Christmas in Connecticut is Spicy and Sweet

Christmas in Connecticut is Spicy and Sweet
As much of the world snuggles in to the Christmas holidays, thoughts of simpler times dance like sugarplums in the minds of many, especially in the year 2020 when a large percentage of the earth’s residents remain separated from their loved ones during the season.

Fear not, for in 1945, Hollywood – as if looking into a crystal ball – produced Christmas in Connecticut, a romantic comedy about a food writer who embraces the simple life and shares it through her weekly column.

Oddly enough, Christmas in Connecticut may not have been intended to be a “Christmas film” at all.

While the story does take place at Christmastime, the film was released in the summer. Regardless of the timing, it was well received, possibly due to the attractive cast of Barbara Stanwyck as journalist Elizabeth Lane, Dennis Morgan as war hero Jefferson Jones, and Sydney Greenstreet as Lane’s boss Alexander Yardley.

Supporting players include Reginald Gardiner as John Sloan, and S. Z. Sakall as Felix.

This film is always in the Christmas viewing queue, but it stands apart from many of the traditional Christmas fare in that it offers a menu of naughty served up alongside the nice. The comedy is light, and its sauciness comes from the dribbles of double entendre and the implied temptation toward infidelity.

For the most part, the film has no laugh-out-loud bits and is safely predictable. One finds oneself smiling more than laughing, and during a year in which a pandemic enveloped the world, it’s a welcomed sensation.

Still, it is an easy film to buy into. Stanwyck plays a journalist who creates a deliciously homespun column for a popular magazine for ladies. Her column is titled “Diary of a Housewife,” and it details her life living on a farm in Connecticut. She writes about her husband, baby, and the simply scrumptious food she prepares for her family’s nourishment.

The caveat is, her diary is a fiction. She has no husband. There’s no baby. And as for cooking, she can’t even flip a pancake without disastrous results. When her publisher – who believes her column is based on the truth – invites himself to her home on Christmas, her benign fiction falls quicker than a souffle.

Now she has to find a husband, a baby, a farm, and learn to cook in a matter of a few hours. But as we all know, Barbara Stanwyck can do just about anything she puts her mind to.

Regardless of its predictable recipe, Christmas in Connecticut reminds us all of a time when holidays were filled with ease and a good meal was shared with the entire family. And that is a good feeling.

Perhaps this is why, especially in 2020, more people are finding Christmas in Connecticut simply delicious.

NOTE: I screened this film at my own expense and not at the request of any outside company or service. Free-to-view versions might be available digitally. This film may also be available for purchase or through subscription-based services.

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