Another great Barbara Stanwyck film. And like Meet John Doe it’s based on a newspaper woman who writes a phony column. In this case Stanwyck is Elizabeth Lane where she writes a weekly column, Smart Housekeeping, about good housekeeping based on her Connecticut farm life, child-rearing based on her experience with raising her newborn, and quality cooking based on the meals she lays out for her husband every night. Only one problem to this. She lives in a New York City high-rise; she hates farms, has no husband or child, and couldn’t cook to save her life. Other than those little things it’s a great column.
But enter a problem. The paper has just been bought out by millionaire Alexander Yardley (Sydney Greenstreet in what may be the only likable character he ever played) and Yardley has his own problem. He has been asked by a nurse to give a Navy sailor in her care a Christmas dinner experience with his favorite food columnist Elizabeth Lane. Given that this is in the middle of WWII and patriotism is at its highest, and this particular sailor nearly died after spending weeks at sea without any food (hence his love of a food column). Lane and her editor who have always had an agreement about the false nature of her column are at a loss…they can fess up that there is no home in Connecticut and get fired or…or…or….Lane can take up the marriage offer of a friend who has been asking for years, and who just so happens to have a farm in Connecticut…and they’ll bring along her friend Felix (the man who has written all the recipes for her column) so that they can cover up the fact that she can’t cook. Oh and they get a baby for the day—don’t ask—to make the charade complete.
It should come as no shock that this is a romantic comedy. It’s not particularly deep but it wonderfully tugs at the heart strings.
I can’t exactly say that beyond love it has much to actually do with any theme of Christmas….but I love this movie too much to care.
I also love this as it shows a kind-hearted rich person (and it just feels strange to see Sidney Greenstreet as someone who is jolly and friendly and not sleazy in the least). Greenstreet’s Yardley is jovial and lovable and friendly and caring. Just as I’m sure many of the 1% are.
It’s not a deep movie, but it’s a fun one and I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it.