Christmas in Connecticut is a holiday film from 1945 that stars Barbara Stanwyck as Elizabeth Lane, a food columnist with a problem, not the least of which is that she really cannot cook. This problem escalates when the newspaper’s executive decides to have a returned G.I. enjoy his post-hospital stay with Lane at her country home. Unfortunately, Lane does not really have a country home, nor is she married, nor does she have a baby, all of which she writes about having in her column. Can we say, the jig is up?
It is important to note that Christmas is really just the backdrop and excuse for the plot. This is not a story about Santa Claus or gift giving or the religious significance of the time. Rather, it is a plot device to have Lane’s deception uncovered and then have the romantic angle of the story play out.
Dennis Morgan is the Navy veteran who ends up throwing Lane for a loop. I really am not all that thrilled with him in this role and never have been. I accept the romantic pairing, but I never have felt the chemistry between him and Stanwyck.
Actually, Stanwyck is one of the few reasons why I do enjoy the movie simply because she is a great actress. I do not love all the nuances of her character and not all of the scenes thrill me at all. Chief among these is the scene toward the end when she and Morgan take a walk to put the cow into the barn. It just did not work for me, and especially not how giddy she became at the end of it.
Stanwyck was an actress of great strength and independence, and when she has to play silly like was in this scene, it falls flat. It goes against her nature.
I did enjoy watching S.Z. Sakall as Felix, who comes aboard to help out with the cooking in a quest to full the newspaper executive and the Navy vet. He plays these silly parts with ease. On the other hand, watching Reginald Gardner as a sophisticated bore was a bore.
On the whole, I do like the story, but watching it once every couple of years is all I need.