Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas in Connecticut

TCM has been showing Christmas movies on Thursdays in prime time this month; tonight starts off at 8:00 PM ET with the enjoyable comedy Christmas in Connecticut.

Barbara Stanwyck stars as Elizabeth Lane, a woman writing a Martha Stewart-style column for a popular national magazine, constantly mentioning her Connecticut farmhouse and all the wonderful homestyle things she does there. This all goes well until her publisher, Alexander Yardley (played by Sydney Greenstreet), decides he wants to do something for the war effort at Christmastime. That involves having a sailor, Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan) spend the holiday with Miss Lane. There's only one problem with this, and it's a big problem. Elizabeth can't even boil water, and her food columns documenting her life in Connecticut have been a complete fabrication; in fact, Elizabeth is an elegant New Yorker with a fine apartment and a taste for the high life. What's such a woman to do? She knows she's going to lose her job if the truth comes out, so she decides to make a new truth, that being the one she's been writing about in her columns.

Needless to say, it's no easy feat. Things get even more complicated when the two leads fall in love, since Elizabeth has been writing about having a husband and baby! But, this is a Christmas movie, and you know that, despite all the comedic entanglements that come from trying to keep up a lie by spinning ever bigger lies, everything is going to come out right in the end. Along the way, though, we get a lot of fun from Stanwyck, who was really adept at comedy, and a supporting cast that glitters. In addition to Greenstreet, there's Una O'Connor playing yet another housekeeper; Reginald Gardiner playing Stanwyck's "husband", actually in love with her despite the fact that she feels nothing for him and a lot for poor Dennis Morgan (who can't quite figure out what's going on), and the ever-enjoyable S.Z. Sakall as the chef who has been providing Elizabeth with all her recipes.

Christmas in Connecticut is nothing groundbreaking, but at the holiday season, it's not always important to have something big and important and snazzy; the same old warm things often do. And Christmas in Connecticut does wonderfully; it's an eminently likeable movie that knows it's nothing more than entertainment, but good entertainment at that.

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