Christmas in Connecticut
|Christmas in Connecticut|
One of theatrical release posters
|Directed by||Peter Godfrey|
|Produced by||William Jacobs|
|Written by||Lionel Houser
Aileen Hamilton (story)
|Music by||Frederick Hollander|
|Cinematography||Carl E. Guthrie|
|Editing by||Frank Magee|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Release dates||August 11, 1945|
|Running time||102 minutes|
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (September 2012)|
During World War II, a German U-boat sinks an American vessel, leaving two survivors, Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan) and Seymour Sinkiewicz (Frank Jenks), stranded aboard a raft. After eighteen days, they are finally rescued and begin their recovery at a hospital, where Jones learns he must go without solid food for a few days. Sinkiewicz tells Jones to use the "ol' Magoo" to get some food from the nurses, who do special favors for patients who are in love with them. Desperate for some real food, Jones follows Sinkiewicz' advice and pretends to be in love with his nurse, Mary Lee (Joyce Compton), and it works. In fact, Jones' pretense works so well that Mary is prepared to marry him.
As a way of escaping Mary's attention, Jones tells her that he's never really known what a real home is like. Determined to see the engagement through, Mary reads an article in a housekeeping magazine by Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck), who writes about her life on a Connecticut farm with her husband and baby. She is a model of domesticity—a gourmet cook admired by housewives across the country. Mary decides to write to the publishing magnate, Mr. Alexander Yardley (Sydney Greenstreet), who owes Mary a favor. She asks if Jones can spend Christmas on Mrs. Lane's Connecticut farm, and Mr. Yardley, sensing a public relations boon, supports the idea wholeheartedly.
There is only one problem with the idea: Elizabeth Lane is not what she appears to be. In reality, she lives in a small apartment in New York City, is unmarried, and cannot cook. She writes the articles simply for the money, and her "five-star" recipes are provided by her friend, Felix Bassenak (S.Z. Sakall), who owns a Manhattan bistro. When she hears of Mr. Yardley's plan, she begins to panic. Mr. Yardley is a stickler for honesty in his publications. She knows that if she owns up to what has been going on, she will be fired along with her editor and friend, Dudley Beecham (Robert Shayne). Lane meets with Mr. Yardley and tries to convince him she couldn't possibly entertain Mr. Jones, but the publishing magnate dismisses her protests. Lane ends up agreeing to the plan, and worse, Mr. Yardley, feeling lonely this Christmas, invites himself to the Connecticut farm to join them for the Christmas holidays.
With time running short, Elizabeth meets Dudley and her friend, John Sloan (Reginald Gardiner) for drinks at Felix's restaurant. Sloan is a pompous architect who has given Elizabeth numerous marriage proposals, none of which she has accepted. Faced with the prospect of losing her job, Elizabeth finally agrees to marry Sloan, who actually lives on a Connecticut farm. She asks Sloan if they can entertain Yardley and Jones at his farm over Christmas, and Sloan reluctantly goes along with the idea. Felix is invited along to do the cooking and pose as her uncle, a favor he is willing to carry out as Elizabeth helped to fund his restaurant business.
At Sloan's picturesque Connecticut farm, Elizabeth meets Nora (Una O'Connor), the housemaid, and a neighbour's baby that they will pretend is their baby. Planning to marry immediately, Elizabeth goes upstairs to freshen up, just as Judge Crothers (Dick Elliott) arrives. The couple and their witnesses assemble in front of the Christmas tree. Felix calls for some music and the ceremony begins. Just then, sleigh bells are heard outside as Jones arrives two hours early and interrupts the ceremony. When Elizabeth and Jones meet, it is love at first sight. But Jones believes Elizabeth is married, and Elizabeth cannot confess that she isn't married. She quizzes him about whether he is in love with anyone and whether he wants to get married. Jones turns out to have had experience with babies, a trait Elizabeth admires. "You would make an excellent father", she comments.
On Christmas Eve, as the party relaxes after dinner, Elizabeth trims the tree while Jones plays the piano and sings a romantic song. Elizabeth is clearly smitten. The phone rings and it is the judge, who will be arriving in 15 minutes. Sloan hustles them all up to bed. Nora is horrified when she sees Sloan ushering Elizabeth into his bedroom. She quits on the spot and is ready to leave the house when Sloan stops her and explains that they need her as a witness. Elizabeth looks for Nora and Felix, but ends up in the kitchen where Yardley and Jones are raiding the refrigerator for a midnight snack. She is about to return to the wedding ceremony when a cow, Macushla, arrives at the kitchen door. Elizabeth has written about a cow in her column, describing how she has to take her cow to the barn to settle it down for the night. Jones and Elizabeth walk the cow to the barn. Elizabeth is clearly having second thoughts about marrying Sloan. She makes some suggestive comments and the couple come close to kissing. However, Jones is not the type to kiss a married woman so the moment passes. As the couple leave the barn, the door slams behind them dislodging snow on the roof, which cascades down on the couple. They wind up lying in each other's arms.
Back at the house, Elizabeth moves her things to the guest room and spends the night there. The next morning, Elizabeth tells Felix what happened the night before. She is clearly in love with Jones and Felix is delighted. Yardley has asked if he can watch Elizabeth flip flapjacks in the morning. Felix coaches Elizabeth but she doesn't succeed. A woman arrives at the door with another baby. Nora minds babies of the women who work in the war plant in the village. This baby is a blond little boy. The previous baby, that Jones and Yardley had seen, was a dark-haired little girl. The baby is handed off to Felix who hustles it out of sight.
When the judge arrives, Sloan and Elizabeth hurry into the library. The ceremony is about to begin when Yardley walks in. They tell him they were married on Christmas Day, and every Christmas they renew their vows. Felix then arrives with bad news: the baby has swallowed his watch! Felix asks the judge to come back later. In the bedroom, alone with Elizabeth and the baby, Felix reveals that he has the watch under his hat. He deliberately created the emergency to hold off the wedding. Everyone heads into the kitchen for breakfast, and Yardley makes the request again to see Elizabeth flip flapjacks. Elizabeth picks up the skillet and, with her eyes closed, successfully flips the flapjack.
A neighbor arrives and invites Sloan and his guests to a community dance that night. Elizabeth relishes the chance to dance with Jones and quickly agrees. That night at the dance, Elizabeth and Jones slip outside, and a horrified Yardley looks on. Jones tells Elizabeth he will be leaving the next day. The two get into a sleigh and the horse takes off. Elizabeth and Jones flirt along the way, seemingly acknowledging their feelings for each other. But Elizabeth does not confess her marital status. The police catch up with the runaway sleigh and take Elizabeth and Jones off to the police station.
Back at the farm, the woman from the war plant arrives to pick up her baby. As she is leaving, she is seen by Yardley who thinks someone is kidnapping the baby. He sounds the alarm by calling the police and newspapers. Elizabeth and Jones return to the farm early the next morning, after spending the night in jail. They wake up the sleeping reporters. Yardley chastises Elizabeth for being out all night and not caring about her missing baby. Elizabeth finally comes clean. Furious, Mr. Yardley fires her.
The doorbell rings and Mary Lee, the nurse from the hospital, arrives. She reveals to Felix that she married Sinkeiwicz, which means that Jones is no longer engaged. Felix entices Yardley into the kitchen with the smell of cooking kidneys. He fabricates a story about a competing magazine's attempts to hire Elizabeth, and Yardley decides to hire her back at double her salary. Felix then goes and tells Jones about Mary Lee breaking their engagement. Elizabeth is packing when first Yardley and then Jones go in to talk with her. She is not aware that Jones knows that she is not married, and doesn't know that he is not engaged. Jones comes on strong, kisses her, and then tells her he knows she isn't married. Finally he admits that he is no longer engaged. The couple kiss again, agreeing to get married.
- Barbara Stanwyck as Elizabeth Lane
- Dennis Morgan as Jefferson Jones
- Sydney Greenstreet as Alexander Yardley
- Reginald Gardiner as John Sloan
- S.Z. Sakall as Felix Bassenak
- Robert Shayne as Dudley Beecham
- Una O'Connor as Norah
- Frank Jenks as Sinkewicz
- Joyce Compton as Mary Lee
- Dick Elliott as Judge Crothers
In 1992, a remake of Christmas in Connecticut was made, starring Dyan Cannon as Elizabeth, Kris Kristofferson as Jefferson Jones, and Tony Curtis as Mr. Yardley. It was directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also made a cameo as the man sitting in front of the media truck. In this remake, Elizabeth "Blane" is the hostess of her own cooking show. When her manager, Alexander Yardley, introduces her to Jefferson Jones—a forest ranger who lost his cabin in a fire—he asks her to make Jones Christmas dinner live on her show. As in the original, Elizabeth isn't as talented as she seems. This version was not as well-received as the original. As one critic wrote, "You'll be hungry for a better movie after suffering through this film."
- Christmas in Connecticut (1945) at the Internet Movie Database
- Christmas in Connecticut (1945) at the TCM Movie Database
- Christmas in Connecticut (1945) at allmovie