Christmas Countdown: Christmas in Connecticut

Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) is a food writer who writes about her life as a farm wife and mother in Connecticut. Except that’s all lies — Elizabeth is a single woman living the good life in New York and even her publisher, Alexander Yardley (Sydney Greenstreet), doesn’t know that.

When returning war hero Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan), expresses his affection for her recipes and the stories of her life, Alexander decides it’s a great idea to have Elizabeth and her family host Jefferson at her farm for Christmas. You can already see how this will not work out. A farm is borrowed, a sham marriage planned, and the neighbor’s baby is passed off as her own. There are all kinds of mishaps, as you’d expect, but the movie is never cruel toward Elizabeth for not being the wife and mother she claimed to be.

Christmas in Connecticut (1945, directed by Peter Godfrey) is a charming, classic Christmas romantic comedy. No, it’s not going to win any awards for its feminism, but it’s sweet. Stanwyck and Morgan have great chemistry and there is a certain romanticism to the way Connecticut farm life is presented. Elizabeth may have been making all of that up, but even she seems to fall under the spell of cozy domesticity.

Of course, she’s found out in the end, but it doesn’t matter because she and Jefferson love each other. I like that Elizabeth is never punished for her lies and still gets her man.

It seems like in an age of mommy vloggers and influencers that this story would be perfect for a remake. Well, it was remade once in 1992 as a made-for-TV movie for TNT starring Dyan Cannon and Kris Kristofferson in the lead roles and (bafflingly) directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is not good. It’s laughing at Elizabeth in too many places and Cannon and Kristofferson don’t really sell their love story.

A better spiritual successor is A Chance for Christmas which updates the general concept of a woman faking her perfect family life for popularity onto influencer culture and then adds a time loop element on top of it. You don’t think it would work but it absolutely does.

Christmas in Connecticut (1945) is available for rent or purchase on most services as well on DVD and Bluray. Christmas in Connecticut (1992) is also available for rent or purchase but I don’t know why you’d do that to yourself. A Chance for Christmas is streaming exclusively on Tubi.