This is the second combined writer-producer effort of Preston Sturges following his initial dual chore on Great McGinty. A mildly diverting programmer, Christmas in July lacks both the overall spontaneity and entertainment impress of Sturges’ first picture.
Sturges’ original script details the adventures of a young romantic pair living on the East Side and hoping for the day when fortune will smile broadly enough for them to get hitched. Boy is victim of office joke that advises he won $25,000 in a slogan contest, even though the jury is still fighting over the winner. But he collects the check and proceeds to run up a heavy charge account before cashing the winnings, plays Santa Claus to everyone on the block, including his sweetheart, and then is presented with the payoff that it’s a phoney.
Picture has its moments of comedy and interest, but these are interspersed too frequently by obvious and boresome episodes that swing too much to the talkie side. There are flashes of the by-play and incidental intimate touches displayed by Sturges in his first picture, but not enough to bridge over the tedious episodes.
Dick Powell progresses as a straight lead without benefit of vocalizing, providing a dominating performance as the slogan award victim.