Christmas in Connecticut (1945)


Absolutely necessary to watch this movie with some Home-Flipped Flapjacks!

Here is a worthwhile recipe:

Holiday Hidden Gem #5:

“Christmas in Connecticut” (1945) directed by Peter Godfrey is a romantic comedy Christmas film that stars Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan and Sydney Greenstreet. Stanwyck plays Elizabeth Lane, a single journalist who lives in the city and writes about her life as a wife and mother living on a farm. When she is asked to actually showcase the life she has boasted, she finds all the pieces to save face, until one thing that she had not anticipated: falling in love.

Without knowing about her charade, Lane’s publisher, Alexander Yardley (Greenstreet), is unaware of the charade and insists that Elizabeth host a Christmas dinner for returning war hero Jefferson Jones (Morgan), who read all of her recipes while in the hospital and was such a big fan that his nurse, Mary Lee (Joyce Compton), wrote a letter to the publisher. Her friend John Sloan (Reginald Gardiner) and her agree to marry and stay at his farm house, and babysit their neighbors infant pretending its their own, when Yardley and Jones arrive. With the help of cook Felix Bassenak (S.Z. Sakall), she is able to create a convincing meal for the guests and with a little stroke of luck, she is able to pose as a mother who knows what she is doing. Immediately, though, Jones and Lane have an undeniable chemistry and as she is not actually married or in love with Mr. Sloan, she cannot resist pressing Jones for his affection.

It is a classic comedy of errors that unravels in goofy ways, in a well-paced and entertaining series of events. Standwyck is unsurprisingly fantastic and Morgan is completely charming, and their pairing drives the film. As actor-turned-director, Godfrey left us a long filmography of under-recognized, but beloved films and this one is no different. He manages to create a delightful holiday tale, and slips in subtle commentary stripping away the barriers of stereotypical gender roles and leads with a starkly independent female, without designating her to either bland housewife or femme fatale.

There was a radio adaptation in 1952 presented through “Stars on the Air” and a TV adaptaion put on by the Lux Video Theatre in 1956 starring Mona Freeman, Ed Kemmer and Roland Winters. Roughly forty years later came a mostly under the radar made-for-TV remake in 1992 with Dyan Cannon and Kris Kristofferson. Otherwise, the film has only made its lasting legacy through true cinephiles who revisit the depths of Turner Classic Movies, but it deserves more recognition. It is a zany, screwball comedy that will promise some light laughs and can be enjoyed with the entire family. An absolute hidden holiday gem.

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