All AMC Shows
Movies on AMC
Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
- Top 20 Christmas Movies (#17)
Christmas in Connecticut is a 1945 American Christmas film and romantic comedy directed by Peter Godfrey, and starring Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, and Sydney Greenstreet. 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 for days aboard a raft awaiting rescue. With food in short supply, Jones hallucinates about eating a multi-course meal in a fancy French restaurant. 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.
The story is remarkably complex and underhanded for a) a comedy and b) something dreamed up in 1945. Stanwyck is Elizabeth Lane, a newspaper columnist who writes 'Smart Housekeeping' full of recipes, homemaking, and parenting tips. Turns out, alas, she's a total fraud: She can't cook, she doesn't have a famous farm in Connecticut, and she isn't even married.
Her boss (who isn't in on all of this) invites himself over for Christmas. As a publicity stunt, he's bringing along a war hero, which will soehow make headlines. Naturally this will lead to all kinds of trouble, as Elizabeth can't change a diaper, has to bring in a helper to cook dinner, and, of course, falls in love with the soldier.
While this movie today would have to contend with Martha Stewart's not-quite-what-she-seems image and the problem of misrepresentation in the media -- something that, I guess, didn't exist in the 1940s -- we get the opportunity to see Stanwyck in a wildly screwball comedy, where mess upon mess is made of what ought to be the simplest things. It's not a terribly satisfying story, as the river of deceptions eventually becomes so distasteful it becomes difficult to have much sympathy for Lane's life -- much less applaud the doubling of her salary by the end of the film.
But it's all in reasonably good fun, and Stanwyck actually overcomes the role's limitations. As her boss, Sidney Greenstreet is particularly memorable too -- even though he wouldn't last a day on The Apprentice.