Thursday, December 24, 2020

Fellow Bloggers' Favourite Holiday Movies

This year I thought I would do something a little different for Christmas Eve and ask some of my fellow bloggers about their favourite Christmas movies. I am sure you will find some old favourites and perhaps some movies that are new to you as well! And for those who are curious, my favourite Christmas movies are The Apartment (1960), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), Christmas in Connecticut (1944), Holiday Affair (1949), The Bishop's Wife (1947), and It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1946).

Dr. Annette Bochenek of Hometowns to Hollywood:

When the holidays come around, I love revisiting my favorite holiday films. For me, it’s simply part of the season to decorate my house, spend time with family and friends checking out some holiday lights, and enjoying these beloved holiday classics. While these films are certainly not new to me, they never fail to help me ring in the holiday season. Here’s a short listing of some of my favorites:

A Christmas Carol (1951):  I think that this is the first holiday classic I can recall enjoying as a child with my parents. We watched lots of holiday films but this was among the black-and-white features I would typically see around the holidays. I feel like I notice something different in this film every year as I’m another year older and hopefully wiser! Alastair Sim’s performance here is nothing short of brilliant, with him aptly navigating the miserly Scrooge character through his journey of greed, selfishness, fear, anger, sorrow, repentance, joy, and love. As a child, I definitely remember Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Future being quite frightening, be it this version or even the much lighter Disney rendition! Now, as an adult, I adore Dickens’s tale and commentary. Moreover, I find immense warmth in the Cratchit family’s scenes and especially delight in Scrooge’s rebirth as a loving, compassionate individual, eager to begin truly living again.

Holiday Inn (1942): This early Bring Crosby-Fred Astaire pairing never fails to leave a song in my heart. Packed with delightful songs by Irving Berlin, the film actually introduces “White Christmas,” as the plot progresses with an array of additional wonderful tunes. Because this film focuses upon an inn that is open on all public holidays, I think this film is easily enjoyed at any time of year. The song and dance numbers here are truly stellar. Additionally, this is one of those rare roles in which Astaire is actually not so nice to his co-star! While he sings and dances beautifully, it’s fun to see him at least slightly outside of the realm of his usual roles.

It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947): This film is such an overlooked gem and I am so glad that it’s now publicly available for audiences to enjoy. While this film is Capra-esque in taking on social and political commentary of the day, it leans more towards comedy than it does drama. The story focuses on a homeless man who strategically moves into a 5th Avenue mansion each winter when its millionaire owner vacates for his summer estate. While the homeless man usually operates alone, one winter, he meets an array of individuals who are down on their luck and invites them to live with him for the winter. All goes according to plan until the millionaire’s actual daughter returns home to find strangers living there. Nonetheless, she remains incognito and even convinces her estranged parents to return to the mansion—also incognito. Chaos, comedy, romance, and drama ensue, in addition to some beautiful lines and scenes along the way.

White Christmas (1954): While this film has some parallels to Holiday Inn, it is a visual delight on its own. A bit lighter on the plot, the musical numbers really shine in this film, as do the fine costumes worn by the stars. Once again packed with a Berlin score and taking place in an inn—actually the same set from Holiday Inn—we meet a different cast of characters who are putting on shows for a different purpose. Being a Berlin musical, the songs never fail to delight and are highly memorable, including the postcard-perfect scene featuring his Oscar-winning title number.

There are many more holiday films to enjoy. Whether new to you or a frequently-viewed favorite, they are well worth watching year after year.

KC of A Classic Movie Blog

Holiday Affair is my favorite holiday film because while it deals with loss and need, it does so gently and with a light touch. It’s Christmas spirit without the tear-jerking. I adore its sweet spirit. Also two great performances from Janet Leigh and Robert Mitchum.

 Dan of The Hitless Wonder Movie Blog:

I have to say my favorite Christmas movie is the 1951 British-made version of A Christmas Carol. Alastair Sim is a great Scrooge--he plays him not as a over-the-top ogre, but as a real flawed man. The entire production (filmed in shadowy black & white) has a dark, brooding, English Gothic tone to it, which perfectly matches the work and world of Charles Dickens. It's chilling and moving at the same time.

Paula of TCMParty and Paula's Cinema Club:

The Apartment — I'm not really sure how a film in which the main characters, particularly the men, do such questionable things makes you feel so good, but it does.<
Christmas in Connecticut — This film has become like a Christmas tree or lights, if you don't have them, it's not Christmas.

We're No Angels — It's just such a happy fantasy

It Happened on Fifth Avenue — If worrying about Mr. McKeever and his dog is crazy, I don't want to be sane.

Love Actually — Just let it wash over you. Half the fun is seeing now-famous actors in early roles.

Scrooged (1988) Probably my favorite version of A Christmas Carol.

Trading Places — Possibly even more relevant than when it came out as a social commentary and really hilarious.

Shop Around The Corner / In The Good Old Summertime — A good story is a good story.

Christmas Under Fire — So poignant.

The Man Who Came to Dinner — I don't know why I think it's so funny, Sheridan Whiteside is really a horrible person.

The Lemon Drop Kid (1951) —  It's sweet but Bob Hope keeps it a little edgy so it won't give you a cavity.

Gill of Realweegiemidget Reviews:

The Gift of Love (TV Movie, 1978). When it comes to my Christmas movie, I love nothing more than this TV movie with Marie Osmond and Timothy Bottoms. The plot is based on O' Henry's "Gift of the Magi". The film is a turn of the century soppy romance and tells of a rich girl Beth (Osmond) who falls for a poor guy, Rudi (Bottoms). Both are engaged to others, so she has to choose between love and money... but she's pretending to be poor. Of course,  true love wins the day, and events lead to a very happy Christmas Eve ending... and yes, Marie Osmond does sing, that is Ann Ramsey aka the Bad Guy from The Goonies and you will cry (probably).

Lê of Crítica Retrô: 

I love Christmas and, of course, Christmas movies. However, my favorite holiday film is an underrated one: The Lemon Drop Kid (1951). What makes this film stand out to me was the fact that it was one of the first movies I watched and live tweeted with the #TCMParty group. I remember it was right after Peter O’Toole and Joan Fontaine passed away, so the whole classic film community was mourning and we needed a distraction. Whenever I listen to the song "Silver Bells," featured in this movie, I think about our lovely film community.

Barry P. of Cinema Catharsis

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) Director/co-writer Jalmari Helander’s unconventional Christmas-themed movie, set amidst a stark winter landscape, explores Santa’s more sinister origins. Unlike the jolly old elf popularized in modern stories, Rare Exports recalls the Finnish legend of Joulupukki, a malevolent beast that punishes naughty children for their misdeeds. While the plot concerns the mayhem that ensues after an ancient force is unleashed, at its heart, the story is about a relationship between a widower and his young son. With its balance of family drama, dark humor and creepy supernatural lore, it’s the perfect choice for those who prefer something a little left of center for their holiday viewing.

Terence: I have to apologize if I somehow missed any of my fellow bloggers! Whether you are a blogger or not, be sure to let everyone know what your favourite Christmas movies are in the comments. And to all of you, Merry Christmas!


rudyfan1926 said...

Oh mine is The Bishop’s Wife, a film of faith and hope. Filled with humor and heartwarming vignettes and a message of Christmas as nice today as it was in 1947.

KC said...

Wow, these are great choices! Feeling honored to be included with this group :-)

Paula said...

This is a cool idea, Terry! Thank you for sharing my picks, and I loved reading everyone else's as well.