HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Walk with Me
JFK
Kirlian Witness, The
Kid for Two Farthings, A
The Freshman
Hear My Song
Wild Wild West
Cure
Doraemon: Nobita and the Green Giant Legend
Locke the Superman
Psycho
Magic Flute, The
Top Secret
Ghost Punting
Hitman's Bodyguard, The
Touch, The
Akko's Secret
Backfire
Loving Vincent
Adventures of the Wilderness Family, The
Plot of Fear
Desperate Chase, The
Baskin
Time and Tide
X - Night of Vengeance
Bunny Drop
Acts of Vengeance
Asura: The City of Madness
In This Corner of the World
Dirty Pair: Project Eden
   
 
Newest Articles
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
Force the Issue: Star Wars' Tricky Middle Prequels and Sequels
Rediscovered: The Avengers - Tunnel of Fear on DVD
Sword Play: An Actor's Revenge vs Your Average Zatoichi Movie
Super Sleuths: The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes on DVD
Stop That, It's Silly: The Ends of Monty Python
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
   
 
  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 1837 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
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Mark Scampion
  Frank Michaels
   

 

Last Updated: