Sunday, November 28, 2010

'Holiday Affair' Open Thread

What did you think?


  1. This is a fun show that always puts me in a mood for Christmas, what with the snow falling outside and the people bustling about in department stores. There was one in Portland, and growing up it was always a big thing to visit it at Christmas, as you would have to ride an elevator to get to the floor you wanted (unusual for Portland) and they would open up a whole floor just for toys - the toy department! And there was a train suspended from the ceiling that kids could ride on - it was great!

    I love the interplay between all the main characters, but particularly between Steve Mason and Carl Davis... the polite awkwardness, Carl's look of surprise when Steve takes off his coat to sit down, the scene at the police station. Throughout Carl is very much a gentleman, but Steve has a directness and ease about him that is very reassuring. No wonder the little boy warmed to him, as did Connie.

    The interplay between Steve and Connie is fun and light, and so much reminds me of meeting someone you like. And the grandparents were a nice addition as well. I love it when Connie comes home and little Timmy has told the in laws all about his friend Steve that bought him the train, and oh by the way mom is gonna get married. And when Connie has to clear it up, Mrs. Innis exclaims "Carl! Well, well, we think that's wonderful, dear." It's pretty fun.

  2. I thought the dialogue was really very good. I loved Connie going up to Steve's room, and as he closes the door behind her she mentions...

    "The landlady said to keep the door open."

    To which he replies:

    "Let's worry her, shall we?"

    And then catching a look in Connie's eye, he closes shut the Murphy bed and adds:

    "But let's not worry you"

    Perfect. A guy with a certain amount of self assurance, and yet still a gentleman.

  3. Christmas-time romance...

    I think I'll have to make Desk Set my fav pick.

    My only reservation is how the depiction of information technology may affect Darrell. ;)

  4. I really enjoyed Holiday Affair, both in the light, comic moments, and in the delicate treatment of the serious themes.

    Connie Ennis reminds me very much of Doris Walker, in Miracle on 34th Street -- a broken-hearted young woman, with a child to raise, who turns inward to protect herself from further loss, but in doing so prevents her child from learning to hope and dream, and herself from finding love again. 1949 -- I imagine this was all too real for a lot of young women.

    I liked the emphasis on how this affected the child, Timmy -- the real risk of making him too old, too fast. It is a hard balance to find, much less teach a child, between having reasonably reasonable expectations, and still keeping the capacity to reach for far more than you have. I thought they captured that nicely, when Connie is saying that Timmy can't grow up thinking he can always have anything he wants, and Steve counters saying he should sometimes --

    "so that he'll know these things can happen."

    And the little boy, Timmy, was wonderful -- cute and quirky and funny and natural. And the missing teeth! Perfect. I loved the little details tucked into scenes, like Connie reminding him to eat his Corn Flakes -- "With your spoon!" And that wonderful scene with THE Mr. Crowley, and the prepared story that Tim puts aside with the man he believes can help him.

    There were so many wonderful bit of dialogue, all through the movie. The way Steve and Connie connected so easily is summed up neatly as they returned from the park:

    "Do you always make people talk this much?"

    "No. And I don't always like listening this much."

    I did love that scene between Clark and Steve by the fireplace, all polite observations and "That's right!" and "Is that so?"

    And the scene at the police station was wonderful, Janet Leigh delightfully earnest about Steve's eating with seals, and Harry Morgan more than a little skeptical about the orphan squirrel, and the "little girl on roller skates, with a balloon on her head."

    And when Carl realizes that Connie will never be in love with him, and gives the most gracious have-a-good-life speech ever.

    "No time is wasted that makes two people friends."

    But I thought having NO dialogue in that final scene on the train was PERFECT.

    And I thought Janet Leigh was fabulous.

  5. I've seen Holiday Affair many times. It used to be a December favorite on the local TV stations in the 60s and early 70s for their afternoon movies. I couldn't find it for streaming so I took a look at the Lux Video Theatre presentation with Phyllis Thaxter. It was, more or less, and exact adaptation of the film--as Lux used to do--with the only difference being the last scene. Since they weren't going to recreate a major train station, Connie gave Steve the train ticket in her apartment. After the presentation, Margaret O'Brien--plugging her upcoming RKO film Glory, greeted the cast, and I don't think I ever saw some one so ill at ease, wanting to be anywhere else. I don't know why, maybe because it was unscripted . . . That something you didn't get to see with your regular old movie.

    As far as Desk Set goes. at first it didn't ring a bell. But when I read a recap it all came back to me. I recall seeing it and even remembered parts. Their ficticious EMERAC computing engine amalgam of ENIAC and UNIVAC won't put me off even if I don't believe for a second that Spencer Tracy invented it.