Janet Leigh's film career began when retired actress Norma Shearer saw a photograph of the young Leigh dressed in ski-wear. Shearer was so impressed with the picture that she used what persuasive powers she had left with MGM and helped get Leigh a contract. Some years later, MGM loaned Janet Leigh out to RKO for a three picture deal. This arrangement made Leigh uncomfortable considering her previous dealings with RKO owner Howard Hughes. We all know Hughes was a notorious womanizer who set his sights on many actresses with a ferocity that would terrify your average woman. Hughes was as impressed Leigh's beauty as Shearer was but in a totally different way. He arranged for a date with Leigh, whisking her off to a surprise rendezvous in Las Vegas (he flew of course). She was terrified of his aggressiveness and was turned off by his power and his age. So you can imagine how terrified she was when she learned that MGM practically sold her off to RKO for three movies without her permission or asking for her opinion.
In July of 1949, Leigh started filming the movie Holiday Affair (1949) with Robert Mitchum. Hughes put as much sex into his films as possible and he loved to complicate plots at whatever cost necessary to get the final product he wanted. But Holiday Affair was a bit tricky. It's a sweet film: a romance, a family movie and a Christmas film all in one. Janet Leigh plays Connie Ennis, a widower and single mother who works as a secret shopper for a department store. She meets Steve Mason (Robert Mitchum), a toy department clerk at a competitor's store, when she accidentally gets him fired. Mason and Ennis hit it off platonically and romantically but there are obstacles in the way, notably the memory of her deceased husband and her lawyer boyfriend. However, her son Timmy is the catalyst that keeps Connie moving in the right direction even when she's very reluctant to leave her past in the past.
Frankly, Howard Hughes was kind of bored by the idea of this film. No sex, no violence, no exotic locales, no intrigue, no malleable plot, no nothing. He knew the film would mean instant money in the bank because of the stars, the plot and the holiday hook. So he left it well enough alone which is why this film is one of the least convoluted productions from the RKO library during that time period. However, he did leave his mark by means of one very very tight sweater. In Lee Server's Robert Mitchum biography Baby I Don't Care, he states "[Hughes] had them make Janet Leigh wear a shoulder-length fall [for hair] and in one scene a sweater so tight it made her breasts stand out like traffic cones." It was Hughes way of getting back at Leigh for her for rejecting his advances as well as injecting some sex into a pretty much sexless film.