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This Christmas gift arrived courtesy of TCM. We had never seen the
film, even though we have seen most of the films of Barbara Stanwyck.
This comedy made us laugh so much, that at times, we had to restrain
ourselves, in order to hear the dialog.
This is a movie that should be seen by people suffering from stressful situations, especially around Christmas. It would certainly lift one's spirits by just letting go. The movie would make a perfect gift in the form of a DVD, or a VHS tape.
"Christmas in Connecticut" was directed with great panache by Peter Godfrey, based on a story by Aileen Hamilton.
The best thing in the movie is the felicitous pairing of two of the most popular stars of that era: Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan. Barbara Stanwyck always played strong willed women, obviously, this was a change of pace for her. In this film, as well as "Lady Eve", Ms. Stanwyck displays a knack for comedy. She and Mr. Morgan, who played in a lot of musical comedies, make a winning combination.
There are no weak performances in the film. Sydney Greenstreet, an actor notorious for playing 'heavies', is a delight to watch as the rich, and fat, Alexander Yardley, the man who owned a media empire and who knew a good thing when he saw it. Reginald Gardiner, an accomplished English actor, adds luster to the stellar cast behind the two principals.
S. Z. Sakall, is another source of continuous mirth; he plays the Hungarian chef Felix,who has a hard time with his own version of the English language. Also, Una O'Connor makes a perfect Norah, the housekeeper in the Sloan perfect Connecticut farm.
In reading other comments in this forum, it's sad to learn that the glorious black and white cinematography is not appreciated by some people. After all, color was not widely used in the 40s, and most of the classic movies have to be seen in its original format because, what would be accomplished in 'coloring' them?
This film should be a requirement for anyone looking to spend almost two hours of uninterrupted fun at Christmas time because total merriment is assured. Watch it with an open mind and heart an maybe you'd like to see "Christmas in Connecticut" every year.
Anyone who has watched the recent remake of 'Christmas in Connecticut'
will fully appreciate just how wonderful the slim story was in the
hands of Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan and Sydney Greenstreet. No
masterpiece, but so much better than the weak remake. The whole film
revolves around the mistaken belief by editor Greenstreet that Stanwyck
(his favorite Martha Stewart-type of writer) is a homemaker with a
house, husband and baby in the country. This, of course, means that the
inventive woman has to enlist the aid of others to play out her scheme
when Greenstreet invites himself and a ship-wrecked sailor (Dennis
Morgan) for the holiday week-end.
The slight comedy develops a few complications along the way--and it all looks very holidayish with the lovely country home in Connecticut--which, thanks to Warner Bros. art decoration, looks like something from a magazine cover. Stanwyck's forte is really heavy drama but here she displays a light enough touch to make her scenes with Morgan and Greenstreet delightful to watch. She gets great support from Una O'Connor, S.Z. Sakall and Reginald Gardiner under Peter Godfrey's light-hearted direction.
It's as unpretentious a confection as a child's homemade Christmas card and just as charming--light and fluffy entertainment that makes no great demands on your viewing pleasure. Worth viewing, especially around the holidays.
From the perspective of the hectic, contemporary world in which we live, the
so called `good old days' always seem so much more serene and innocent; an
idyllic era gone by of which we have only memories and shadows that linger
on the silver screen, as with `Christmas In Connecticut,' a warm and
endearing film directed by Peter Godfrey. Barbara Stanwyck stars as
Elizabeth Lane, a popular `Martha Stewart' type magazine columnist who
writes about life on her beloved farm in Connecticut, always with the latest
recipe at the center of the story. One of her biggest fans is Alexander
Yardley, played by Sidney Greenstreet, the publisher of the magazine for
which she writes. Yardley has never visited her farm, and in response to an
idea expressed to him in a letter from a nurse, Mary (Joyce Compton), he
decides to spend an old fashioned Christmas with Elizabeth, her husband and
child and, as a special guest, a certain Mr. Jefferson Jones (Dennis
Morgan), a sailor just recovered from spending fifteen days at sea on a raft
after his ship was torpedoed. Elizabeth of course cannot refuse her boss,
but there are problems; not the least of which is the fact that she has no
farm and writes her column from the comfort of a high-rise in the city. It
makes for a precarious situation for her as well as her editor, Dudley
Beecham (Robert Shayne), as the one thing Mr. Yardley demands from his
employees is total honesty. What follows is a charming and delightfully
romantic comedy that transports the audience back to a seemingly more simple
time and place, to share a Christmas Past where a warm hearth, good food and
Barbara Stanwyck absolutely sparkles as Elizabeth, with a smile and presence warmer than anything the grandest hearth could provide, and totally convincing as a city girl entirely out of her element on the farm. Morgan also fares well as the somewhat naive sailor, whose trust in his fellow man is admirable. Even with the deceptions being played out around him, he's the kind of guy you know will somehow land on his feet, and in the end it's Elizabeth you really feel for. One of the true delights of this film, however, is Sidney Greenstreet. His Yardley has a gruff exterior, but beneath you know without a doubt that this is a man with a heart as big as Texas. It's a straightforward, honest portrayal, and it's a joy to watch him work; the most memorable scenes in the movie belong to him.
The supporting cast includes Reginald Gardiner (John Sloan), the terrific Una O'Connor (Norah), Frank Jenks (Sinkewicz) and Dick Elliott (Judge Crothers). A feel-good movie that plays especially well during the Christmas Season (though it would work any time of the year), `Christmas In Connecticut' is a memorable film that never takes itself too seriously, is thoroughly uplifting and will leave you with a warm spot in your heart and a sense of peace that makes the world seem like a good place to be. It's a true classic, and one you do not want to miss. I rate this one 10/10.
I first saw this film about 15 years ago, and I have been enchanted by
it ever since. It is such a feel-good experience, that I could happily
watch it at any time of the year. However, to me, it is the ultimate
The fact that it is in B&W is irrelevant - although I often wonder what it would be like in colour. You can just get that warm, glowing feeling watching the Christmas events unfold.
Stanwyck and Morgan are perfect together, and Greenstreet is the antithesis of his usual character, Sakall is a blustering joy to watch.
It is light relief and certainly does not tax the brain, but leaves you feeling glad that you saw it.
I can't wait for it to become available on DVD in the UK. I shall certainly be at the front of the queue to buy it.
This lightweight but pleasant holiday feature makes the most out of a
pretty slim premise, thanks to a solid cast and some resourceful
writing. Not meant to be taken very seriously, it provides easygoing
entertainment with some simple but upbeat themes.
Barbara Stanwyck was an interesting choice as the lead, and she makes it work well enough. The premise of Stanwyck's writer character trying to fool everyone and maintain her image is more suited to screwball comedy than to a holiday feature, but the tone is kept light and funny while having just enough of the holiday atmosphere to be believable. The supporting cast helps out, with the likes of "Cuddles" Sakall and Sydney Greenstreet getting some good moments.
This kind of light but worthwhile feature is not as easy as it looks - as witness the string of crass, barely watchable holiday features of recent years. While hardly anything deep or brilliant, "Christmas in Connecticut" holds up well enough to be among the more enjoyable movies of its kind.
It finally hit me watching my VHS of Christmas in Connecticut what
other film this one reminded me of. If it weren't for the fact that the
other was done 20 years later, I'd say it was a remake.
Just as Rock Hudson was a phony fishing expert for Abercrombie&Fitch who had to get some on the job training at a fishing tournament, Barbara Stanwyck plays an forties version of Martha Stewart.
Stanwyck's a cooking columnist who's built up this whole image of living on a small Connecticut farm with husband and baby cooking all these marvelous delicacies. Trouble is she's unmarried, childless, writes her column from her apartment in New York and doesn't know how to boil water. But her writing is a hit with the public.
Trouble comes when she's hijacked into cooking a home Christmas dinner for a war hero sailor played by Dennis Morgan who gets to sing a couple of songs as well. Got to keep up the image at any cost. And her publisher Sidney Greenstreet likes the idea so well that he invites himself to the dinner.
So with borrowed farm, baby, and Reginald Gardiner who'd like to make it real with Stanwyck she tries to brazen it through.
Christmas in Connecticut's now a Yuletide classic and deservedly so. The leads are warm and human and they get great support from the assembled players. S.Z. Sakall as the Hungarian restaurant owner/friend of Stanwyck from whom she gets her cooking information and Una O'Connor as the housekeeper have a nice chemistry between them. Reginald Gardiner and Stanwyck have no chemistry at all, obvious to all but Reggie and he's funny in his stuffed shirt way.
Most people remember this film as one of Sidney Greenstreet's few ventures into comedy. If he's not an outright villain, a cynical observer of life or a tyrannical tycoon, Greenstreet is few other things on screen. Christmas in Connecticut gave him a rare opportunity to burlesque his own image and he made the most of it.
In a biography of Barbara Stanwyck, she mentions she enjoyed making Christmas in Connecticut as a welcome change from some villainous parts like Double Indemnity she'd been doing recently. One of the things that made doing the film so enjoyable was that between takes, director Peter Godfrey and Greenstreet would do some impromptu entertaining of cast and crew with English Music Hall numbers. Made for a relaxed and warm set and the cast responded accordingly.
Now if only someone had been filming those numbers.
At the time that this movie was made most housewives knew exactly who
Barbara Stanwick was parodying.Today only some women over 50 probably
remember Gladys Taber,whose column "Butternut Wisdom" ran in Family
Circle Magazine from before World War II until the 1970's.She lived on
Stillmeadow Farm in Conecticut,and her columns were collected into a
number of books,Stillmeadow Seasons, Stillmeadow Daybook, etc. The
lines that Barbara Stanwick recites as she types them for her column
are quite typical of the ones that began a typical Gladys Taber
column.Besides cooking and country living,she got rather nostalgic and
philosophical at times.She talked a lot about her favorite dogs, mostly
cocker spaniels.You might say that Martha Stewart is the Gladys Tabor
Christmas is Connecticut may not be any cinematic masterpiece,but it is pleasant,lighthearted entertainment,soothing to the stressed out mind,and that is good enough
This is a screwball comedy disguised as a Christmas movie. I almost prefer Barbara Stanwyck in this than in the Lady Eve. She is a bit less restrained, a bit warmer. She moves with ease in an almost all male cast. The holiday theme is almost incidental, it definitely takes a sideline to the charade in the house of her being a domestic goddess. Barbara Stanwyck carries the movie right through to the end. Her extra slim figure is pleasing in very simply tailored clothes. Your heart almost sinks for her when she is going to be married to the very droll architect. The actual farm setting is fun and makes it more believable. Not very well known, but not to be missed.
Forget Jimmy Stewart reliving his life and opt for this smart comedy of
errors instead. I suppose only institutionalized sexism explains why this
flick and Stanwyck's other great Christmas story, "Meet John Doe" aren't
revered with the same level of love as...well, you know it's
Stanwyck plays a food writer for a McCall's-type rag who has been lying for years to her pompous publisher about the folksy setting for her recipes. She's an ace b.s. artist until the day Morgan's sailor is pulled from the ocean after 18 days afloat & 6 weeks recuperation in a Navy hospital. Released the last year of WWII, the film is dusted with subtle patriotic gestures and holiday nostalgia but never sinks to sentimentality. Stanwyck is sexy and sassy as always and meets her match in the hunky Morgan with whom it's love at first sight. Unfortunately, she has to play married to Gardiner's prissy architect who actually has been seeking her hand for years at his farm in CT, just to fool her boss.
S.Z. Sakall adds a great deal of Hungarian malaprop & double-entendre humor in support as Babs' true source of culinary talent & Una O'Connor is hilarious as Gardiner's obnoxious Irish housekeeper.
Christmas in Connecticut (1945 - Directed by Peter Godfrey)
Barbara Stanwyck stars as a well-known magazine food writer who has been
lying to her millions of fans that she is married with child and lives the
traditional wife/mother role in a lovely country farm house. Magazine editor
Sydney Greenstreet decides that Stanwyck should host returning war veteran
Dennis Morgan at her country house over the Christmas holidays! Yikes!
What's Stanwyck to do? Why marry her long time suitor, architect John Sloan,
(who just happens to have the perfect country house in Connecticut) in a
hurry and high tail it out to Connecticut faster than you can say "I do"
before the boss finds out and she loses her job and becomes the laughing
stock of the country.
This is a charming and lightly played holiday tale that allows Stanwyck to turn in one of her best comedic roles. The movie has all the ingredients for a holiday classic: a farm in the country, lots of snow, mishaps and miscommunications to keep everyone guessing as to how the whole thing will turn out in the end. Of course, Stanwyck never does marry her architect friend and instead falls head over heels with the war hero.
It's one of the lesser known holiday movies, but year by year, is getting more and more attention. If you don't go for the heavily sweet holiday fare, this is just what the doctor ordered.
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