HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
My Life as a Courgette
Cold-Blooded Beast
Lake Mungo
One-Eyed Jacks
20th Century Women
Monster Trucks
Lookout, The
Black Belt
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Their Finest
Stella Cadente
Water Drops on Burning Rocks
Replace
Belladonna of Sadness
Aquarius
Erik the Conqueror
Baghead
Guns at Batasi
Gang Story, A
Magnificent Ambersons, The
Climber, The
It's a Big Country
Raw
Last Man Standing
Transfiguration, The
Alien Nation
Kajaki
Certain Fury
Life
Hundra
   
 
Newest Articles
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
Witching Hour: Hammer House of Horror on Blu-ray
Two Sides of Sellers: The Party vs The Optimists
Norse Code: The Vikings vs The Long Ships
Over the Moon - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 2
Alpha Males and Females - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 1
Animated Anxieties: From the Era of the Creepiest Cartoons
Manor On Movies--Clegg (1970)
Plans for Nigel: The Crunch... and Other Stories on DVD
Let's Get Harry: Repo Man and Paris, Texas
   
 
  Holiday Affair Gift of loveBuy this film here.
Year: 1949
Director: Don Hartman
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Janet Leigh, Wendell Corey, Gordon Gebert, Griff Barnett, Esther Dale, Henry O’Neill, Harry Morgan, Larry J. Blake, Helen Brown
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Just before Christmas, department store clerk Steve Mason (Robert Mitchum) meets big spending customer Connie Ennis (Janet Leigh), whom he unmasks as a commercial spy. When Steve discovers Connie lost her husband in the war, he chooses not to expose her subterfuge, a decision that costs him his job. However, circumstances bring Steve and Connie together on a shopping date, which does not sit well with her would-be fiancé, Carl (Wendell Corey), but delights her little son Timmy (Gordon Gebert), who reckons Steve would make a much better step-dad.

This holiday why not give the oft-screened and overrated White Christmas (1954) a miss and seek out this seasonal romance instead. Its key themes of daring to dream big and giving freely of love and generosity certainly embody the real spirit of Christmas better than any greetings card sentiment. RKO boss and billionaire germ-o-phobe Howard Hughes supposedly shoehorned star Robert Mitchum into this picture to repair his image after being busted for marijuana possession, but the role befits his easygoing charisma. These days a lot of movie fans remember Mitchum as the archetypal doomed film noir antihero or else as the kind of psychotic villain he played in Night of the Hunter (1955), Cape Fear (1962) or A Killer in the Family (1983), overlooking his remarkable range as an actor. Holiday Affair has Mitchum in handsome matinee idol mould but far from sleepwalking through a stock rom-com role, the star latches onto the vibrant script by Isobel Lennart - who penned another superb Mitchum movie: The Sundowners (1960) - to craft a faceted, fascinating romantic lead. Straight-talking, honest, decent Steve Mason is an ex-G.I. who can’t grab a piece of the American Dream until he seizes his chance for happiness with war widow Connie. For Steve, dreaming big is what life is all about, even if it means making your self vulnerable to heartache and disappointment. However, Connie is willing to settle for humdrum reality: a man who is decent enough but whom she does not really love and job buying things she can’t keep but must hand on to a big corporation. In her eyes, people who wish big will only be disappointed - an idea poignantly illustrated when young Timmy sneaks a peak at a toy train, only to realise it is not for him.

Holiday Affair was one of only five movies directed by Don Hartman, a multitalented producer, actor, author and songwriter on Broadway, film and radio. Hartman penned several films in the Road series starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope including the zaniest instalment Road to Morocco (1942), but instead of their flights of fancy the humour here stems from well-observed, real-life situations such as the awkward conversations between love rivals Steve and Carl. Isobel Lennart defies rom-com convention by painting Carl not as an unworthy opportunist but a stand-up guy. He nobly defends Steve against the police when his altruistic impulses unexpectedly backfire in amusing case of mistaken identity involving future Dragnet and M*A*S*H star Harry Morgan as a befuddled desk sergeant.

Besides Hartman’s deft direction and Lennart’s vibrant script, the film’s greatest strength are its charmingly natural performances. Mitchum and the radiant Janet Leigh (at her loveliest) share terrific chemistry both together and opposite young Gordon Gebert, bringing sparkle and sincerity to what in lesser hands might come across as saccharine schmaltz. It is a film that believes wholeheartedly in the essential decency of human beings and features a wordless climax set aboard a speeding train that deserves to be remembered as a classic. Mitchum reprised his role in a sixty minute radio version broadcast at part of the Lux Radio Theatre and the film was remade for television in 1996.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1639 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Ian Phillips
Jensen Breck
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Shrimpton
  Vikki Sanderson
   

 

Last Updated: