Dick Powell in "Christmas in July" (1940) by Preston Sturges

Ellen Drew as Betty Casey and Dick Powell as Jimmy MacDonald in "Christmas in July" (1940), directed by Preston Sturges.

A scene from "Christmas in July" (1940) directed by Preston Sturges, starring Dick Powell and Ellen Drew. Jimmy MacDonald believes he has won the Maxford House Coffee Slogan Contest and brings his fiancée Betty to Shindel to buy her an engagement ring.

"Preston Sturges's second feature as writer-director (1940) is in many ways the most underrated of his movies —a riotous comedy-satire about capitalism that bites so deep it hurts. An ambitious but impoverished office clerk (Dick Powell) is determined to strike it rich in a contest with a stupid slogan (“If you can't sleep at night, it isn't the coffee, it's the bunk”). He's tricked by a few of his coworkers into believing that he's actually won, promptly gets promoted, and proceeds to go on a shopping spree for his neighbors and relatives.

Like much of Sturges's finest work, this captures the mood of the Depression more completely than most 30's pictures, and the brilliantly polyphonic script repeats the hero's dim-witted slogan so many times that it eventually becomes a kind of crazed tribal incantation. As usual, Sturges's supporting cast (including Ellen Drew, William Demarest, and Raymond Walburn) is luminous, and he uses it like instruments in a madcap concerto". Source: www.jonathanrosenbaum.com

Neighbourhood scene from "Christmas in July" (1940) directed by Preston Sturges, starring Dick Powell and Ellen Drew.

"Exhaustion has begun to creep on Powell’s perennial go-getter, and his manager’s (Harry Hayden) little monologue on embracing mediocrity is starting to sound reasonable. Co-workers prank him with a phony telegram: Maxford House Coffee has just picked his slogan and awarded him $25,000. The hoax snowballs - Powell’s dissonant jingle ("If you can’t sleep at night, it isn’t the coffee, it’s the bunk") suddenly becomes gold-plated, and, elated with this "commercial insurance," the company president (Ernest Truex) promptly kicks the clerk upstairs to the adverting department.

Prize money fills the streets with gifts, capitalism giveth and capitalism taketh away. "I’m not a failure, I’m a success," people tell themselves, and Sturges is there with his severe long takes, peeling back the comedy. A very barbed account of the American Dream as something between a shopping-spree bacchanalia and an uprising of tossed fruit, seemingly as cozy as The Gift of the Magi yet in reality more stinging than Revolutionary Road. King Vidor’s dehumanizing office passes by on its way to The Apartment, a black cat crosses the squashed dreamer’s path. Is it good or bad luck? "Well, that all depends on what happens afterwards." William Demarest delivers the punchline miracle. "Unhappy the land that needs miracles". Source: www.cinepassion.org

"Сhrіѕtmаs іn Julу" (Preston Ѕturgеѕ, 1940) - Full Movie.