Christmas in July
Dick Powell, Ellen Drew, Raymond Walburn, William Demarest,
The American dream of overnight success is debunked in Christmas in July. A coffee company’s advertising jingle contest turns into a corporate nervous breakdown when, by an absurd fluke, the prize is prematurely awarded to striving clerk Dick Powell for his entry. A series of hilarious reversals follows. Manny Farber noted that Preston Sturges’s characters seem to be haunted by “the great American nightmare that some monstrous error can drive individuals clean out of society into a forlorn no-man’s-land. . . . This nightmare is of course the reverse side of the uncontrolled American success impulse, which would set individuals apart in an apparently different, but really similar and equally frightening manner. . . . [In his films,] events are used to obtain the comic release that is, indeed, almost the only kind possible in American life: the savage humor of absolute failure or success.”
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