Today I watched Christmas in Connecticut (1945). It’s an old school rom-com starring Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan and Sidney Greenstreet, and came with the highest of recommendations: my mother’s.
And once again she comes through because this was great fun. In short, Stanwyck stars as Elizabeth Lane, a young, single urbanite who writes a household hints column posing as a married mother who lives on a farm, while knowing nothing about households, marriage, kids or farms. When she has to host her editor boss and a handsome war veteran at her “farm” for Christmas, hilarity ensues.
It reminded me a bit of one of my favourite movies, The Man Who Came To Dinner. Maybe because this was also set at Christmas time, full of snappy dialogue and based around an elaborate ruse. Or maybe because Reginald Gardiner was in both films. Either way, this was a similarly enjoyable comedy, filled with hijinks and witty one-liners.
My favourite part was the most comedic, when her guests first arrive and Elizabeth tries desperately to keep up the charade of family life in the country, all while her and her “husband” perform an outrageous Scooby Doo routine to keep all of the different parties away from each other, and the truth. Both scenes with the baby – the bath and then the watch-swallowing incident – are hysterical, and Stanwyck excels herself by always being one step ahead of her own cluelessness.
This is a great romantic comedy because not only is it funny, it is also touching as well. Stanwyck and Morgan share a genuine chemistry on-screen which goes a long way in selling the standard rom-com premise of two strangers falling neatly in love with each other almost immediately upon meeting. You’re really rooting for them to get together in the end.
So with comedy, romance, and a great supporting cast (who bring their own hilarity, particularly “Uncle” Felix), this one is a winner. Definitely comes recommended from both mother and daughter now.