Movie review: 'Christmas in Connecticut' (1945), stars Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan

December 14, 2016

Christmas in Connecticut is a one-hour, forty-two minute, black-and-white Warner Brothers Pictures 1945 release, not rated, directed by Peter Godfrey, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Sydney Greenstreet, Reginald Gardiner, and S.Z. Sakall.

 

Christmas in Connecticut provides light, comic entertainment for families on a brisk December night—with a touch of dreamy romance. The movie stars Barbara Stanwyck, an award-winning actress from Hollywood’s Golden Age, who rendered what your reviewer thinks is one of her finest acting performances. Stanwyck’s role in this movie required realistic portrayals in both comic and dramatic scenes, which demonstrated her versatility as an actress.

 

Christmas in Connecticut is the story of journalist Elizabeth Lane, played by Stanwyck, who writes a column called “Diary of a Housewife” for a national magazine. In her popular column, Elizabeth Lane describes herself as a devoted mother, homemaker, and accomplished country cook—and often shares her recipes with her readers. Even her publisher, wealthy Mr. Alexander Yardley (Sydney Greenstreet), is not aware that Lane’s “Diary. . .” is a fabrication and that Lane writes her Diary primarily to please her readers and keep her job. Lane is actually a single girl who is intelligent and competent—but not domesticated.

 

The problem begins when her publisher, Mr. Yardley, receives a letter from the nurse who had once cared for Yardley’s granddaughter when the child was ill. In her letter, the nurse, who has a romantic interest in the war hero, Jefferson Jones, asks Mr. Yardley if he thinks that Ms. Elizabeth Lane might be open to entertaining Mr. Jefferson Jones over Christmas at her farm in Connecticut. Mr. Yardley then convinces Lane that it would be a wonderful idea for her to have Jefferson Jones over for Christmas—and then Yardley promptly invites himself along, too. These unexpected circumstances force Lane to come up with a husband, a baby boy, and a farm in Connecticut where she can entertain her boss and the U.S. war hero for Christmas. . .or else she might lose her job!

 

Lane’s long-time beau, John Sloane (Reginald Gardner), who owns a farm in Connecticut, convinces Lane to let him help her out by permitting her to use his home for her Christmas entertaining. Naturally, Mr. Sloane has his own personal reasons for wanting to do this favor for Elizabeth Lane. Ms. Lane agrees, knowing it’s the best way to keep her job—but she has no idea that her Christmas in Connecticut will turn out to be a truly unforgettable adventure.

I recommend this film for adults and kids of all ages. It has no scenes that are inappropriate for young eyes. In fact, my own three children enjoyed this movie and got a lot of good laughs out of it. When your children ask you to press the “pause” button on the remote control while they stand up to get a snack during the movie, then you know that the movie has captured their interest and imagination. Christmas in Connecticut’s plot is complex, with many twists and turns that provide suspense.

 

I have always thought that one advantage of viewing vintage movies with your children is the opportunity to expose them to the intelligent, captivating dialogue that is commonly found in classic movies. These films are a showcase for the elegance, beauty, and wide range of subtlety of the English language. Hollywood movies produced in the 1940s and 1950s didn’t rely on a lot of special effects to keep the viewer’s attention. Excellent dialogue, and well-crafted plots built on a solid value system are only two of the elements that elevated many of these vintage movies to “classics” whose charm and artistic value have endured for many decades after their creation.

 

May you be blessed with a joyous yuletide season with your family and loved ones. Happy viewing!

Movie Trailer: 'Christmas in Connecticut' (1945), starring Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan. 

This film is recommended for adults and kids of all ages. Not rated. (Photos and trailer credit: Warner Brothers.)  
 
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Portland, Oregon residents can borrow Love Comes Softly (2003) on DVD, at the Multnomah County Library, tel. 503-988-5234. Love Comes Softly in DVD format can be rented at Movie Madness, 4320 SE Belmont, Portland, Oregon, 97215, tel. 503-234-4363. 

Author, poet, columnist, and speaker JENNIFER ANNE FABREGAS MESSING of Portland, Oregon, is a wife, and mother of three children. She has a bachelor's degree in Christian Education and a diploma in Journalism and Short Story Writing. A past president of the Oregon Christian Writers, Jennifer Anne has over 200 articles, short stories, movie reviews, and poems published in 60 magazines and books, including The Christian Journal, Evangel, LIVE, Standard, Bible Advocate, Christian Fiction Online and Nudges from God. Her latest book, EVERLASTING LOVE: Romantic Vignettes for a Woman's Heart is now available in trade paperback and e-book format from Amazon, Barnes and Noble online, and Smashwords. Visit her Amazon page to order her books.

 

Copyrighted © 2016 by Jennifer Anne Fabregas Messing. Contact the author for reprint information. Email: Author@jenniferannemessing.com.  

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