Release Date: 1936
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by Gregory LaCava
Written by Preston Sturges
Kate Halliday...........Carole Lombard
Annie Halliday..........Irene Dunne
Elizabeth Halliday......Myrna Loy
James Halliday.........Frank Morgan
Margaret Halliday.....Alice Brady
Aunt Helen..............Billie Burke
Pete Gordon...........Joel McCrea
Nick Stevens...........Brian Aherne
Lucky Mike...........William Powell
Set in the small town of Beacon Falls, Connecticut comes this family who gathers for one Christmas Holiday that brings out the laughter and fun for everyone involved. James Halliday is the town's most successful businessman. He owns nearly half of the town's properties. His loving wife Margaret is a retired school teacher. They have three daughters named Kate, Annie, and Elizabeth. Kate and Annie both moved to the big city to have a life of their own while younger sister Liz stayed at home and is now a teacher herself at the same school Margaret taught at. Well this one Christmas, Kate and Annie both return home to celebrate the holidays. Sisters being sisters when these three get together, it's bound to be a little friction. Kate and Annie always competed with one another in everything..school, boys, etc. Liz was the little sister who always tried to tag along with be like both of them.
Kate brings along her boyfriend Nick, a successful lawyer who Kate badly wants to impress the family with. You see Kate hasn't had much success with her life. She is a shop girl for Macy's and she doesn't want her family to know. Annie meanwhile has had some success as a gifted writer,who has traveled all over the world. But she has trouble and staying with men. Lo and behold her high school sweetheart Pete Gordon still lives in town with his own mechanic shop. He comes a calling once he hears Annie is visiting for the holidays. Of course Liz is a little peeved as her two sisters get to town and she is overshadowed all over again. To make matters worse, Aunt Helen shows up unexpectedly. Aunt Helen is the relative who always gets on everyone's nerves in no time at all.
The family dinner is the main focal point as Kate and Annie quickly trade wisecracks at one another. And Liz jumping in with her remarks as well. Things start to mellow between the sisters once they learn dad is sick. Arguing is replaced with memories of good times and soon the sisters are forgiving one another. By the end, dad makes a recovery and everyone has a joyous holiday.
One of the running gags throughout the film is Liz's constant troubles with men. Her frequent dates include cameos by such stars as William Powell, Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy.
This would mark the only film where Lombard, Dunne, and Loy would make together. Which is a shame. Below are some stats of the film.
Scored 8 Academy Award nominations including Best Film, Director, Screenplay, and nods for all three actresses: Lombard and Dunne got nominated for Best Actress while Loy got nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
Was the 4th biggest film earner of 1936.
Cary Grant and William Powell was on hand for the premiere of the film in Los Angeles. Cary was quoted as saying "How come I wasn't asked to be in this wonderful film?"
Much to the dismay of newspapers and critics, the three actresses all got along great during filming. During breaks, they would hang out together eating lunch and just talking. Imagine the conversations these three women must have had.
A follow up film was green lit but the three women could never find time again to come together for the sequel.
Notable quotes from the film:
James Halliday: Just once, I wish my three daughters could behave like normal daughters.
Liz: Oh but daddy, where is the fun in that?
Kate: Now remember if they ask you, what do you think of my cooking, say you love it Nick.
Nick: Which would be saying something if you ever cooked.
Pete: As you can see Annie, I did alright for myself after you left town.
Annie: Yes, I see. You were always good with your hands. I still got the marks to show for it.
Liz: I shudder every time one of my students call me..Ms. Halliday.
Aunt Helen: My, my, my..you just amaze me Margaret. With this family life, three daughters, a husband. It's something I could never do.
Liz, Kate and Annie in unison: We know Aunt Helen...