Monday, December 21, 2009

Holidays in Hollywood

Like Scrooge and the Grinch, we hold nothing in our hearts but disdain for Christmas. However, we do like to watch some holiday classics - not How the Grinch Stole Christmas or A Christmas Carol. However, we did like Christmas in Connecticut.

CiC stars Barbara Stanwyck as a Martha-Stewart-like writer of a homemaking column. She writes about the fine meals she cooks for her husband and baby on their Connecticut farm. In reality, she lives in a small Manhattan apartment and doesn't know how to cook. She gets all of her recipes from a Hungarian restauranteur, played by S.Z. "Cuddles" Sakall.

But her publisher, Sidney Greenstreet, decides that she should invite a sailor to her Connecticut farm for Christmas dinner, and won't take no for an answer. She only knows one person with a farm in Connecticut - a nice but boring architect who has been trying for years to marry her. So, feeling she has no choice, she agrees to marry him if he will go along with the gag.

Of course, when Greenstreet shows up at the farm with the sailor, she falls instantly in love with him, and he with her. Can she avoid marrying the man who is supposed to be her husband, avoid revealing that she can't cook, and still get her sailor? And what about the baby?

I'm afraid that the sailor, played by Dennis Morgan, is rather a stiff. The supposedly boring suitor (Reginald Gardiner) actually seems quite nice - although older, maybe that's the dealbreaker.

The real joys, outside of Stanwyck's glorious presence, are the two fat men, Sakall and Greenstreet. Sakall hams it up, muttering in Hungarian if everything isn't "hunky-dunky". Greenstreet plays a broad, blustery, larger-than-life sort himself. And as a lagniappe, we have Una O'Connor, as the farm's cook and caretaker. Her patented skinny old Irish biddy plays well against Cuddles' Hungarian. I was hoping for romance between them, but no such luck.

In conclusion - favorite holiday movies? Least favorite? We also like The Bishop's Wife (Cary Grant) and Lady in the Lake - Robert Montgomery's Philip Marlowe movie that takes place over Christmas. I should like It's a Wonderful Life, being a fan of Capra, but George Bailey is such a wimpy martyr, it just makes me mad.

1 comment:

mr. schprock said...

Favorite holiday movie? White Christmas is right up there. I do like It's a Wonderful Life. Which is the one with Little Ralphy, the kid who wanted the BB gun? That's pretty good. Home Alone was very entertaining. Then of course there's Silent Night, Deadly Night.

My kids probably think Elf was the best.