Christmas in Connecticut film still
Warner Bros./Getty Images

'Christmas in Connecticut' Was The Ultimate Holiday Rom-Com

All about the enduring classic.

Nothing beats a snowy, Golden Hollywood Christmas romance. Maybe you prefer the choreographed perfection of Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" (1954) or the technicolor holiday scenes in Judy Garland's "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944). Or perhaps, like us, you prefer your tinsel with a little fast-talking hijinks — the kind set forth by Peter Godfrey's "Christmas in Connecticut" (1945), now streaming on Max.

A classic that helped define so many beats of the holiday rom-com genre, "Christmas in Connecticut" is both a snapshot of post-war America and a timeless comedy of errors that sneaks in some biting social commentary. The incomparable Barbara Stanwyck stars as Elizabeth Lane, a renowned food columnist. (It's an early portrayal of a self-made woman on the big screen.) But there's a catch: Her fame is built on just a little white lie. Elizabeth tells her readers that she's a devoted wife and mother living out a pastoral dream on a farm. In reality, she's a single New Yorker who wouldn't know a bake from a broil.

When she's tasked with hosting Christmas dinner for strapping war hero Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan), it'll take more than a Christmas miracle for Elizabeth to maintain the charade. She concocts a plan to use her friend's picturesque Connecticut farmhouse and the neighbor's kids as props. The hitch? It's love at first sight when she meets Jefferson.

Christmas in Connecticut film still

Warner Bros./John Springer Collection/Getty

Even if you've never watched "Christmas in Connecticut," you probably have some familiarity with its most iconic scenes. There's a memorable sleigh ride gone wrong, along with the enduring holiday quote, "Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas." Who can resist a good culinary metaphor?

In one of the most bizarre remakes of all time, Arnold Schwarzenegger directed a TV movie remake of "Christmas in Connecticut" for TNT in 1992. It starred Kris Kristofferson, Dyan Cannon and Tony Curtis, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a more bonkers adaptation of any classic film. No, really, the story was altered almost beyond recognition: Elizabeth became a cooking show host and Jefferson a forest ranger who'd lost his home in a fire.

We'd say stick with what the good Lord gave you and put the 1945 original on your holiday watchlist. But if you're feeling adventurous or, you know, positively fueled by spiked eggnog, Schwarzenegger's version is available to rent on Prime Video.

"Christmas in Connecticut" (1945) is now streaming on Max.

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