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Selection for the Weekend of
Alas, all good things must come to an end. After a fun month of reviewing some of my favorite Christmas films, it's time for the last one. Happy holidays!
In 1949's Holiday Affair, Janet Leigh (yes, Jamie Lee Curtis' mom) (yes, Janet Leigh from Psycho) stars as a war widow, Connie, who is trying to make ends meet by working as a department store comparison shopper. She goes from store to store to gather prices and samples of other products, so her employer can do it better and cheaper. Unfortunately, she is too honest and clumsy to be very good at it.
One day, she wanders into a competitor's toy department to investigate their hot new toy trains and gets discovered by Steve Mason (Robert Mitchum). He takes pity on her and refuses to turn her in. Along the way, Steve gets to know her better and falls in love with Connie. There is just one, big problem.
Connie is engaged to be married to Carl (Wendell Corey) on New Year's Day. He is a decent fellow who is despised by her 6-year old son. Although the situation leaves a little something to be desired, Connie marches on with hopes that her son will start to like Carl.
Will Steve steal Connie away from Carl? What will Steve's boss think when he discovers that Steve has been helping the enemy?
Robert Mitchum didn't do many romantic comedies, but his natural, roguish charm comes in handy. Although the audience should despise him for trying to steal another's man's fiancée, Steve is much more likable than Carl because Mitchum uses his smoky eyes and wry smile to win us over. It is a smooth, almost effortless, performance that was a wonderful contrast to the many war films with which he established his career.
Janet Leigh is wonderful filling a new role for women of the late 40's. She represented the many war widows who suddenly found themselves struggling to make a living and provide a traditional upbringing for their children. It was a difficult time that doesn't get much attention in films or in the history books.
If you're looking for a fun, breezy romantic comedy that will warm the heart during the holiday season, rent Holiday Affair with someone you love. It gets a little slow in the middle, but pays off in the end.
Directed by Don Hartman
Written by Isabel Lennart
Based on the novel The Christmas Gift by John D. Weaver
Robert Mitchum Steve Mason
Janet Leigh Connie
Wendell Corey .. Carl
Harry Morgan The police lieutenant
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