CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT gave Barbara Stanwyck some welcome and timely comic relief after the hot murderess she best served cold in Double Indemnity. There’s fraud and deceit in this misadventure, too, but instead of a slinking vixen parboiling randy ganders for money and spite, here her smiles are sweet and the guile genuine, playing Santa’s elf to a swell sailor, saved from the war.
Food writer ‘Elizabeth Lane’ (Stanwyck) has a hugely popular column, entertaining readers with recipes and stories about her farm, husband and baby. Her publisher (Sidney Greenstreet) sees a circulation boost in the stars by doing the patriotic thing and inviting war hero ‘Jefferson Jones’ (Dennis Morgan) to Elizabeth’s country home for Christmas dinner. What the excited publisher and grateful sailor don’t know is that while Elizabeth is an imaginative writer, she isn’t married, has no child, and can’t cook. All her recipes come from a chef who owns a restaurant. Therefore, a husband and child must be produced. And the food.
Pleasant comedy goes pretty much where you can guess, directed with competence if not flair by Brit ex-pat Peter Godfrey, written by Lionel Houser and Adele Comandini. Moderately amusing, it caught the victory wave when it was released just as the war ended in August, 1945. Crowds took to the good-natured lark, making it the 22nd most popular picture of the year. Produced for $864,000, with grosses piling up to $4,132,000, the lightweight nostalgia piece has kept place for many as a nice little holiday ornament to dust off come December.
Stanwyck is good (always nice to see her in a comedy), Morgan genial, and along with Greenstreet support comes from Reginald Gardiner, as the guy pressed in as husband (he really wants to marry her, see), and S.Z. Sakall, doing his “cuddles” bit once again (too much if you’re not extra fond of it) as Stanwyck’s cuisine beard.
With Joyce Compton, Una O’Connor, Robert Shayne, Dick Elliott, Blossom Rock, John Dehner. 101 minutes.