From the perspective of the hectic, contemporary world in which we live, the so called `good old days' always seem so much more serene and innocent; an idyllic era gone by of which we have only memories and shadows that linger on the silver screen, as with `Christmas In Connecticut,' a warm and endearing film directed by Peter Godfrey. Barbara Stanwyck stars as Elizabeth Lane, a popular `Martha Stewart' type magazine columnist who writes about life on her beloved farm in Connecticut, always with the latest recipe at the center of the story. One of her biggest fans is Alexander Yardley, played by Sidney Greenstreet, the publisher of the magazine for which she writes. Yardley has never visited her farm, and in response to an idea expressed to him in a letter from a nurse, Mary (Joyce Compton), he decides to spend an old fashioned Christmas with Elizabeth, her husband and child and, as a special guest, a certain Mr. Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan), a sailor just recovered from spending fifteen days at sea on a raft after his ship was torpedoed. Elizabeth of course cannot refuse her boss, but there are problems; not the least of which is the fact that she has no farm and writes her column from the comfort of a high-rise in the city. It makes for a precarious situation for her as well as her editor, Dudley Beecham (Robert Shayne), as the one thing Mr. Yardley demands from his employees is total honesty. What follows is a charming and delightfully romantic comedy that transports the audience back to a seemingly more simple time and place, to share a Christmas Past where a warm hearth, good food and kindness prevail.
Barbara Stanwyck absolutely sparkles as Elizabeth, with a smile and presence warmer than anything the grandest hearth could provide, and totally convincing as a city girl entirely out of her element on the farm. Morgan also fares well as the somewhat naive sailor, whose trust in his fellow man is admirable. Even with the deceptions being played out around him, he's the kind of guy you know will somehow land on his feet, and in the end it's Elizabeth you really feel for. One of the true delights of this film, however, is Sidney Greenstreet. His Yardley has a gruff exterior, but beneath you know without a doubt that this is a man with a heart as big as Texas. It's a straightforward, honest portrayal, and it's a joy to watch him work; the most memorable scenes in the movie belong to him.
The supporting cast includes Reginald Gardiner (John Sloan), the terrific Una O'Connor (Norah), Frank Jenks (Sinkewicz) and Dick Elliott (Judge Crothers). A feel-good movie that plays especially well during the Christmas Season (though it would work any time of the year), `Christmas In Connecticut' is a memorable film that never takes itself too seriously, is thoroughly uplifting and will leave you with a warm spot in your heart and a sense of peace that makes the world seem like a good place to be. It's a true classic, and one you do not want to miss. I rate this one 10/10.