorable. While we’re talking about spoilers, what happened to Reginald Gardiner’s character at the end? Am I the only one who felt kind of sorry for him? [*End of spoiler*] The rest of the cast (even minor characters) are spot on, though, and this film has some really, really funny lines and sequences in it.

Holiday Cheer: 2/10 Although this takes place around Christmas, that is just the backdrop. A tree is trimmed and a carol is sung, but that’s not the main focus.

Feel-Good feeling: 6/10 The cozy New England setting and pure escapism of this comedy definitely give it some feel-good factor. It’s not really a warm-and-fuzzy type of film, though.

Overall, this is a a lovely screwball comedy that just happens to take place at Christmas. If you haven’t seen it, I would definitely check it out. Make some popcorn, grab your family, and enjoy this amusing and delightful flick.

P.S. An interesting trivia fact about this film that I did not know (thanks, IMDb) is that this farmhouse set was the same one used in Bringing Up Baby (1938).

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post Audrey. I knew would you write a great for this film,my favorite Christmas movie and Stanwyck film of all time. I agree with everything you said. Babs was awesome as Elizabeth Lane. Her scenes trying to perform duties around the house are classic. And I agree she dressed phenomenal in this film. Thanks for adding about the fact the house was the same one used in Bringing up Baby. I did not know that. And kudos for that last photo of Babs and Dennis Morgan making cute for the camera, I'd never seen that photo anywhere. I may have to borrow it to use on my blog for a new post about Babs. Once again, great job Audrey.


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