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Good morning; Merry Christmas. I hope I'm in time to see you flip the flapjacks
on 23 January 2011
Christmas in Connecticut (AKA Indiscreet) is out of Warner Brothers and directed by Peter Godfrey. It stars Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Sydney Greenstreet & Reginald Gardiner.
Plot sees Stanwyck as Elizabeth Lane, a successful writer of a love, marriage and food column for popular Smart Housekeeping magazine. As far as her readership is aware, Elizabeth lives in domestic bliss out in the country, tending the family home for her husband whilst raising their bonnie baby. The truth, however, is that she doesn't do any of those things, in fact she's hopeless and lives on her own in a modest Manhattan apartment. A problem now since her boss, who is none the wiser, has invited himself and a war hero fan of Elisabeth's writing, to her "Connecticut" farm for Christmas. Roping in some friends she hatches a plan to not get found out, but it's not going to be easy to pull off, no sir, not easy at all.
Frothy and breezy slice of screwball that does a good enough job at yuletide without really breaking out of its routine chains. Stanwyck is excellent (in a role first offered to Bette Davis), managing to keep the audience on Elizabeth's side in spite of her less than stellar scruples. There's a number of enjoyable set pieces, and enough knock about energy to raise a few laughs. While the makers have nicely played around with the myth of a domestic goddess and the expectation of such from male suitors. The trouble with the film, mainly, is that the direction is not creative enough for the complexities of the story, the deceptions at its core soon become boorish due to overkill. Sure it's lively, but running thru a number of set ups at pace is not enough if the staid dialogue and predictability of it all hangs heavy. One can imagine just what Howard Hawks could have done with this set up. Still, it's a safe recommendation at Christmas time, and certainly a must see for fans of the versatile Stanwyck. But once the end credits have rolled it ultimately feels like a Christmas tree without the trimmings. 6/10