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Classic Movie Blog
Christmas in Connecticut
Barbara Stanwyck is one of my favorite actresses. She could play anything: Broad comedy, romantic comedy, sophisticated comedy, domestic dramas, soapy stories, thrillers and vivid femme fatales. Noted for her relentless work ethic and affable nature on set, especially to the crew, in 1944 she was the highest paid woman in America.
Christmas in Connecticut was released in 1945 and Stanwyck plays one of her archetype characters: smart, ambitious, hard-working—yet very--single career girl, Elizabeth Lane. She is a popular food and domestic writer, who has fabricated a life, including a husband, child and idyllic farm for her domestic column. Oh, and she cannot cook at all, so she enlists a chef in her neighborhood in New York City, Felix (played by S.Z Sakall) to supply the recipes. Her magazine editor played by Robert Shayne, of course is on the trick, but her publisher, uptight, irascible, Alexander Yardley (Sydney Greenstreet) is not. This poses a problem when a WAC nurse arranges for a decorated returning WWII soldier (Dennis Morgan) to meet Elizabeth Lane at her perfect Connecticut farm for dinner at Christmas. Luckily, a longtime admirer, who Elizabeth has no romantic interest in, is the very rich John Sloan (Reginald Gardnier) he offers to provide the life, the house, everything to save her job—if only she will marry him. Even though she doesn’t love him, she’s desperate, so she agrees.
Of course, nothing goes as planned, but everything moves along at a crisp pace, and complications, plot twists, and silly stuff will have you thoroughly amused. Morgan certainly fit the part of a movie star, tall. Lean and handsome with a beautiful singing voice, but he isn’t exactly exuding charisma on screen. His acting is serviceable. All the colorful supporting actors deliver, however, including a cow, and several misidentified babies.
Then of course there is Ms. Stanwyck, who shines bright in everything she does. She makes everything believable, yet relaxed and glamorous. A woman who was an orphan who worked her way to the top, and charmed millions on the way. One of a kind. She’s great.