Christmas in Connecticut,
directed by Peter Godfrey
(Warner Bros., 1945)

Christmas in Connecticut is a mesmerizing, hilarious look at the consequences of deception. If you have not watched this black-and-white classic, you have missed one of the best movies in history.

A wounded sailor's deception leaves him looking for a way out of an unwanted engagement to a nurse. The nurse schemes to trap Jeffrey Jones (Dennis Morgan) by showing him what Christmas is like in a real home with a real family. She calls in a favor from a magazine publisher, Alexander Yardley (Sydney Greenstreet).

Yardley orders his leading homemaking columnist, Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck), to entertain Jones at her farm in Connecticut with her husband and son during the holiday. Worse, Yardley includes himself in the invitation.

Problem: Elizabeth lives in an apartment in the city, cannot cook and does not have a husband or a son. Yardley will fire her and her editor if he finds out that she is a fraud.

Elizabeth agrees to marry persistent beau, John Sloan (Reginald Gardiner). Although she does not love him, he owns a farm in Connecticut. Now, all she needs is a baby and a cook to complete the picture. She talks a restaurant owner to pose as her uncle, but he does not want her to marry Sloan, so he runs interference and creates chaos.

Poor Elizabeth goes from one crisis to another as she and Jones fall in love and she tries to find a way out of the mess.

When a movie is still being shown more than 60 years after its release, it has to be a great movie. Christmas in Connecticut keeps you thoroughly entertained and you cannot stop watching it. The acting is overly dramatic with exaggerated physical gestures. Everything is emphatic -- the trademark and style of those old black-and-white movies.

The writing was fantastic! This is imagination at its best. It takes you through a rapid series of tension and release without ever slowing the action. It presses forward and keeps you riveted in place. The characters develop consistently and honestly. There are no deviations or surprises in their personalities. You grow to care about them.

The ending is mostly predictable. There might be one small surprise, but nothing major. It ties up all the conflict and restores the stasis of the beginning.

Classics withstand the test of time. Expect Christmas in Connecticut to still be in demand in another 60 years.

review by
Alicia Karen Elkins

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