Christmas in Connecticut, from 1945, was directed by Peter Godfrey. Although originally released for some reason in August, 1945, the film has gone on to become a holiday classic.
Barbara Stanwyck shines in this warm, charming and funny Christmas classic. This origional story by Aileen Hamilton will certainly bring a smile to your face and put you in the right mood around the holidays.
Christmas in Connecticut may not get mentioned as often as Holiday Inn or White Christmas, but you'll find yourself watching it every December after seeing it for the first time.
Barbara Stanwyck, was born Ruby Katherine Stevens & when she was four, her mother was killed when a drunken stranger pushed her off a moving streetcar.
Two weeks later, her father joined a work crew digging the Panama canal and was never seen again. So Ruby and her brother Byron were raised by their sister Mildred.
In 1923, when she was 15, Ruby auditioned for a place in the chorus at the Strand Roof, a night club over the Strand Theatre in Times Square. A few months later she got a job as a Ziegfeld girl in the 1922 and 1923 editions of the Ziegfeld Follies.
For the next several years, Ruby worked as a chorus girl, performing from midnight to seven a.m. at various nightclubs. She also occasionally served as a dance instructor at a speakeasy for gays and lesbians and questions about her sexual preference followed her throughout her career.
Ruby adopted the stage name of Barbara Stanwyck; the "Barbara" came from Barbara Frietchie and the "Stanwyck" from English actor Jane Stanwyck.
Stanwyck was known for her accessibility and kindness to the backstage crew on any film set. She knew the names of their wives and children, and always asked after them by name.
Stanwyck starred in almost 100 films during her career and received four nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress. When Stanwyck's film career declined in 1957, she moved to television.
The 1965–1969 Western series The Big Valley on ABC made her one of the most popular actresses on television, winning her another Emmy.
Rumors of Stanwyck's sexuality have lingered for decades, with it being said that she was in fact lesbian or bisexual, and that she'd had an affair with actress Tallulah Bankhead, during the same time frame that Bankhead was having her affair with actress Patsy Kelly.
While such rumors were never confirmed by Stanwyck, similar stories about her are featured in books about lesbians in Hollywood. Despite rumours of affairs with Marlene Dietrich and Joan Crawford, Stanwyck wed Robert Taylor, who had gay rumours of his own to dispel.
Their marriage started off on a sour note when his possessive mother demanded he spend his wedding night with her rather than with Barbara. Stanwyck and the boyishly sweet Morgan have solid chemistry, although it's restricted to G-rated flirting since he thinks she's married.
There's also a wonderful performance from Greenstreet, who plays a more genial character than usual. This romantic comedy is a must if only to see that most cosmopolitan of screen villains, the rotund Sydney Greenstreet, dancing a reel with Barbara Stanwyck.
Not only does he dance but he also laughs, smiles, relaxes, and rescues a kidnapped baby. Greenstreet, cast against type as a media mogul and the merriest of gourmands, manages to steal this picture away from its top-billed stars, Stanwyck and the sweet-faced Irish tenor Dennis Morgan. And he does it without appearing as Santa Claus.
Sydney Greenstreet was born in England, the son of a leather merchant, and was one of 8 children. He left home at age 18 to make his fortune as a Ceylon tea planter, but drought forced him out of business and back to England.
In 1992, there was a made-for-TV remake of the 1945 film, the first and only directorial experience by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger but it failed at the box office. Greenstreet partially inspired the appearance of Jabba the Hut in the Star Wars series.
When asked what the intergalactic gangster should look like by the designer, George Lucas replied, "A big blob, a huge mass of matter." The designer immediately thought of Greenstreet in Casablanca (1942).
At one point during the production, a fez was placed on Jabba's head, to make him look like Greenstreet. His film career lasted a mere eight years and ended more than fifty-five years ago, yet he is one of the best remembered and most recognizable of all film actors.
Of the only 23 movies he appeared in, nine were with co-star Peter Lorre. This movie has become be a holiday TV staple. Light and funny, it's a great accompaniment for a present-wrapping session.
The film's endorsement of housewifery over working outside the home is obvious, but to the film's credit its attitude is a heartily self-mocking one.
It's a simple, old fashioned story filled with good cheer, a warm cosy feel and the ultimate message of caring for other people. There are more classic (and perfectly understated) one-liners than any other Christmas comedy of the era. Another highlight is the film's delightful focus on food.
Everyone seems to be either eating or talking about food here, from Jeff and his pal detailing the meals they can't wait to eat once they get out of the hospital, to the rotund Yardley's total dismissal of the concept of diet while at the farm, to Felix arguing over cooking and use of the farm's kitchen with the cook, Nora.
The movie is so unrepentant and downright brazen in its love of food that it seems practically sinful from our point of view today, when denying the sensuous pleasures of food is supposedly a virtue.
And S.Z. Sakall steals the show as the wily chef Felix, who is determined to see "Lizka" live happily ever after with Jones.
All in all, though, this is all very fluffy and silly and perfectly wonderful. Christmas in Connecticut will have you longing for the pure & simple times of days gone by.
Christmas In Connecticut is a memorable film that never takes itself too seriously, is thoroughly uplifting and will leave you with a warm spot in your heart and a sense of peace that makes the world seem like a good place to be.