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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Movie Review: "Holiday Affair" (1949) ❅

Hi everyone! Today's SMR is the next Sunday in my Four Sundays of Christmas. I explained this last week, but for those of you who don't know, my Four Sundays of Christmas are really four reviews [on each Sunday of this month] of my favorite classic Christmas films. The first Sunday was Christmas in Connecticut (1945) .  Before I get started with today's review, here's the Christmas carol [I'm also adding in my favorite classic Christmas songs with each movie review]:

Silent Night by Deanna Durbin, who celebrated her 90th birthday last week. This is from the movie Lady on a Train (1945)

This week's movie is the underrated Christmas classic, "Holiday Affair," (1949) with Janet Leigh, Robert Mitchum, and Wendell Corey.


The poster: I do like it, I love the idea of Janet Leigh wrapped up in some sort of a cellophane or foil (like a Christmas present), and Robert Mitchum's, "Baby, you're just what I want for Christmas!". Plus, Janet Leigh's son, in the corner, with his presents is simply adorable (as he is in the actual film).

The plot:
Janet Leigh stars as Connie Ennis, a young widowed mother who has an unfortunate first encounter with department store clerk Steve Mason (Robert Mitchum), inadvertently causing him to get fired just before Christmas. Despite the mishap, Steve takes Connie on a date, much to the chagrin of her better-established suitor, Carl, but much to the delight of her young son, Timmy, who would much prefer Steve to Carl as a stepdad. [from Netflix]

The starring players:
  • Janet Leigh as Connie Ennis
  • Robert Mitchum as Steve Mason
  • Wendell Corey as Carl Davis
The verdict:
This movie, as I said earlier, is really an underrated Christmas classic! I saw it for the first time last year on Christmas day, however I'd seen it being shown on TCM several times before around Christmastime, except had never taken the time to actually sit down and watch it. Last year I did, not really knowing what it was about, but when I began to watch it, I went, "OH! That movie!" with great realization and pleasure. [Yeah, I'm weird like that.]

Anyway, the plot is quite interesting and reminds me a tad of "Miracle on 34th Street", with the single mother and an adorable child, but the similarities do kind of end there. The plot is appropriately a tad mushy and not exactly original, but that's perfect for a Christmas film. I was watching a TCM special earlier this week about Christmas movies, and I think they made a very good point when they said that there's something about mushy Christmas stuff that makes you feel safe and warm. Anyhow, onto the acting -

Janet Leigh. She's one of the actresses I don't think I've talked about on this blog before, which is a shame because I really like her. I loved her performance in this, she's compelling and tugs on your heartstrings and all of that. You want things to go right for her. One of my favorite things between this is the relationship between Janet as the mom and the child actor who plays her son. THEY'RE SO ADORABLE! [Like think, Greer in "Blossoms in the Dust".] Like, I swear. So sweet. Except, it wasn't exactly sickening sweet, honestly it was just the right balance of everything you like to see in a good parent/adorable little child relationship.Anyway, bottom line is that Janet Leigh was really fabulous in this.

Then there's Robert Mitchum. According to the TCM special I watched, this was the first movie he made when he after being released from jail [he was arrested on account of marijuana possession], and the studio wanted to build up his image again as a "nice guy." Well, that's exactly what he is in this, and he's very good at it. He has pretty good chemistry with Janet Leigh. I still haven't exactly decided how I feel about Robert Mitchum, I like him in some things and not in others - but I definitely liked him in this.

Wendell Corey plays Janet Leigh's fiance. The only other thing I have seen him in is "No Sad Songs for Me," (1950), which I did a spoiler review for earlier this year. His character is as stiff as a bored, but don't let that turn you off to his performance, for he is quite first rate. Lastly, there's Gordon Gebert, a child actor, as Connie's son, Timmy. Let me just say it: THIS KID IS ADORABLE. And not even in annoying, sickening way. He's just so cute. GAHH! Him and Janet Leigh are like lovely in this, seriously, watch it for just the two of them together if nothing else.

So, like I said. Don't let the fact that you might not have heard about this movie stop you from watching it, it's really a Christmas charmer and it entraps you from end to start. The plot does lack originality but it makes up for it in viewing pleasure, and over all I'd really encourage you to watch this one: I really liked it.

The bottom line:
You should really watch it. Because the little boy and Janet Leigh are really cute. No, really - it's sweet and old fashioned, just the way I like it. 

Some photos:

Some trivia:
  • Lux Radio Theatre broadcast a radio adaption of this film in December 1950 with Robert Mitchum reprising his film role.
A movie tidbit:
Once again, I honestly would just like to post the whole movie as it's available. -;)

That's all for this Sunday. I know that review was kind of spazzier than usual [spazzier - that's honestly not even a word, right...] but I hoped my point came across anyway: it's a really good movie. 

Have a good start into Monday with plenty of holiday cheer!


Anonymous said... are spot on w/ this blog. This is my all-time favorite Christmas movie. And I've been on this planet for 68 years.
"A Christmas Affair" is now replacing "Miracle on 34th Street" in my heart mainly because it feels like my little secret. But now the secret is out and that's okay!

Rianna said...

Thank you, I'm glad you liked this blog, this movie is one of my Christmas favorites for sure!

Dani said...

"...I went, 'OH! That movie!' with great realization and pleasure. [Yeah, I'm weird like that.]" You just made me laugh out loud here :-)

I've just watched this movie today for the first time (following you recommendation) and I have to agree: it's lovely. Thank you for talking about it.

Rianna said...

You're welcome, I'm really glad you enjoyed this movie! It's quite underrated which is a shame because it's so good. :)

Anonymous said...

nice idea, thanks for sharing...

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