Christmas in Connecticut ★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

I knew nothing of Christmas in Connecticut going into this afternoon's TCM/Fathom Events double-feature save that it was the second picture being played. To my knowledge, this was my first Barbara Stanwyck movie, though in my youth, I'd taken some vague notice of her in reruns of the TV show, The Big Valley. I found her charming and likable, and she certainly held the screen well. I tended to miss her when she was gone, and that's usually the litmus test for an enjoyable performance.

I confess that stories built around one character maintaining a façade usually wear thin with me in a hurry. (I despise Mrs. Doubtfire.) I have little patience for these stories in part because it's a given from the outset that it will fail and be exposed, and the only question is how far it will go first. I'm of the mind that it's simply better to be out with the truth upfront and let the chips fall where they may. (This is why I'm doomed to die alone and be eaten by the cats; ask me about my dismal experience with Tawkify sometime.)

Christmas in Connecticut is a movie I ought to have hated, but surprisingly didn't. There are two chief reasons for this. Firstly, the delightful Szőke Szakáll as Felix. Just about every line he delivered was worth a genuine laugh, and he consistently drew the greatest reaction of either of the two movies today. (Seeing him with Sydney Greenstreet made me long to revisit Casablanca throughout.)

The other reason I think I didn't hate Christmas in Connecticut is that it wasn't even Elizabeth's scheme, but rather a sort of team effort. Knowing that Felix had been feeding her recipes all along, and that she had so openly stolen Sloane's farmhouse for her columns, made it more palatable than if she had been conniving them as well. Instead, everyone is more or less content to play part of the "Elizabeth Lane" brand, with the obvious exception of Sloane, who remains set on winning her hand in marriage.

The running gags with the baby (babies) and keeping the preacher waiting tested my patience, though at least the baby eventually factored into the plot. What preacher spends his time being shuttered on Christmas Eve and even Christmas morning, no less, without so much as displaying annoyance or asking what is actually going on?

How I'll wind up feeling about Christmas in Connecticut later, I can't predict but my immediate reaction is favorable enough, and I'm glad I got to see it for the first time in such a setting. Having others laugh along with me to Szőke Szakáll's Felix certainly made the viewing more enjoyable than it would have been at home by myself.

How Christmas in Connecticut Entered My Flickchart

Christmas in Connecticut > Jurassic Park III → #834
Christmas in Connecticut < Anjelah Johnson: That's How We Do It! → #834
Christmas in Connecticut < Mystery Men → #834
Christmas in Connecticut < Hollywoodland → #834
Christmas in Connecticut > The Milky Way → #781
Christmas in Connecticut > Con Air → #755
Christmas in Connecticut > Cocktail → #742
Christmas in Connecticut > Inception → #736
Christmas in Connecticut > Doc Hollywood → #732
Christmas in Connecticut > Meet Bill → #731
Christmas in Connecticut > The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood → #730

Christmas in Connecticut entered my Flickchart at #730/1667