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Holiday Films

Posted: December 10th, 2014, 11:14 am
by movieman1957
I might be mistaken but I thought there might be a place for any holiday films. And for those maybe not so much what is good or bad about them but what they mean to you or how they speak to you. Maybe what kind of traditions come with them.

For instance, "It's A Wonderful Life" for all its being overplayed now wasn't so much the case when I first saw it after Christmas in 1974. It may have been just at the right time to have an impact on me. It did offer me hope that maybe I might be a part of some people's lives. That for all the inadequacies that George Bailey felt, unfounded because what he really lost were his long held wishes, he was important. He didn't feel it. Failures don't. Bedford Falls showed him he wasn't. Maybe I really wasn't either.

Every year but about three since 1979 The Bride and I get together with some very dear friends and have dinner and watch this film. Those few years we haven't done this leaves a hole in the season. Thankfully, we get together often through the year but if we don't do this then it just doesn't feel like Christmas.

"Remember The Night" is one that grows on me every year. It is a sweet movie. It's about giving and loving one without preconceived ideas of someone. A second chance is also important. It also reminds me of the first Christmas The Bride spent with my family. In a way she was Barbara. My mother gave her some small but nice gifts. The idea of the gifts meant so much to her that she couldn't believe that was done for her. That whole middle section of the film gets to me every time. Unconditional love. It's small. It's special. It is a way Christmas I hope would be for my family. No strain but enjoying the simplicity of family and time spent together.

Re: Holiday Films

Posted: December 10th, 2014, 11:55 am
by Mr. Arkadin
I try to vary my list of holiday films every year, but there are some that I constantly return to. Remember the Night (1940), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), Christmas in Connecticut (1947) & the wonderful short, The Star (1945) are the traditional films of my childhood, but I find perhaps even greater enjoyment in movies that depict Christmas in a more indirect manner:

The Lion in Winter (1968)
Curse of the Cat People (1944)
Blast of Silence (1961)
Decalogue III (1988)
Meet John Doe (1941)
Cash on Demand (1960)
Hell's Heroes (1930)
Christmas Holiday (1944)
Black Christmas (1974)
A Pistol for Ringo (1965)

Re: Holiday Films

Posted: December 10th, 2014, 1:30 pm
by Lomm
For me it's:
White Christmas
It's a Wonderful Life
National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
Miracle on 34th St (the original)
Nightmare Before Christmas (Tim Burton)
Die Hard. :D

And then add in all the Rankin-Bass television specials from my childhood, plus Charlie Brown, The Grinch, Mr Magoo, and on and on. Christmas entertainment is the best entertainment! :)

Re: Holiday Films

Posted: December 10th, 2014, 6:23 pm
by kingrat
Lomm, my other half is also a big fan of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. The holiday film we watch practically every year is A Christmas Story. Too bad it never won a major award, but then we know what Major Awards usually turn out to be!

Re: Holiday Films

Posted: December 10th, 2014, 10:56 pm
by RedRiver
This is a very special thread, Movieman. It means a lot to me, due to my own memories. As you say, many of us remember when IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE wasn't shown every other day in December. There was no cable! I was about 25 when I saw it, though I had heard of it for years. There's no need to justify your love for this Capra classic. It, as well as MEET JOHN DOE, is among the great movies.

"John Doe" is a memory for me. Home from college, my brother and I watched it on Christmas Eve. With our young siblings already in bed, we were supposed to be helping our parents with the late night routine. But we were too distracted by this holiday fable to place presents under the tree. Santa had to make do without us! The 1950s CHRISTMAS CAROL provides a similar story. Again with my brother, my movie watching companion, we stumbled across it on Christmas Eve. Only this one was in the daytime. A little less chaos! We had never heard of the film, or of the almost astonishingly brilliant Alastair Sim. But once exposed, we would never forget.

I believe I read this year is the fiftieth launching of the animated RUDOLPH show. If that's the case, I can tell you with certainty that my family and I watched the maiden voyage. At least, most of my family. The youngest had not yet joined the firm! This perfect holiday special is still the very best of the lot.

"Merry Christmas, you wonderful old building and loan!"

Re: Holiday Films

Posted: December 11th, 2014, 12:39 am
by rohanaka
Merry Christmas, Mr. Movieman..

I have a lot of favorites for the Christmas season especially.. but tippy top of the list for me has to be some rendition of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" (in one form or another, ha.. what can I say, I am a sucker for a good "repentance" story) I know it gets "done" a lot, and there are a LOT of "Ebenezers" running around "Bah Humbug-ing" us all over the place this time of year.. ha.. but it really is just a wonderful story.

I imagine the 1951 version (with Alistair Sim) would be my most favorite, but the 1938 one (with Reginald Owen) is very good too. I got to attend the TCM Double Feature special event at the theater this past weekend (with my beloved neighbor.. Miss Knitty, woo hoo!) and we saw the '38 version of A Christmas Carol (along w/ Christmas in Connecticut) and she and I both mentioned how MUCH we enjoyed this earlier version as well as the Sim's one. They both really are well done and a lot of fun.

And as a side note.. ha.. I will add that when it comes to "A Christmas Carol" I even like the 1980's version with Bill Murray (Scrooged) It is a fun, more 'modern" twist on the same familiar story, and Murray does the character justice (in a really AWFUL, mean spirited, "typical" Bill Murray smart-mouthed sort of way, I might add) But BOY when he "repents" it is something to see. Very "un-typical" for Bill Murray.. and very moving too. (at least to me, anyway.)

Other Christmas favorites for me ( that include "repentant" , or at least "semi-repentant" themes) would be:

3 Godfathers, (1948), We're No Angels, and The Lemon Drop Kid. And I especially like the Dr. Seuss cartoon version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas too. (maybe not a "movie" but still a favorite Christmas tradition for sure, ha.)

I guess there is just something about the message of Christmas that can (and often does) bring out the "goodwill toward men" in people.. even the "not so nice" ones, now and then.. at least in the movies anyway. (and hopefully in real life too) So maybe that is why it makes for such a good "theme" in so many stories that center around Christmas time.

And I should also mention that there are plenty of OTHER themes in Christmas" movies that I enjoy too.. I am sure if I tried I could sit here all night and think of a whole long list. there are a LOT of other Christmas movies that I like too, and many are just for fun to be watched just for sheer entertainment and for no other reason. (some are just guilty pleasures, and I freely admit have NO remorse about liking them, ha) :D I just enjoy watching them, because they make me smile.

Films like that would include: Miracle on 34th Street, Christmas in Connecticut, It's a Wonderful Life, Meet Me in St Louis (sort of a "Christmas" story.. at least it takes PLACE in part during Christmas, ha) and I also like The Shop Around the Corner. (no.. I confess.. ha.. I LOVE that one) :D

But some more recent movies that I also enjoy are definitely "just for fun" and I would also want to mention: The Polar Express, Elf, and OH.. yes.. ha.. how can I leave out the creme de la creme of all FUN Christmas movies: A Christmas Story! ("You'll shoot your eye out, kid!" ha!) :D I think I almost know so many lines from that film, I can just about quote you the entire movie from start to finish! (but I promise not to do that HERE, ha) :lol:

Re: Holiday Films

Posted: December 11th, 2014, 8:52 am
by movieman1957
TV shows work here too. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is classic and the scripture reading of the Christmas story from Luke is wonderfully moving. (I wonder if the kid had any idea how good he was in the spot.) Rudolph and Frosty are long time family favorites as well.


Thanks for the reminder about "3 Godfathers." We had a wonderful discussion about that film. There is so much imagery there to be found.

Over the weekend The Bride and I went to visit Wendy and her family. While we were there we watched "Remember The Night" and I must say that is was much more enjoyable then when I watched it a few nights before by myself. Christmas movies are best when they are shared. It was a lovely time.

Re: Holiday Films

Posted: December 11th, 2014, 12:30 pm
by moira finnie
What a lovely thread!

The first time I saw It's A Wonderful Life on television was a night in early December on the day my father passed away. It means more to me than I can say, particularly in the scenes between Jimmy Stewart and Samuel Hinds.

A couple of untypical films stand out for me along with those that warm one's heart:

Roadblock (1948)-Poor Charles McGraw seems to be living in Pottersville:

Kiss of Death (1947)-Nick Bianco (Victor Mature) has to get his wife and kids something on Christmas Eve. Too bad his last minute shopping goes awry:

The Holly and the Ivy (1952)-Ralph Richardson is a cozy old parson at yuletide. His adult children's arrival home seem to imply something is amiss:
The whole movie--rarely shown in the U.S.--can be seen here:

Re: Holiday Films

Posted: December 11th, 2014, 3:08 pm
by Lucky Vassall
Thanks, Moira, for reminding me that We're No Angels is a Holiday picture. It's always been one of my favorites. Everyone in the cast seemed to be having a ball making the film (and the joy was contagious), even that mean old Rasil Bathbone!

No, much as I wish it was true, that spoonerism isn't original. I first read it about fifty years ago in the NY Cue Magazine's listing of a Sherlock Holmes picture showing on TV. Since written spoonerisims are never accidental, I guess some bored linotype operator slipped it in when no one was looking.

Re: Holiday Films

Posted: December 11th, 2014, 4:19 pm
by moira finnie
Sorry, Lucky, but I wasn't the person who mentioned We''re No Angels. I think you may mean Rohanaka. Cheers in any case!

Good call on Cash on Demand, Joel. Good retelling of The Christmas Carol.

Just remembered that I came across one of the gems unearthed each year around now. Maybe others like A Star in the Night (1945) too. Gotta show a little good will, even if J. Carrol Naish doesn't believe in it:

The Christmas Pageant rehearsal scene from The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) is pretty entertaining (and touching):

Re: Holiday Films

Posted: December 11th, 2014, 5:50 pm
by Rita Hayworth
One of my favorite Holiday Films is the Richard Attenborough's Miracle on 34th Street with that cute Mara Wilson - I just loved the Magic it's brings!

Re: Holiday Films

Posted: December 11th, 2014, 6:49 pm
by moira finnie
I"ve never seen anything other than the Edmund Gwenn version, but I am glad if Attenborough gave a good performance as Kris Kringle, Erik. Have you seen the Thomas Mitchell version that was made for tv in the '50s?

Re: Holiday Films

Posted: December 11th, 2014, 7:31 pm
by Rita Hayworth
moira finnie wrote: Erik. Have you seen the Thomas Mitchell version that was made for tv in the '50s?

Sad to say, I haven't seen any Thomas Mitchell's movies that were made for TV at anytime - I knew Thomas Mitchell on the Big Screen Only ... Sorry Moira!

Re: Holiday Films

Posted: December 12th, 2014, 2:39 am
by Rita Hayworth
Rita Hayworth wrote:One of my favorite Holiday Films is the Richard Attenborough's Miracle on 34th Street with that cute Mara Wilson - I just loved the Magic it's brings!

Irony of all this ... funny thing to quote myself here!

That this movie was on CBUT on at 8:00 o'clock tonight (Thursday) and my power went out at 8:15 and did not come back on until 9:50 that evening. I was so disappointed in not seeing this movie again! ... I was hoping to catch it this month on any of the 200 plus channels that I have on my Cable System.


Re: Holiday Films

Posted: December 12th, 2014, 2:42 am
by Rita Hayworth
Here's the Trailer of this Classic