Come Yuletide most people will watch It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, or A Christmas Story. In truth, however, there are many more movies about the holiday beyond these classics and other classics such as Holiday Inn. There are even films that are holiday movies, but people just haven't thought of them as such. Below I have listed three films that are set at the Yuletide and make for fine Christmas viewing.
The Apartment: Directed and co-written (with I. A. L. Diamond) by the great Billy Wilder, The Apartment took the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Original Screenplay, Editing, and Art Direction. And there is no denying that The Apartment deserved these awards. The Apartment is, in my humble opinion, the greatest romantic comedy of all time. Set from around Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve, The Apartment centres on C. C. Baxter (played by Jack Lemmon), the employee of a major insurance company in New York who finds himself in the unenviable position of constantly lending his apartment to his superiors for their trysts. As might be expected, this is complicated by the fact that Baxter himself is in love, with elevator girl Miss Kubelik. The Apartment is not only one of the funniest movies ever made, but also one of the most touching and dramatic as well. And, short of Casablanca, in my opinion it is the most romantic.
Holiday Affair: Released in 1949, this light romantic comedy is generally only known to film buffs. That is a shame, as it is one of the most delightful Yuletide movies ever. Holiday Affair stars Robert Mitchum, in one of his few comedic roles, as Steve Mason, a veteran and drifter, who as a clerk at Crowley's Department Store meets young widow Connie Ennis (played by Janet Leigh). Connie is engaged to lawyer Carl Davis (played Wendell Corey), but that doesn't keep Steve from falling in love with her. Holiday Affair is well written and very funny (particularly in a scene featuring Harry Morgan as a Police Lieutenant). It is also very romantic, with a good deal of sexual tension between Leigh and Mitchum.
Love Actually: Love Actually is a British film released in 2003 that has somehow slipped through the cracks, even though it was made by the people responsible for Bridget Jones's Diary. With multiple plot lines, with Love Actually Richard Curtis succeeded where many before him failed, making an Altmanesque movie without being Robert Altman. And although often classed as a romantic comedy, it is actually a comedy that centres not so much on romance as it does on love in all its forms from friendship to the love between father and son to the love between siblings to romantic love. Set over a number of weeks leading up to and including Christmas, it actually has a good deal of holiday spirit, with all the trappings of the season. It is perfect holiday viewing, with one caveat--this is not a family film. There is content in the movie that is not suitable for children, so it is best viewed after they have gone to bed!
That is a short list of some Christmas movie that many may not have thought of. I will leave you now to celebrate this night and wish you a happy and joyous Yuletide!
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