Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mitchum & Leigh Have A "Holiday Affair"

Robert Mitchum & Janet Leigh in Holiday Affair (1949)
When you think of holiday movie classics, several titles spring to mind: It’s A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas and several others. But there’s a Christmas film that you probably haven’t seen, which is also worth your time. It’s 1949’s Holiday Affair, with Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh. What’s that, you say? Perennial tough guy Mitchum and Leigh, future star of Hitchcock’s Psycho, starring in a feel good holiday story? That’s right, folks. It’s a delightful movie that should be added to your holiday viewing list. Reportedly, RKO studio boss Howard Hughes made Mitchum star in the film to clean up his image after he was busted for marijuana possession.

 Leigh plays Connie, who buys an expensive train set at Crowley’s department store, where Steve (Mitchum) works. She returns it the next day, and he suspects she’s a comparison shopper for a rival store. Connie tells him she’s a widow who’s bringing up a child on her own. Instead of turning her in, he gives her a refund. Unbeknownst to her, Steve gets fired for this good deed. Later, he becomes close to Connie’s son Timmy, and vies with her boyfriend Carl for her affections. Will Connie end up with Carl, a steadfast lawyer, or Steve, who seems to better understand her and Timmy? The usual comic complications, misunderstandings and touching romantic comedy moments ensue in this funny, heartwarming film.

Mitchum proves he has a flair for light comedy; Leigh is charming as Connie. The supporting cast includes Gordon Gebert as Timmy, Wendell Corey as Carl and the one & only Harry Morgan as an understanding cop. Directed by Don Hartman, this is a charming story that holds up well on repeat viewings. Sadly, it’s out of print on DVD, but its shown regularly on Turner Classic Movies during the holiday season; in fact, it’s being aired on Christmas Eve at 4:15pm. A made for TV remake was produced in 1996, but stick with the original. If you’re looking for a sweet, enjoyable tale to watch during the Yuletide season, I recommend Holiday Affair. Here’s a link to the film’s trailer:

Happy Holidays to all my readers & fans! Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a fantastic New Year! Thanks for checking out Eclectic Avenue! Keep on visiting the blog in 2014!

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