1941-1950ComedyDon HartmanRomanceUSA

Don Hartman – Holiday Affair (1949)

Nothing like a love triangle to spice up Christmas, right? Don Hartman’s Holiday Affair delivers that and…well, not much else, but it’s still an enjoyable romantic comedy that’s fallen well under the radar during the last 70 years. At the center or if all is young widow Connie Ennis (Janet Leigh); she lives with her precocious son Timmy (Gordon Gebert), works as a comparison shopper, and has been dating lawyer Carl Davis (Wendell Corey) for two years. After a mistake almost costs Connie her job, she’s saved by clerk Steve Mason (Robert Mitchum)… that is, until he’s promptly fired for not calling her out. Nonetheless, their resulting afternoon is spent together and she takes a liking to the smooth- talking war veteran, who also leaves quite an impression on little Timmy. Carl, of course, is skeptical.

The fallout from their brief encounter leads to all sorts of polite but simmering comments from Carl. He proposes marriage to Connie and she finally accepts, with both actions clearly stemming from Steve’s entrance: he’s got to claim his territory, and she feels guilty for flirting with another man. Steve doesn’t give up; instead, he delivers an expensive Christmas gift for Tommy — a train set the young boy has wanted for months — which seems innocent enough, but Carl takes it as another way to buy their affection. The difference is that unlike her well-to-do fiancée, Connie’s mystery man barely has enough money to eat. She’s now torn between the aloof kindness of Steve’s gesture, the more stable but rigid prospect of domestic life with Carl, and her son, who needs her now more than ever.
It’s a dependable recipe for soapy drama — at least more than expected for a film categorized as a romantic comedy — and on that front, Holiday Affair delivers the goods. This is largely due to strong and well-cast characters: everyone is perfectly suited to their role, and even young Gordon Gebert steals many a scene as young Timmy. Several stand-alone moments also leave quite an impression, none more so than the painfully awkward Christmas dinner where Steve lays his feelings bare in front of the entire Ennis family… even the parents of Connie’s late husband. Yet the film’s much more scattered second half spins its wheels an awful lot, with more than a few late encounters stemming from fragile coincidences and silly or mawkish fare that wouldn’t feel out of place in a wooden Hallmark drama. Holiday Affair rallies in the home stretch for a decent send-off but, as a whole, it feels more like a loose collection of good-to-great scenes stitched together by a meager plot that struggles to maintain momentum even at just 87 minutes.

From one perspective, Holiday Affair is obviously an attempt to recapture the magic of then-recent Mitchum hits like Rachel and the Stranger (also featuring a love triangle) and, of course, 1947’s smoldering Out of the Past. And while it doesn’t quite have the impact or staying power of either of those films, Holiday Affair is still worth (re)discovering on Warner Archive’s new Blu-ray, which serves up yet another top-level 1080p transfer, lossless audio, and a few light but appreciated extras. If nothing else, it’s a solid second-team pick for your Christmas movie rotation.

Holiday Affair.1949.576p.BDRip-AVC.ZONE.mkv

Container:  	Matroska
Runtime: 	1 h 26 min
Size: 	1.68 GiB
Codec: 	x264
Resolution: 	790x576 
Aspect ratio:  	1.372
Frame rate: 	23.976 fps
Bit rate: 	2 500 kb/s
BPP: 	0.229
#1:  	English 2.0ch AC-3 @ 224 kb/s (Stereo)



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