Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Affair: A Charming Yuletide Tale

Robert Mitchum & Janet Leigh in Holiday Affair (1949)
Taking a little Christmas week break here at Eclectic Avenue: so here's a look back at last year's classic movie recommendation for the holidays! Happy Holidays to you & your families, loyal readers! Please keep visiting the blog in 2015!

When you think of holiday movie classics, several titles spring to mind: It’s A Wonderful LifeMiracle on 34th StreetWhite 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; 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, and needs the money her job provides her. Instead of turning her in, he gives her a refund. Unbeknownst to her, Steve gets fired for his good deed. Later, he forms a friendship with Connie’s son Timmy, and Steve vies with her boyfriend Carl for her affections. Will Connie end up with Carl, a steadfast (but kind of boring) lawyer, or Steve, who's more cool and seems to mesh well with both her and Timmy? The usual comic complications, misunderstandings and touching moments ensue in this funny, heartwarming film. It may not be as iconic or classic as It's A Wonderful Life, but it's an enjoyable Christmas tale.

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 wonderful, funny film 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, this would make a good double feature with other Christmas stories like 1945's Christmas in ConnecticutHere’s a link to the film’s trailer:

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