Author Topic: Christmas in July (1940)  (Read 2908 times)

Offline Antares

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Christmas in July (1940)
« on: January 19, 2010, 12:38:25 AM »
Christmas in July





Year: 1940
Film Studio: Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Genre: Comedy
Length: 67 Min.

Director
Preston Sturges (1898)

Writing
Preston Sturges (1898)...Writer

Producer
Paul Jones (1901)

Cinematographer
Victor Milner (1893)

Music
John Leipold (1888)...Composer
Leo Shuken (1906)...Composer

Stars
Dick Powell (1904) as Jimmy MacDonald
Ellen Drew (1915) as Betty Casey
Raymond Walburn (1887) as Dr. Maxford
Alexander Carr (1878) as Mr. Shindel
William Demarest (1892) as Mr. Bildocker
Ernest Truex (1889) as Mr. J.B. Baxter
Franklin Pangborn (1889) as Don Hartman (radio announcer)
Harry Hayden (1882) as Mr. E.L. Waterbury (office manager)

Review
   Basically, Preston Sturges’s second film is more or less, his way of making a ‘Capraesque’ type movie, and probably besting Capra as Sturges shows sentiment without being cloying in his approach. Jimmy McDonald (Dick Powell) is a young man with big dreams and big ideas. Sadly, his dreams are still un-fulfilled and no one hears his ideas. That is, until an office prank sets in motion, a series of events that will change not only his, but his fiancé’s life forever. Jimmy’s dream is to win a slogan contest being sponsored by the Maxford Coffee Company, who is looking for a new slogan to pitch their product. The prize is $25,000, and Jimmy sees his future as rosy when he wins with his sure fire slogan: “If you can’t sleep at night, it’s not the coffee- it’s the bunk!” But tiring of his endless bellowing about the contest, three co-workers decide to send him a phony telegram stating that he has won the first prize.

   Now the film sets off at frenetic pace as Jimmy’s situation begins to spiral favorably, but uncontrollably forward. His boss thinks that if he can win such a contest against odds stacked so clearly against him, then he must be of executive quality. Jimmy is offered an office and a raise to create slogans for his company, and then he is given the day off to collect his winnings. When he arrives at the Maxford building he shows them the fake telegram, the owner of the company believes him and writes him a check. Jimmy and his fiancé then relocate to Swindell’s Department store to buy presents for all their friends and family. Upon returning to their neighborhood they dole out the many gifts for a grateful group of neighbors who congratulate Jimmy on his newfound success.

   Later that evening as Jimmy is formulating his future while sitting on his front porch, one of the office pranksters, steps up and divulges the truth behind the telegram. Being the honest young man that he is, Jimmy decides to make things right with everyone involved. But events will spiral out of control before he has a chance, when the owner of the coffee company realizes his mistake. What follows is pure Sturges madcap mayhem, with everyone in the end coming out clean.


Ratings Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.

« Last Edit: November 03, 2010, 11:43:00 PM by Antares »

Najemikon

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Re: Christmas in July (1940)
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2010, 09:08:08 PM »
I love this film, it's adorable and great fun. And for anyone wondering whether to give it a go? It's only 67 minutes long! What's stopping you?  :laugh: This is one of my favourite Sturges, along with Sullivan's Travels and Hail The Conquering Hero, but they're all great.

Offline Antares

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Re: Christmas in July (1940)
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2010, 09:12:02 PM »
I'm in the middle of a Preston Sturges marathon, and this one really surprised me. I had read that it wasn't that spectacular, but I have to disagree, while it may not reach the heights of The Lady Eve, Sullivan's Travels or The Miracle of Morgan Creek, it still is a gem in Sturges' canon.

Najemikon

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Re: Christmas in July (1940)
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2010, 09:15:51 PM »
Will you be removing those too? I haven't seen Miracle, but I'm particularly interested in what you thought of Lady Eve, because it didn't gel for me, yet many regard it as his best. I think the Sullivan's Travels should take that honour.

Offline Antares

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Re: Christmas in July (1940)
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2010, 09:20:04 PM »
Will you be removing those too? I haven't seen Miracle, but I'm particularly interested in what you thought of Lady Eve, because it didn't gel for me, yet many regard it as his best. I think the Sullivan's Travels should take that honour.

Yes, I'll be 'reviewing' them also.

I loved The Lady Eve, and I believe that Sturges' best is Miracle.

Najemikon

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Re: Christmas in July (1940)
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2010, 09:51:37 PM »
Will you be removing those too? I haven't seen Miracle, but I'm particularly interested in what you thought of Lady Eve, because it didn't gel for me, yet many regard it as his best. I think the Sullivan's Travels should take that honour.

Yes, I'll be 'reviewing' them also.

I loved The Lady Eve, and I believe that Sturges' best is Miracle.

 :bag:

That's what I get for replying from my phone. The predictive text predicted the wrong ducking word...  ;)

Offline goodguy

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Re: Christmas in July (1940)
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2010, 08:50:54 AM »
Will you be removing those too? I haven't seen Miracle, but I'm particularly interested in what you thought of Lady Eve, because it didn't gel for me, yet many regard it as his best. I think the Sullivan's Travels should take that honour.

Am I completely off the chart in getting a pretty reactionary vibe from Sullivan's Travels? That was my first Sturges and I'm not very impressed. Sure, the dialog sparkles occasionally and Lake is okay as a poor man's Bacall, but otherwise? I suppose it doesn't help that I'm not much into slapstick comedy.
Matthias

Offline Antares

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Re: Christmas in July (1940)
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2010, 07:23:45 PM »
Am I completely off the chart in getting a pretty reactionary vibe from Sullivan's Travels? That was my first Sturges and I'm not very impressed. Sure, the dialog sparkles occasionally and Lake is okay as a poor man's Bacall, but otherwise? I suppose it doesn't help that I'm not much into slapstick comedy.

I didn't care for it either when I first watched it. I thought that the slapstick seemed out of place in the screenplay. With subsequent viewings, I've grown to appreciate it more. But it still ranks near the bottom in respect to his other films.

For the next film, try either The Great McGinty, The Palm Beach Story, Hail the Conquering Hero or The Miracle of Morgans Creek. To me, all four of these are better than Sullivan's Travels.

Najemikon

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Re: Christmas in July (1940)
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2010, 09:17:42 PM »
Well, Sullivan's Travels might be my favourite!  :whistle: Hail The Conquering Hero and Christmas in July are definitely up there.

I have a sad feeling that Matthias would be tough to win over.