7.6/10
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33 user 22 critic

Christmas in July (1940)

When the co-workers of an ambitious clerk trick him into thinking he has won $25,000 in a slogan contest, he begins to use the money to fulfill his dreams. What will happen when the ruse is discovered?

Director:

Preston Sturges

Writer:

Preston Sturges
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dick Powell ... Jimmy MacDonald
Ellen Drew ... Betty Casey
Raymond Walburn ... Dr. Maxford
Alexander Carr Alexander Carr ... Mr. Shindel
William Demarest ... Mr. Bildocker
Ernest Truex ... Mr. Baxter
Franklin Pangborn ... Don Hartman, Radio Announcer
Rod Cameron ... Dick
Adrian Morris Adrian Morris ... Tom (as Michael Morris)
Harry Rosenthal Harry Rosenthal ... Harry
Georgia Caine ... Mrs. MacDonald
Ferike Boros Ferike Boros ... Mrs. Schwartz
Torben Meyer ... Mr. Schmidt
Julius Tannen ... Mr. Zimmerman
Al Bridge ... Mr. Hillbeiner (as Alan Bridge)
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Storyline

An office clerk loves entering contests in the hopes of someday winning a fortune and marrying the girl he loves. His latest attempt is the Maxford House Coffee Slogan Contest. As a joke, some of his co-workers put together a fake telegram which says that he won the $25,000 grand prize. As a result, he gets a promotion, buys presents for all of his family and friends, and proposes to his girl. When the truth comes out, he's not prepared for the consequences. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

If you can't sleep at night, it isn't the coffee - it's the bunk! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 October 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das große Los See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

If adjusted for inflation the grand prize of $25,000 would be equivalent to $421,000 in 2014. See more »

Quotes

Jimmy MacDonald: I don't know whether you've ever had anything like this happen to you, Dr. Maxford, but to be poor and unknown one minute and be sitting on top of the world the next minute - that's a feeling that *nobody* can ever take away from me.
Dr. Maxford: Well, I'll be... I'll be... I'll be...
Jimmy MacDonald: To know I won this contest because I thought up a better slogan than anyone else means more to me than anything else on earth and I'll tell ya why...
Dr. Maxford: If you wou -
Jimmy MacDonald: You see, I used ta *think* that maybe I had good ideas and was ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Telephone (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

When We're Along (Penthouse Serenade)
(1931)
Words & Music by Will Jason and Val Burton
Used as background music behind Dick Powell and Ellen Drew in rooftop scene, and later throughout the film.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Community jest...
4 February 2009 | by jc-osmsSee all my reviews

Short and sweet, bright and breezy, but not without pith, this early Preston Sturges feature helped further establish his "wonder-kid" reputation in the early 40's before his great classics "Sullivan's Travels", "The Lady Eve" and my favourite "Hail The Conquering Hero".

The simple premise of a hoax win in a national coffee-slogan competition for ordinary average nice-guy Powell is the springboard for a light morality tale along the lines of "he who does good has good things happen to them" - although not without the usual series of ups and downs, just as you'd expect.

Of course nobody here is really bad, even the duped killjoy Mr, no make that Dr Maxford of the sponsoring coffee company or Mr Shindler of the too-trusting department store from whom Powell buys gifts for the whole neighbourhood on the strength of the phony winning telegram placed on his desk by his prankster work colleagues. Even when he finds out that his win is bogus, Powell can't get angry at the tricksters, so it's no real surprise that his homeliness, honesty and humility wins everyone over, including his feisty girl-friend, played by Ellen Drew, with the predictable twist in the last reel that Powell's slogan wins anyway.

Powell is very likable in the lead, although Drew is a little too high-pitched in delivery for my taste as the film develops. There's the usual troop of madcap eccentrics which peoples almost every Sturges comedy, with some nice little cameos, I particularly liked the actor playing the deadpan cop, not above making some contemporary allusions to Hitler & Mussolini to stress a point.

The dialogue of course is mile-a-minute vernacular and I got a kick out of Sturges' Dickensian word-play over triple-barrelled lawyer's names (along the lines of "Swindle Cookum and Robbem!"). Right from the start, we get the "screwball comedy" template of a poor Joe and his girl, dreaming of something bigger waiting for something extraordinary to happen, with Powell and Drew's extended night-time scene on their New York apartment roof-top, and succeeding entertaining scenes including Powell's reaction to "winning" the competition and best of all the frenetic crowd scene when Maxford tries to get his money back only to cop a batch of rotten fruit ("Don't throw the good stuff" admonishes one parent to a tomato-wielding youngster), it's all good clean fun and ends up happily ever after. And get a load of that "zoom" shot back into Maxford's office at the end - it certainly got me out of my chair, not the last time Sturges employed camera tricks of this type - remember the memorable stop-start sequence to "The Palm Beach Story".

The movie celebrates community, the little guy who dreams of making it big and how to meet disaster with alacrity, in short a feel-good movie with a big heart, well worth an hour and four minutes of anyone's time.


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