Christmas in Connecticut
I watched the old, crisp-black-and-white, 1945 “Christmas in Connecticut” last night, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan. It is official. I am into Christmas. And I LOVE this movie (I have for almost 30 years, now).
Barbara Stanwyck plays Elizabeth Lane, a writer for a homemaking magazine, and just seeing it again last night made me laugh at myself, for I think I truly have emulated her food-writing style. It obviously has impacted my romanticism in regards to writing about the “homely arts.” She is gorgeous and tough, she is smart and sassy. She is self-sufficient and alluring. She absolutely sparkles in this sweet and silly old movie.
And the fur coat? I have it! I actually bought the exact same style of coat (made in the 40s) at an antique shop in Sioux City, Iowa in 1987. I want to be Elizabeth Lane!
I’m wishin’ that I may
I’m wishin’ that I might
Have the wish that I wish for tonight
Spoiler Alert…may give away some things (hopefully just makes you want to see it)
In the movie she is a city-girl journalist who can’t even boil water, but is forced to play farm wife and mother for her boss who doesn’t know her writing isn’t actually from a farm in Connecticut. Barbara Stanwyck is elegantly charming and totally lovable enlisting help from the men her life to pull this off: the horribly pretentious, prissy bore of an architect she is engaged to marry and Uncle Felix, the restaurant owner from whom she gets all her recipe copy. They set out to create the “Elizabeth Lane” persona for her boss, who has invited a war-hero sailor to spend Christmas with them at the farm.
When the hunky sailor shows up, the usually-cool Elizabeth knows she has met her match.
I adore the script-
Nora: I’ve never flipped in me life and I’m not gonna start flippin’ now for no man.
Felix: Nobody needs a mink coat but the mink!
Elizabeth Lane(about her boss): Every time I opened my mouth, he talked. I felt like Charlie McCarthy.
And watch for the “Christmas-card” scene. You know, like in “Holiday Inn,” and “White Christmas?” There is a moment when they take you to the Connecticut farm and it is snowy and there are sleigh bells and suddenly your heart is just pulled in to the story: this is what every Christmas should be, you feel, as the music rises majestically and you are magically transported to the fire-y hearth and can practically smell the good old Irish stew simmering from the kitchen…
It’s lighthearted, totally silly, borrowed babies, fake marriages, a nosy and overpowering magazine publisher, a little farcical and one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies. The really talented cast manages to create some well-defined and lovable characters. I am telling you, suspend some disbelief and just enjoy a “Christmas in Connecticut.” It’ll make you smile. And then we can talk more about it when I won’t be ruining it for you!
The 1945 Trailer
See? I mean, come on!
P.S. Believe me when I tell you that the early 90’s remake (Arnold Schwartzeneggar’s directorial debut, I think) was not nearly as wonderful, but it does have the beautiful Dyan Cannon – so that is something, I guess.