Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Five popular Christmas films I have never seen

These memorable Christmassy films have been overlooked by me and thus make it to Overlooked Films, Audio & Video at Todd Mason's blog Sweet Freedom this Tuesday.

It’s a coincidence that the five Christmas or Christmas-related films I chose this wonderful season were all made in the forties, a decade of intense strife and insensate destruction. Perhaps, that’s why the makers of these films, variously described as “charming” and “delightful,” decided to make them—to spread a little joy and happiness around.

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
This sounds like the original version of You've Got Mail (1998). Two sales people, Alfred Kralik (James Stewart) and Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan), work together in a store in Budapest, Hungary, but can’t stand each other. Little do they realise that they're falling in love by writing to one another, as anonymous pen pals.




Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) is a famous food writer who lies about her life in her food columns. One day, she is forced to play host to a war hero at a traditional family Christmas. Will her lies—marriage, kids, and working on a farm—be exposed and will it ruin her career?




It's a wonderful life (1946)
A guardian angel named Clarence (Henry Travers) comes to the aid of a compassionate but frustrated and suicidal businessman, George Bailey (James Stewart), by showing what life would have been like, for his town, his family, and his friends, if he were never born. George doesn't know that he is already living out his dream.
The Bishop's Wife (1947)
Cary Grant plays Dudley, a guardian angel, who wants to help Bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven) realise his dream of building a new cathedral, but the priest, unlike everyone else who likes the angel, is suspicious of Dudley's motives—is Dudley out to replace him both inside his church and in his wife Julia's (Loretta Young) life?
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Do you believe in Santa? Whether you do or not, this is the film to watch. Edmund Gwenn plays old man Kris Kringle who not only behaves like Santa Claus but actually claims to be one, which gets him into trouble. I saw the 1994 version where Richard Attenborough reprises Kringle’s role. As an aside, I didn’t know Kris Kringle and Father Christmas were the American and British names of Santa Claus.


© Wikimedia Commons
The last Christmas movie I saw, all over again, was The Polar Express (2004), an animated film in which a young boy doubts the existence of Santa Claus, rides in a magical train all the way to the North Pole and to Santa’s home, and discovers more than the legendary friend of children. Don’t miss the film and don't miss Tom Hanks in it.

Merry Christmas!

31 comments:

  1. These are five of my favorites. HOLIDAY INN is great too.

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    1. Patti, thanks for mentioning HOLIDAY INN. I'll add it to my list of early Christmas films.

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  2. I've seen it's a wonderful life, Miracle on 34th street, and I think maybe Christmas in Connecticut.

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    1. Charles, I plan to watch at least a couple of these movies during this holiday season.

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  3. I've seen them all, several times each, except Polar Express which I saw just once in theater, in IMAX 3-D. I'd read the book years before, of course. You're right, The Shop Around the Corner is the original (and better) film on which You've Got Mail was based.Of these, Christmas in Connecticut is easily my favorite, but The Bishop's Wife and Miracle on 34th Street are also great.

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    1. Richard, thank you. I'd no idea THE POLAR EXPRESS was based on a book. I'll see if I can get a copy.

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  4. Prashant: I saw A Wonderful Life for the first time a few nights ago. Now I understand why it is shown every Christmas season. I really enjoyed the movie.

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    1. Bill, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE WILL probably be the first of these films I'll watch. I have heard and read a lot about it.

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  5. My favorite of these is The Bishop's Wife, and I like Holiday Inn a lot too, which Patti mentioned. The one I haven't seen but would like to is Christmas in Connecticut.

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    1. Tracy, I like David Niven's films and I'm looking forward to seeing him in THE BISHOP'S WIFE.

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  6. Not watched any of these so you can see how much I am involved in Christmas! My children have written me off as being totally hopeless about the festival. The Bishop's Wife sounds interesting.

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    1. Mystica, I haven't watched a good early or vintage film in several months. All we get on cable these days are action and thriller movies. I'll have to check online or pick up a few DVDs if I get them.

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  7. Christmas in Connecticut is my favorite Christmas movie of all time. I love Miracle on 34th Street as well. Believe it or not, It's a Wonderful Life is one of my least favorite Christmas movies. I love White Christmas, Holiday Inn, and It Happened on 5th Avenue as well.

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    1. Ryan, I found CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT on YouTube, so I'll probably watch that first. Thanks for mentioning WHITE CHRISTMAS and IT HAPPENED ON 5TH AVENUE. They go on my list too.

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  8. You have some real treats ahead of you Prashant. SHOP ROUND THE CORNER is a wonderful romance, very sweet and funny and based on the same play as YOU GOT MAIL. I think IT''S A WONDERUFL LIFE is deeply misunderstood and is mostly an exceptionally dark meditation on the frustration of living in a small town, one that in its famous happy ending doesn't truly subvert what comes before but does work as an incredibly emotional payoff - you must see it chum, it's a magnificent portrait of little America and very far from the sappy family fare some might have you believe. Happy holidays.

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    1. I know I do, Sergio, and I'm looking ahead to watching some of these lovely movies. I didn't know it was based on the play YOU GOT MAIL. Thanks for your thoughts on IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. I think I'll like the film.

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  9. I absolutely love Cary Grant. So charming. I don't think you could have a Christmas list without him :)

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    1. Rebecca, when I was a kid my parents and uncles and aunts used to talk fondly of Cary Grant, Clark Gable, and Gregory Peck, a few of several actors whose films I grew up watching.

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  10. I've seen four of the five movies. Still never seen the Barbara Stanwcyk movie even though I grew up in Connecticut. Probably that's why I've never bothered with it. Two of them I've seen multiple times -- It' s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street -- the latter will always be my favorite of the bunch. No one has played Santa Claus better than Edmund Gwenn.

    Trivia time! Before was remade as You've Got Mail it was a Broadway musical called She Loves Me! There are some very charming songs in that musical.

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    1. Uh, I was talking about THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER in that second paragraph above. Guess I mistyped the HTML tags and the title of the movie just vanished.

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    2. John, I don't recall seeing any film with Barbara Stanwcyk in it although I have read a few reviews of her films in the blog world. I'm definitely going to watch MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET as I quite liked the later version that came out in 1994. Edmund Gwenn doesn't ring a bell. All the more reason to see him play Santa.

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  11. Christmas in Connecticut is a new one on me, and sounds splendid, just the kind of thing I like. I'll have to try to get hold of a copy.

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    1. Moira, it's available on YouTube and the print is good. I hope to watch it over this weekend.

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  12. I haven't seen any of these either except for Christmas in Connecticut - which had some funny scenes and moments, but was kind of disappointing overall.

    I want to see Shop Around the Corner but that probably won't happen this winter holiday season.

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    1. HKatz, "funny scenes and moments" is what I usually look for in romcoms and comedy films that the family watches ever so often.

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  13. Some marvelous Christmas films there, Prashant. They represent a nice block of material to enjoy. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE is the pick of the bunch for me, and I really adore SHOP AROUND THE CORNER & THE BISHOP'S WIFE too.
    I hope you have a great time this holiday period.

    Colin

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    1. Thank you, Colin. I hope you have a great Christmas too. I'll take yours and Sergio's expert advice on IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE and SHOP AROUND THE CORNER. I absolutely enjoy watching these early and charming movies.

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  14. 1 out of 5 for me and it's the remake of Miracle on 34th Street. I don't mind the odd Christmas film, but I'm not driven to seek these ones out....maybe if they pop-up on the small screen.

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    1. Col, I know what you mean. CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT and IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, which my wife and I watched last weekend, didn't hold up as well as I thought they would. I recall liking the remake of MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET. Attenborough made a good Santa.

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  15. I was forced to watch Miracle on 34th Street as a child, and I remembered thinking it was horribly dull. Wonder what I'd think of it as an adult?

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    1. Kelly, I haven't seen the original version of MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET yet. Often, in spite of a fine star cast, I find mid-20th century films quite dull. I have the same issue with many classic Bollywood films from my parents' generation. I have seen many of them, of course.

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