CHRISTMAS IN JULY, 1940
Cast: Dick Powell, Ellen Drew, Raymond Walburn, Alexander Carr, William Demarest, Ernest Truex
An office clerk loves entering contests in the hopes of someday winning a fortune and marrying the girl he loves. His latest attempt is the Maxford House Coffee Slogan Contest. As a joke, some of his co-workers put together a fake telegram which says that he won the $25,000 grand prize. As a result, he gets a promotion, buys presents for all of his family and friends, and proposes to his girl. When the truth comes out, he's not prepared for the consequences.
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Itís that time of year when December seems like it couldnít be further away; when the thought of snow is laughable and itís hard to picture Christmas lights with all of this sun blinding us. Santaís ďho, ho, hoĒ has blended into a mocking laugh from the heat gods. Yes, Christmas couldnít seem further away, but the characters in Preston Sturgesí second written/directed film think otherwise.
To them, itís Christmas in July (1940). Based on Sturgesí 1931 play A Cup of Coffee, Christmas in July unfolds from one prank and misunderstanding to the next. It pulls its characters and audience along on a roller coaster of events until by the end we can fix our wind warped hair and try to return to some normalcy once again.
This screwball comedy stars Dick Powell as hopeful, naÔve Jimmy MacDonald. When Jimmy hears about a radio contest sponsored by Maxford House Coffee, he sets off to write the winning slogan and collect his prize of $25,000. His co-workers, however, decide to play a prank on the innocent Jimmy and notify him of his Ďwin.í Ecstatic, Jimmy marches down to Maxford Coffee House to pick up his check and a confused Dr. Maxford (Raymond Walburn) hands it right over.
Of course, Jimmy goes nuts with the money, buying his family and girlfriend Betsy (Ellen Drew) anything they want. To Jimmyís surprise, heís also given a promotion at work due to his brilliant slogan writing. But when Mr. Maxford realizes his mistake, he and his subordinates set out after Jimmy to get their money back and throw the lying scoundrel into prison. Unaware of whatís really happening, Jimmy carries on with his glorious day while his now jealous coworkers begin to feel bad about their joke. Will things get sorted out before this little prank goes too far?