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TCM Spotlight: 50 States in 50 Movies
Remind Me

Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan star in Christmas in Connecticut (1945), a romantic comedy set during the holidays at wartime. Stanwyck plays Elizabeth Lane, a columnist for "Smart Housekeeping," THE magazine for aspiring homemakers. Every month she details her domestic triumphs from the idyllic setting of her farm in Connecticut. Touted as the "greatest cook in the country," she seems to have it all - a beautiful home, a happy husband, an adorable baby and of course, plenty of livestock. Elizabeth Lane is a role model to millions of readers who turn to her every month for guidance and inspiration.

One such reader is wartime hero, Jefferson Jones, played by Morgan. Lost at sea for many days without food, he dreams of elaborate meals such as those described in Lane's column. As a promotional stunt for the magazine, the publisher arranges for Jones to spend the holidays at Lane's farm. Sydney Greenstreet, more commonly associated with films noir than light comedies, plays the role of publishing magnate, Alexander Yardley. Yardley is so enthused with the idea of a war hero coming "home" for the holidays that he decides to join the festivities on the farm. The only hitch is that there is no actual farm, house, husband, child or livestock, for that matter. All of the material in Lane's monthly column comes from one place - her imagination. And of course, it is this same source that she must draw upon in order to continue the elaborate charade without losing her job.

Best known as a serious actress - Stanwyck's most notable role was in Double Indemnity (1944) for which she received an Oscar nomination. Early in her career she alternated between dramatic and comedic roles. Apparently, Stanwyck preferred to take on lighter roles in an effort to unwind after working on a serious film.

Director Peter Godfrey, who got his start in productions on the London stage, had only been in Hollywood six years when he began work on the film. It was the first of three in which he directed Stanwyck-the others Cry Wolf (1947) and The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) dealt with weightier matters than the first. The two became close friends after their collaboration on these films. In fact, Godfrey was close to many of the cast members on this particular film. He and Sydney Greenstreet, another veteran from the London theatre, were as successful off-screen in their comedic talents as on-screen. The pair was notorious for keeping both cast and crew doubled over in laughter with their witty spoofs. The chemistry among all involved paid off. Christmas in Connecticut was well received at the time of its release and remains a treasured holiday classic today.

Director: Peter Godfrey
Producer: William Jacobs
Screenplay: Aileen Hamilton (story), Lionel Houser, Adele Comandini
Cinematography: Carl E. Guthrie
Editor: Frank Magee
Art Direction: Stanley Fleischer
Music: Adolph Deutsch (uncredited), Frederick Hollander
Cast: Barbara Stanwyck (Elizabeth Lane), Dennis Morgan (Jefferson Jones), Sydney Greenstreet (Alexander Yardley), Reginald Gardiner (John Sloan), S.Z. Sakall (Feliz Bassenak).
BW-102m. Close captioning.

by Mary Anne Melear



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