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Filmotomy Christmas Advent Calendar 2018 – Day 23

This is What Christmas is all About

With a title like Christmas in July, it clearly indicates that this is not really a Christmas film if the parameters mean it must take place during the festive season. But what the title does suggest is that the spirit of Christmas can very much be found in this delightful comedy written and directed by Preston Sturges.

In the film we are introduced to a lowly office worker Jimmy MacDonald (Dick Powell), a kind hearted man with ambitious goals. Jimmy doesn’t make much money, but he has his sights set on winning a Maxwell House radio contest where the person who creates the best slogan for their coffee wins $25,000. Jimmy believes his slogan can win, and in a twist of fate he’s actually fooled into believing he does win when a few of his co-workers pull a prank on him by sending him a phony telegram.


But for Jimmy, the money is merely a means to share his wealth; he doesn’t use it to spend for himself, but rather for his family and friends. The most heartwarming scene in the film happens when Jimmy, believing he has won the contest goes on a spending spree to buy a luxury sofa for his mother, and gifts for all of his friends and neighbours. He goes to his rundown neighbourhood, gifts in hand, and passes them out, brightening everyone’s day, leaving them so grateful and astonished at such a generous act.

Of course, this act kindness doesn’t last long when it’s revealed Jimmy didn’t actually win the money after all. However, this scene is a wonderful example of a wish fulfillment almost coming true. We now seem to live in a time where people of wealth don’t really want to share their riches with others less fortunate, as if Ebenezer Scrooge has taken over the world. Yet Jimmy doesn’t think twice about it when he believes he’s rich.

How many times can we all say, if we had the money, we would help those we care about the most and give them the things we could only hope for them to have? Jimmy treats everyone in his neighbourhood like the Kings and Queens they deserve to be, he speaks for those of us who wish people’s suffering could end if only we could all give that which we do not have. If only we could all be as rich as Jimmy MacDonald.

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