Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas in Connecticut

Over the weekend, I showed Christmas in Connecticut for our December Old Movie Night. I'd not yet seen this movie, but it had been recommend to me on several occasions and in the interest of not having to watch yet another Christmas movie I've seen thousands of times, I decided to give it a shot.

Remember how I said that young people take kindly to innuendo in old movies? Well this movie is no exception. It's not as blatantly skanky as Some Like it Hot but the implications of some of the dialogue is pretty questionable for a 1945 film.

It goes like this: Barbara Stanwyck plays Elizabeth Lane, a Martha Stuart type who runs a very popular column in a magazine for housewives. The problem is she's far from a housewife. She's single and living a wild life in the city. That's all fine until a dreamy sailor just back from the war wants to visit her farm for Christmas. Her publisher, who's in the dark about her many lies, approves the visit and lands her in quite a pickle.

Enter John Sloan, Elizabeth's special "friend," a mediocre-looking architect who's been proposing to her for years with no success. When she realizes John has a farm in Connecticut, she quickly promises to marry him if he allows her to use his farm to pull off her charade for the holiday and keep her job.

Needless to say, things get sticky and awkward when the dreamy sailor shows up, and still thinking she's married, proceeds to hit on her on more than one occasion. And she, a sort of married woman, can't keep her hands off him. It's a moral dilemma, but it isn't. The whole concept outraged us even though in reality none of it was that shadey. But the characters don't know the reality, so they are a little shadey. It's a deep philosophical question that I'm not going to explore here.

Anyway, you can imagine what kind of insanity ensues when Elizabeth tries to keep up with her lies and the rest of the characters learn more and more of the truth.

By far the best part of the film was Elizabeth's Uncle Felix, played by S.Z. Sakall, everyone's favorite crazy, roly poly actor. He accompanies Elizabeth to Connecticut to help her cook and basically ends up messing with everyone's heads and orchestrating complicated conspiracies. He also comes with his own special catch phrases that don't make sense and provides multiple laugh-out-loud moments.

This film is definitely going on my annual Christmas movie viewing list!


South Loop Connection said...

I love this movie and I love Stanwyck. She was such a great comic actress; I wish she did more comedies. Great post!

Nick said...

It's a great film and Stanwyck was at her best.