Holiday Affair


1h 27m 1949
Holiday Affair

Brief Synopsis

A young widow is torn between a boring businessman and a romantic ne'er-do-well.

Photos & Videos

Holiday Affair - Publicity Stills
Holiday Affair - Lobby Card Set
Holiday Affair - Alternate "Noir" Movie Poster

Film Details

Also Known As
Christmas Gift, The Man Who Played Santa Claus
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Holiday
Romantic Comedy
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Dec 24, 1949
Premiere Information
New York opening: 23 Nov 1949
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novelette The Man Who Played Santa Claus by John D. Weaver in McCall's (Dec 1948).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 27m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,797ft

Synopsis

When attractive Connie Ennis buys an expensive electric train set during the Christmas rush at Crowley's, a New York department store, without asking a single question about it, clerk Steve Mason becomes suspicious. Steve's suspicions are justified as Connie works as a professional "comparison shopper" for one of Crowley's competitors. Exhausted after a day of "shopping," Connie, a war widow, goes home to her six-year-old son Timmy and brings the electric train with her. The impressionable Timmy sneaks a peek at the train and gleefully assumes it is his Christmas present until Connie, who is unaware that he has seen it, informs him otherwise. That night, Connie's longtime admirer, lawyer Carl Davis, proposes to her, but unsure of her feelings, she declines to give him an immediate answer. Connie then discusses Carl's proposal with Timmy, who resists the idea. The next day, when Connie tries to return the train at Crowley's, Steve threatens to report her to the store detective. After she explains that she is a war widow with a son to support, however, Steve refunds her money, a gesture that leads to his dismissal. Steve then asks Connie to lunch and, while eating with her in Central Park, impresses her with his plans to build sailboats with his friend in Balboa, California. Later, as they are loaded down with comparison shopping packages, Connie and Steve become separated in a crowd. Steve, however, shows up later at Connie's apartment and discovers Carl there. Although polite, Carl is clearly disturbed by Steve's presence and fights with Timmy, who is still upset about the train. After a frustrated Carl leaves, Steve angers Connie by suggesting that she stop trying to make Timmy into the image of his dead father. Steve then learns about the train from Timmy and advises him to always "aim higher than the mark." As he is leaving, Steve impulsively gives Connie a passionate kiss, prompting her to accept Carl's proposal that night. On Christmas morning, Timmy discovers the train set outside the apartment door and assumes that it is from his mother. When he reveals that he earlier told Steve about seeing the train, Connie deduces where it came from and goes to confront Steve. Connie finds the almost broke Steve in Central Park, and although she offers to reimburse him for the train, he refuses her money, saying that he wants to encourage Timmy's optimism. After Connie gives him the loud tie she had bought for Carl, Steve happily offers his old tie to a passing bum. Connie then reveals she is marrying Carl on New Year's Day, sparking another lecture from Steve about letting go of the past and facing the future without fear. Annoyed by Steve's words, Connie leaves the park in a huff and goes home to Timmy, Carl and her former in-laws. Soon after, Connie is summoned to the police station to vouch for Steve, who was arrested after the police found him with a pair of stolen salt and pepper shakers, which the park bum had given to him as a gift. With Carl and Timmy by her side, Connie explains about Steve and the bum to a bemused police lieutenant, who eventually releases Steve. Timmy then insists that Steve eat Christmas dinner with them. At Connie's, the two rivals maintain a polite facade until Steve finally announces that he is in love with Connie and wants to marry her. Connie coolly tells Steve to leave, and Steve, who is planning to move to California as soon as he has earned enough money for a train ticket, says a final goodbye. The next day, however, Timmy takes his train set back to Crowley's and tearfully asks Mr. Crowley for a refund so that Steve will not be penniless. After Timmy returns home and presents a worried Connie with his refund money, she and Carl drive to Steve's hotel. When Connie refuses to see Steve, Carl deduces that she is genuinely in love with him and graciously "divorces" her. Connie then delivers the money to Steve, but he refuses to propose again until she has proven to him that she is through grieving for her husband. Once again, Connie storms off in anger, but later, on a lonely New Year's Eve, she realizes her future is with Steve. As Steve celebrates the New Year on a west-bound train, he receives a telegram informing him that Connie and Timmy are joining him and rushes happily to embrace them between cars.

Photo Collections

Holiday Affair - Publicity Stills
Here are a few publicity stills for Holiday Affair (1949). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Holiday Affair - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from RKO's Holiday Affair (1949). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Holiday Affair - Alternate "Noir" Movie Poster
Here is a movie poster RKO sent out for Holiday Affair (1949). When the comedy-drama did not perform well at the box-office, RKO attempted an alternate ad campaign reminiscent of star Robert Mitchum's earlier Film Noir successes.
Holiday Affair - Scene Stills
Here are several scene stills from Holiday Affair (1949), starring Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh.

Videos

Movie Clip

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
Christmas Gift, The Man Who Played Santa Claus
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Holiday
Romantic Comedy
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Dec 24, 1949
Premiere Information
New York opening: 23 Nov 1949
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novelette The Man Who Played Santa Claus by John D. Weaver in McCall's (Dec 1948).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 27m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,797ft

Articles

Holiday Affair


Like It's a Wonderful Life (1946), another Christmas favorite released through RKO Studios, Holiday Affair (1949) was a box-office failure that went on to become a hit through repeated television airings. Though Holiday Affair has hardly achieved the cult status of the other film, it continues to charm audiences with its tale of a war widow (Janet Leigh) torn between her button-down fiance (Wendell Corey) and a free spirit (Robert Mitchum).

Mitchum may have seemed odd casting at the time for a whimsical family story. The tabloids were still abuzz with his 1948 arrest and prison sentence for possession of marijuana. But RKO's owner, aviation tycoon Howard Hughes, had faith in him and refused to drop him from contract. In fact, just before filming started on Holiday Affair, RKO paid $400,000 to acquire sole ownership of Mitchum's contract from independent producer David O. Selznick, who had shared the contract with RKO.

Like many who worked with Mitchum, co-star Janet Leigh was quick to discover that his devil-may-care image masked a dedicated actor who put a lot more into his craft than most people suspected. Mitchum loved to play practical jokes on her, but they always had a purpose. During a tense dinner scene, he and co-star Wendell Corey each slipped a hand onto her knee under the table. She started fidgeting in response, which turned out to be the perfect reaction for the scene. Later, when she and Mitchum shared their first kiss, he really kissed her, again getting just the right reaction for the scene.

Leigh wasn't as happy about her relationship with Hughes, who had arranged to borrow her from MGM for a series of pictures starting with Holiday Affair. But that didn't prevent a very strange encounter when he summoned her for a private meeting toward the end of production. Hughes presented her with a private eye's report on her activities, claiming her current boyfriend, Arthur Loew, Jr., had ordered the investigation out of jealousy. Leigh saw through the ruse at once - all of the people she was linked to in the report were members of Loew's family. Clearly Hughes had ordered the investigation himself. She informed him that their future meetings would be strictly business if he wanted her to keep making films at RKO.

Director/Producer: Don Hartman
Screenplay: Isobel Lennart, John D. Weaver (story Christmas Gift)
Cinematography: Milton R. Krasner
Editor: Harry Marker
Art Direction: Carroll Clark, Albert S. D'Agostino
Music: Roy Webb
Cast: Robert Mitchum (Steve Mason), Janet Leigh (Connie Ennis), Wendell Corey (Carl Davis), Gordon Gebert (Timmy Ennis), Griff Barnett (Mr. Ennis)
BW-87m. Close captioning.

by Frank Miller
Holiday Affair

Holiday Affair

Like It's a Wonderful Life (1946), another Christmas favorite released through RKO Studios, Holiday Affair (1949) was a box-office failure that went on to become a hit through repeated television airings. Though Holiday Affair has hardly achieved the cult status of the other film, it continues to charm audiences with its tale of a war widow (Janet Leigh) torn between her button-down fiance (Wendell Corey) and a free spirit (Robert Mitchum). Mitchum may have seemed odd casting at the time for a whimsical family story. The tabloids were still abuzz with his 1948 arrest and prison sentence for possession of marijuana. But RKO's owner, aviation tycoon Howard Hughes, had faith in him and refused to drop him from contract. In fact, just before filming started on Holiday Affair, RKO paid $400,000 to acquire sole ownership of Mitchum's contract from independent producer David O. Selznick, who had shared the contract with RKO. Like many who worked with Mitchum, co-star Janet Leigh was quick to discover that his devil-may-care image masked a dedicated actor who put a lot more into his craft than most people suspected. Mitchum loved to play practical jokes on her, but they always had a purpose. During a tense dinner scene, he and co-star Wendell Corey each slipped a hand onto her knee under the table. She started fidgeting in response, which turned out to be the perfect reaction for the scene. Later, when she and Mitchum shared their first kiss, he really kissed her, again getting just the right reaction for the scene. Leigh wasn't as happy about her relationship with Hughes, who had arranged to borrow her from MGM for a series of pictures starting with Holiday Affair. But that didn't prevent a very strange encounter when he summoned her for a private meeting toward the end of production. Hughes presented her with a private eye's report on her activities, claiming her current boyfriend, Arthur Loew, Jr., had ordered the investigation out of jealousy. Leigh saw through the ruse at once - all of the people she was linked to in the report were members of Loew's family. Clearly Hughes had ordered the investigation himself. She informed him that their future meetings would be strictly business if he wanted her to keep making films at RKO. Director/Producer: Don Hartman Screenplay: Isobel Lennart, John D. Weaver (story Christmas Gift) Cinematography: Milton R. Krasner Editor: Harry Marker Art Direction: Carroll Clark, Albert S. D'Agostino Music: Roy Webb Cast: Robert Mitchum (Steve Mason), Janet Leigh (Connie Ennis), Wendell Corey (Carl Davis), Gordon Gebert (Timmy Ennis), Griff Barnett (Mr. Ennis) BW-87m. Close captioning. by Frank Miller

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of this film were The Man Who Played Santa Claus and Christmas Gift. Gordon Gebert is listed last in the film's opening credits. Contemporary news items add the following information about the production: RKO paid $50,000 for the screen rights to John Weaver's story. In November 1948, Cary Grant and his then wife Betsy Drake were announced as the film's probable stars, but in January 1949, Montgomery Clift, James Stewart and Teresa Wright were being considered for leading roles. Before Janet Leigh was finally cast, Howard Hughes protegées Faith Domergue and Jane Russell were also considered. Only days before the start of production, Johnny Wright was announced for the part of "Timmy" and is listed as a cast member in Hollywood Reporter production charts. Gebert played the role in the film, however. RKO borrowed Leigh from M-G-M for the production and Wendell Corey from Hal Wallis' company. Some scenes were shot at Paramount Studios. A late July 1949 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that the studio was rushing the picture's opening in order to capitalize on Robert Mitchum's popularity, which had grown following his much-publicized conviction on narcotics possession earlier in the year and his success in the RKO film The Big Steal . This was producer/director Don Hartman's second and last picture for RKO. According to modern sources, the film lost $300,000 at the box office. Robert Mitchum and Gordon Gebert reprised their roles in a December 18, 1950 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast, co-starring Laraine Day. Scott Brady and Phyllis Thaxter starred in a Lux Video Theatre telecast on December 22, 1955.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video August 30, 1989

Released in United States Winter December 24, 1949

Released in United States on Video August 30, 1989

Released in United States Winter December 24, 1949