‘Christmas in Connecticut:’ Get The Cozy Fires Burning For This Holiday Classic
In this romantic comedy of winter wonderland errors, Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) writes a popular column titled “Diary of a Housewife” for Smart Housekeeping magazine. Her New York apartment is a far cry from the Connecticut farmhouse life extolled in her columns, and her famous recipes are furtively supplied by a Hungarian chef named Felix Bassenak (S.Z. Sakall). It’s a great job — Elizabeth has just purchased her first mink coat — but the ruse is torpedoed by a request from her publisher, Alexander Yardley (Syndey Greenstreet), to put on a country Christmas for Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan), a sailor recovering from a German U-boat attack. As luck would have it, her dreary architect friend John Sloan (Reginald Gardiner) has such a country home, and Elizabeth dangles wedding bells if he will go along with the charade. With Felix in tow to help with kitchen magic, everything looks like it just might work. But then Jefferson shows up with a smile that makes Elizabeth’s toes glow, followed by Yardley himself, who has decided he wants to have some of that famous goose too.
What follows is a madcap round of follies of Elizabeth keeping the truth from Yardley while falling in love with Jefferson. There’s lots of snow and sleighs, a roaring fire and a big Christmas tree to keep spirits bright for all of us. (Not that you were wondering, but everything turns out magical in the end.) Stanwyck was just off a torrid, Oscar-nominated performance in Double Indemnity, and you can’t help feeling that she took special delight in the comic antics of this film. Greenstreet and director Peter Godfrey, both veterans of the London stage, kept the backstage fires burning too, reportedly keeping cast and crew in fits over their merriment. Christmas in Connecticut is a perennial holiday favorite that leaves you warm as a mug of mulled wine every time.
Frank Capra's 1946 classic led by James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore will again air on NBC and some of its sister cable channels in 2023.