After Robert Mitchum was released from jail for marijuana possession, his studio was looking to clean up his image. The answer was a romantic holiday comedy, “Holiday Affair” (1949).
“At this time Robert Mitchum was operating under the cloud. The head of the studio was eager to clean up his image with this film,” said former child actor Gordon Gebert at a recent screening of the film in Yadkinville, NC.
The film “Holiday Affair” (1949) revolves around war widow Connie, played by Janet Leigh, who lives with her son Timmy, played by Gebert. Connie has dated her boyfriend Carl, played by Wendell Corey, for two years. Carl is secure, reliable and has a steady job, but while Connie likes him, she ducks the discussion of marriage.
Then Connie meets a stranger, Steve, played by Robert Mitchum, who is a store clerk she gets fired. While they never plan on it, the two continuously run into each other, making it hard to forget the other.
Outside of the romantic triangle, the film also focuses on what post-war widows most likely faced: How do you move on from your husband who was killed in war?
Connie hasn’t and tries to honor her husband’s memory every day. She lives a quiet life with her son who she calls the man of the house. Connie tells him frequently that he looks like his father and tries to part his hair in the same way that her husband wore his. She hasn’t allowed herself to fall in love again, because she doesn’t want to be unfaithful to the memory of her first marriage.
Robert Mitchum’s character forces Janet Leigh to face a truth she has been hiding from. Leigh’s character is flustered both by her feelings and by the harsh reality quoted to her by Mitchum.