Holiday Movie Marathon 2021 - Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
Christmas movies are a pretty big blind spot for me, so here’s to a whole month of getting smothered with the Christmas spirit with some of the best in the genre.
Way before the likes of Lacey Chabert and the disgraced Lori Loughlin, Barbara Stanwyck was the queen of Christmas movies. If this wasn’t official then it should be. Christmas in Connecticut is probably the purest comedy out of the three movies I have seen so far in this marathon with her in it, and she is delightful. I am used to seeing her as worldly, smart women in her movies, so seeing her in a movie where flustered is kind of the main note that she plays is quite fun. As a food writer who pretends to be the model of domesticity, her performance is a sly rebuke to the inflexible roles that women were assigned to during this time. It also gets fun when it turns out the main love interest, a homesick soldier played by Dennis Morgan who sought comfort in her writing, is actually better at the household chores than she is. I assume co-screenwriter Adele Comandini and Aileen Hamilton are mostly responsible for getting Stanwyck’s character so right on the page. It’s also fun to see a mini Casablanca reunion with Sydney Greenstreet playing Stanwyck’s editor and S.Z. Sakall playing the Hungarian chef whose recipes Stanwyck uses are quite funny in their own ways. Also, the scenes with Stanwyck pining for Morgan’s character are wonderfully romantic and flirtatious and skirt the Hays Code like crazy with the suggestion that an apparently married woman is thinking of leaving her (sham) marriage and going after a single man.
Holiday Spirit Quotient: 7 out of 10 glasses of fresh milk. This isn’t so much focused on Christmas as it is Barbara Stanwyck’s comedy of errors, but the assumed ideas of domesticity associated with Christmas are a central theme nevertheless.