Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas In July (1940)

OK, I know this is not the typical Christmas movie, but it's still a great movie. And the title fits the tone of the movie perfectly. Besides it's written and directed by the great Preston Sturges, so I believe we can cut him some slack on the schematics of Christmas themed movies. Anyway the story goes like this: office clerk Jimmy McDonald (played by former crooner and yet to be tough guy Dick Powell) who loves entering contests in hopes of winning a fortune and marrying the girl he loves, Betty Casey (the wonderful and underrated Ellen Drew). His latest attempt is the Maxford House Coffee Slogan Contest. As a joke, some of his co-workers put together a fake telegram which says that he won the $25,000 grand prize. As a result, he gets a promotion, buys presents for all of his family and friends, and proposes to his girl. The atmosphere definitely feels like Christmas, even though the movie takes place in the middle of July. But of course things sour when the truth comes out, he's not prepared for the consequences. Christmas in July is an enjoyable little movie that has all of the Preston Sturges magic and features a winning cast led by Powell and Drew. It also co-stars William DeMarest and Franklin Pangborn. So celebrate Christmas with this little gem, no matter what time of the year it may be.

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  1. I can't remember if I've seen this or not (it sounds very familiar), but I think Dick Powell makes any film good.

  2. Monty, I think that this is a great choice for a Christmas movie. I love this movie (I love Preston Sturges). I think that it makes a great companion to It's a Wonderful Life, because the first 2/3 of IAWL could just as easily be called Desperation in December!

    Kim, if you haven't seen this, you will love it. Sturges' gift for dry humor and the wry expression of irony is played perfectly by Dick Powell.

  3. I've never seen this film, but it sounds like a good one. I have always enjoyed watching Dick Powell films, and I would like to see this one.

  4. Wonderful review Monty, i will check to see if it is playing soon on TCM.