Christmas in Connecticut

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Christmas in Connecticut
ChristmasInConnecticut.jpg
a theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Godfrey
Screenplay byLionel Houser
Adele Comandini
Story byAileen Hamilton
Produced byWilliam Jacobs
StarringBarbara Stanwyck
Dennis Morgan
Sydney Greenstreet
CinematographyCarl E. Guthrie
Edited byFrank Magee
Music byFrederick Hollander
"The Wish That I Wish Tonight" (song), music and lyrics by Jack Scholl and M. K. Jerome[1]
Color processBlack and white
Production
company
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release dates
  • July 27, 1945 (1945-07-27) (NYC)
  • August 11, 1945 (1945-08-11) (US)
  • [1] ([1])
Running time
102 or 104 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$864,000[2]
Box office$3 million[3] or $4,132,000[2]

Christmas in Connecticut is a 1945 American Christmas romantic comedy film about an unmarried city magazine writer who pretends to be a farm wife and mother and then falls in love with a returning war hero. The film was directed by English director Peter Godfrey and stars Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan and Sydney Greenstreet.[4]

Plot[edit]

Barbara Stanwyck as Elizabeth Lane in Christmas in Connecticut

Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) is a single New Yorker, employed as a food writer. Her articles about her fictitious Connecticut farm, husband, and baby are admired by housewives across the country. Her publisher, Alexander Yardley (Sydney Greenstreet), is unaware of the charade and insists that Elizabeth host a Christmas dinner for returning war hero Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan), who read all of her recipes while in the hospital and is so fond of her that his nurse, Mary Lee (Joyce Compton), wrote a letter to the publisher. Facing a career-ending scandal, not only for herself but for her editor, Dudley Beecham (Robert Shayne), Lane is forced to comply. In desperation, Elizabeth agrees to marry her friend, John Sloan (Reginald Gardiner), who has a farm in Connecticut. She also enlists the help of her chef friend and "honorary uncle" Felix Bassenak (S. Z. Sakall), who has been providing her with the recipes for her articles.

At Sloan's farm on Christmas Eve, Elizabeth meets Norah (Una O'Connor), the housekeeper, as well as a neighbor's baby whom they pretend is their baby. Elizabeth and John plan to be married immediately by Judge Crothers (Dick Elliot), but the ceremony is interrupted when Jefferson arrives early. Elizabeth is smitten and it is love at first sight.

The judge returns on Christmas morning, but the ceremony is postponed when a different neighbor's baby is presented instead of the one from the day before. The household is alarmed when Felix claims that the baby has swallowed his watch. After the judge leaves, Uncle Felix admits to Elizabeth that he had lied about the watch to stop the wedding. While the household attends a local dance, the baby's real mother arrives to pick up her baby. Alexander witnesses her leaving with the child and assumes someone is kidnapping the baby. Elizabeth and Jefferson spend the night in jail, mistakenly charged with stealing a neighbor's horse and sleigh, and return to the farm early the next morning. Alexander chastises Elizabeth for being out all night and accuses her of neglecting her child. Elizabeth finally confesses all. Furious, Alexander fires her.

Jefferson's fiancée, Mary Lee, arrives unexpectedly. Dejected, Elizabeth retires to pack her things and leave the farm. Felix learns that Mary Lee has already married someone else and must break the engagement. He entices Alexander into the kitchen with the smell of cooking kidneys. He fabricates a story about a competing magazine's attempts to hire Elizabeth, and Alexander decides to hire her back. Felix tells Jefferson that he is free to pursue Elizabeth. Elizabeth's packing is interrupted, first by Alexander, and then by Jefferson. After teasing her that he is a cad who woos married women, Jefferson reveals the truth. The couple kiss and plan to marry.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Principal photography took place from late May to late July 1944. Bette Davis was originally announced in February 1944 as the female lead for the film, but was replaced by Stanwyck in April. Stanwyck's suitor, played in the film by Reginald Gardiner, was originally to have been played by John Alexander.[1] Sydney Greenstreet and director Peter Godfrey kept the cast amused on the set during filming.[5] Edith Head designed Barbara Stanwyck's gowns for the film and Milo Anderson designed additional gowns.[6]

Reception[edit]

The film was a big hit, earning $3,273,000 domestically and $859,000 in overseas markets.[2] It has an 88% score on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 17 reviews.[7] Critic Emanuel Levy noted that "If this mildly amusing screwball comedy about mistaken identity has a conservative slant of glorifying housewives it's due to the zeitgeist: It was made in 1945, at the end of WWII, when men were coming home and women sent back to the kitchen."[8]

Radio adaptation[edit]

Christmas in Connecticut was presented on Stars in the Air on March 20, 1952. The 30-minute adaptation starred Gordon MacRae and Phyllis Thaxter.[9]

Television adaptation[edit]

The Lux Video Theatre presented a one hour version on December 13, 1956 starring Mona Freeman, Ed Kemmer and Roland Winters.[10]

Remake[edit]

A remake of Christmas in Connecticut was made in 1992, starring Dyan Cannon as Elizabeth, Kris Kristofferson as Jefferson Jones, and Tony Curtis as Mr. Yardley. The made-for-TV movie, which first aired on TNT, was directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also had a cameo appearance. 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".[4][11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Christmas in Connecticut at the American Film Institute Catalog
  2. ^ a b c Warner Bros financial information in The William Shaefer Ledger. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1-31 p. 25 DOI: 10.1080/01439689508604551
  3. ^ Schatz, Thomas (1999). Boom and Bust: American Cinema in the 1940s. University of California Press. p. 229.
  4. ^ a b "Christmas in Connecticut". Internet Movie Database. 11 August 1945. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  5. ^ Mankiewicz, Ben (November 24, 2021) Intro to Turner Classic Movies showing
  6. ^ Christmas in Connecticut timestamp 00:43
  7. ^ "Christmas in Connecticut" – via www.rottentomatoes.com.
  8. ^ https://emanuellevy.com/article.php?articleID=8365
  9. ^ Kirby, Walter (March 16, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 44. Retrieved May 23, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  10. ^ "Christmas in Connecticut". IMDb. 13 December 1956.
  11. ^ Null, Christopher. "Christmas in Connecticut". AMC. Retrieved 13 November 2014.

External links[edit]