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An unemployed dreamer thinks he's won a big radio contest.
Jimmy MacDonald, a twenty-dollar-a-week clerk at the Baxter Coffee Company, refuses to marry his sweetheart, Betty Casey, until he prospers. To realize his dream, Jimmy, an inveterate contest entrant, submits a slogan to the Maxford Coffee Contest: "If you can't sleep at night, it's not the coffee, it's the bunk." The winner of the contest is supposed to be announced on Maxford's radio program, but when Bildocker, one of the jury contest members, deadlocks the vote by refusing to go along with the slogan selected by the other twelve members, the program has to end without revealing the winning slogan. The next day, three of Jimmy's friends, Tom, Dick and Harry, decide to play a practical joke on him by making up a phony telegram informing him that he has won the $25,000 first prize. When the telegram is delivered to Jimmy's desk at work, Jimmy, Betty and the entire office start to celebrate, and before his friends can tell him that the telegram is just a prank, Jimmy telephones his mother with the good news. Mr. Baxter, thinking that Jimmy's ideas must be good, promotes him to the advertising department. Because the telegram has instructed Jimmy to go to the Maxford company to pick up his prize, Jimmy and Betty innocently go to the office of Dr. Maxford, the head of the company. Because Maxford is frustrated and angry that no winner was selected in time for the broadcast and can't reach any of the contest jurors by telephone, he thinks that Jimmy's slogan was selected as the winner and signs the first prize check. Jimmy then goes to a department store where he uses the check as collateral to buy Betty an engagement ring, his mother a fancy new "Devanola" couch and gifts for everyone on their block. Jimmy and Betty think that their troubles are at an end, as the entire neighborhood celebrates their good fortune, but meanwhile, Maxford discovers his mistake and stops payment on the check. Everyone's "Christmas in July" celebration is interrupted when representatives from the department store arrive to reclaim their merchandise and Maxford appears, tears up his check and denounces Jimmy. The department store decides to let the neighbors keep their gifts and blames everything on Maxford and a near riot erupts. As Jimmy is comforted by Betty, Tom, Dick and Harry arrive, carrying a broken-down couch for Jimmy's mother, which they remorsefully offer as an apology for the prank. Jimmy's downfall appears complete when he goes back to Baxter's to see the new office which has been prepared for him and Baxter threatens to demote him, but Betty convinces him to give Jimmy a chance. As they go home, Jimmy admits that he only had confidence in himself because he won the contest and does not know if he can do a good job in the ad department. Just at that moment, however, Bildocker rushes into Maxford's office and announces that he finally has convinced the rest of the contest jury to admit that his favorite slogan should be the winner. Bildocker then reads the winning entry: "If you can't sleep at night, it's not the coffee, it's the bunk." As Maxford screams, Bildocker expresses his admiration for the slogan and says that they just sent a telegram to the winner, Jimmy MacDonald.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||not available|
|Release Date:||1940||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Paramount Pictures, Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)||Production Co:||Paramount Pictures, Inc.|
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christmas in july
kevin sellers 2018-12-29
Solid Sturges film. Not as good as "Sullivan" or "Morgan's Creek", mind you, but still a nice blend of sentimentality and cynicism...
So much for playing this movie in December! I waited so long for this movie I saw as a young girl. And you did not disappoint! Thanks TCM!
Still one of the most underrated of Sturges films, this film has so many layers: race, class, media, all wrapped in typical Sturges wit and manic hilarity....