Christmas In July Review
By Christopher Null
Tragically underseen, this Preston Sturges comedy is all of 68 minutes long (including the credits) and is a freakin' laugh riot from start to finish. The story: Dick Powell's hapless Jimmy MacDonald dreams of getting rich quick by winning corporate-sponsored contests like "count how many peanuts there are in the window display." A perennial loser, he is stunned when he wins a slogan competition for a rival coffee company. Immediately, his boss (also a coffee magnate) promotes him, ashamed he hasn't been listening to his obviously great ideas, and Jimmy takes his best gal (Ellen Drew) on a shopping spree. Only it turns out that the telegram announcing Jimmy's win is a hoax. Imagine the mortification... and there's more to follow.
Filled with rat-a-tat, droll dialogue, this is Sturges' second feature film and his first comic masterpiece. Many more would follow, but those wanting to see how the maestro got started -- and anyone looking for a good time -- should definitely check out this slim piece of comedy gold.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 18th October 1940
Production compaines: Paramount Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Fresh: 15 Rotten: 1
Cast & Crew
Starring: Dick Powell as Jimmy McDonald, Ellen Drew as Betsy Casey, Raymond Walburn as Mr Maxford, Alexander Carr as Mr. Shindel, William Demarest as Mr. Bildocker, Ernest Truex as Mr. J.B. Baxter, Franklin Pangborn as Don Hartman, Harry Hayden as Mr. Waterbury, Rod Cameron as Dick, Adrian Morris as Tom, Harry Rosenthal as Harry, Georgia Caine as Mrs. MacDonald, Ferike Boros as Mrs. Schwartz, Torben Meyer as Mr. Schmidt, Julius Tannen as Mr. Zimmerman, Al Bridge as Mr. Hillbeiner, Lucille Ward as Mrs. Casey, Kay Stewart as Secretary, Victor Potel as Davenola Salesman, Arthur Stuart Hull as Cashier (uncredited), Jimmy Conlin as Arbuster (uncredited), Preston Sturges as Man at Shoeshine Stand (uncredited), Fred 'Snowflake' Toones as Sam (uncredited)