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Favorite Holiday Films

PhotoFilm description
wondlife-posterIt's a Wonderful Life
I'm sure everyone has seen this great Christmas film. My all time favorite Christmas movie and I watch it every year. James Stewart is given the chance to see what the world would have been like if he was never born. It's comforting to think that we all make a difference and that's the plot of this Frank Capra film. Interestingly enough, it wasn't well received when it was first out. In the 1980's the copyright for the film expired and so it was shown on about every TV station in the nation multiple times. Since then, it has grown to be a huge classic film with one of the networks now having exclusive rights. The good news is that the film is now respected and preserved for all time.
white-christmas-movie-poster-1954-1020143863White Christmas

White Christmas remains the all-time classic Christmas movie. When I first saw it, I actually didn't like it much, but as time has passed, it grew on me and now, for me,  it's a must see during the holidays. Featuring a fantastic cast and a superb Irving Berlin score, it's a heartwarming and lavish musical. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye play two ex-GI's who team up with a sister act (Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen) and help out their old army general (Dean Jagger) whose Vermont ski lodge has hit hard times. They decide to write a new musical and premiere it at the lodge with hopes of going to Broadway.

christmas-in-connecticut-movie-poster-1020427380Christmas in Connecticut
Christmas in Connecticut is a romantic comedy all classic movie buffs will enjoy. It centers around a single working girl (Barbara Stanwyck) who writes a cooking column for a ladies magazine. Her writing is so convincing that her boss (Sidney Greenstreet) believes it all--husband, baby, and farm in Connecticut! So he arranges to have a sailor and himself invited to spend Christmas "on her perfect farm." What to do? Here she is, a gal who can "only cook on the typewriter." Well, bring along Uncle Felix to do the cooking. All goes well until she is asked to flip a flapjack. Did she do it? Well, wait and see. This movie is full of fun and romance (the old-fashioned kind). It's a holiday treat for young and old alike.
miracle-on-34th-street-posterMiracle on 34th Street

Don't bother to see any other versions of this film, this is by far, the best version.


I usually see it around Thanksgiving since it begins with the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Maureen O'Hara, John Payne and Natalie Wood, as a child, are wonderfully cast and Edmund Gwenn cannot be outdone as Santa Claus. I just loved the realistic look back at how life was when it was made. It's a delightful Christmas fantasy of a charming old man who believes he is Santa Claus, and the wonderful change he brings to the people around him. The film just oozes with warm-hearted humor.

Holiday-Inn-movie-poster-Crosby-AstaireHoliday Inn

Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby play partner/rival song-and-dance men who compete for the hand of their performing partner, played by Virginia Dale. After Crosby loses, he moves to the Connecticut countryside where he creates a resort that is only open on holidays and puts on the shows with the help of Marjorie Reynolds. The theme gives Irving Berlin an excuse to craft or recycle a number of holiday-themed songs, such as (in the former category) "Washington's Birthday" or (in the latter) "Easter Parade." The most famous of the new material, of course, is "White Christmas," which became one of the bestselling songs of all time and the title song of Crosby's 1954 film.

8599.inddMeet John DoeDirected by Frank Capra, just like It's a wonderful Life, Meet John Doe isn't known as a Christmas film perse, but it ends on top of City hall on Christmas eve and it has all the drama and pure Capra style and is a huge favorite of mine. Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck are outstanding. If you've never seen it, be sure you do; especially at this time of year, it's worth it
TheShopAroundTheCornerPoster-01The Shop Around the Corner

I could watch this lovely romantic film over and over.  Set in Budapest, Hungary, a young woman advertises for a pen pal, with the proviso that each are to remain anonymous. A young man responds to her ad, and they begin corresponding and fall in love through the mail.  James Stewart gives a terrific performance as Kralik, the working stiff who is just looking for the right girl and finds her where he least expected. Stewart always shines when playing the classic Everyman. Margaret Sullavan, as Novak, gives a pert and sassy performance that belies her longing for romance in her life and for her knight in shining armor. Her sharp tongued banter with Kralik disguises an attraction that even she does not fully understand.

christmas-story-movie-posterThe Christmas StoryThe first time I saw this film I was doubled over in laughter. It so reminds us all of the magic of Christmas and what it's like to be a kid again. Wonderfully realistic story of a family in the 1940's in middle America.It is 1940's, Ralphie Parker (Billingsley) had a Christmas wish: a Red Ryder 200-shot Carbine Action Air Rifle BB Gun which is very popular to children. His overprotective mom (Dillon), his foul mouthed father (McGavin), and many adults will say the same warning "you will shoot your eye out" to him. Ralphie had many hilarious situations to get his wish granted. I love this movie and I promise whenever you want to watch a Christmas film with your family, this film is perfect and a recommend.
1324437977413578Holiday Affair
A Christmas movie sleeper that is often overlooked on people's Christmas viewing lists, and shouldn't be. Robert Mitchum, Janet Lee & Wendell Corey are all excellent in this wonderful story about a little boy whose big Christmas wish is a set of trains. Janet Lee is the boy's widowed mother; torn between two suitors(Mitchum & Corey) and making a better life for her son. Mitchum is delightful; gruff on the outside but an old softie inside. He eventually sweeps Lee off her feet and, well, you'll have to see it for yourself! A holiday film you'll want to watch long after the 12 days of Christmas. The ending montage is delightful.
I'll Be Seeing You (1944) 6I'll Be Seeing You

This is a WWII melodrama that features Joseph Cotton and Ginger Rogers, as two troubled, damaged individuals, each in need if redemption but so broken they don't know how to ask for it. Cotton is a "shell-shocked" soldier, on leave from the war, back home where civilians blandly cheer him as a hero, and where little kids playing with pop-guns give him the shakes. Rogers has her own tragedy to contend with: she's been given a holiday furlough from the state prison where she's serving a term for manslaughter.

Desde-que-te-fuiste-Since-You-Went-Away-1944-tt0037280-usaSince you Went Away

Like the film above, this one is also set in WWII. While mostly about life at home during the war, there are lovely snow filled Christmas scenes that I just love and the final scenes on Christmas Eve are just wonderful.  Starring CMF featured actress, Claudette Colbert, Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Shirley Temple, Monty Woolley and Robert Walker. Pure melodrama, but so worth watching

Babes-in-Toyland-PosterBabes in Toyland
The Laurel and Hardy classic, March of the Wooden Soldiers (originally released as Babes in Toyland), was the fantastic result of combining two tremendous talents with a childlike, fantasy world and adult situations (Laurel and Hardy, Toyland and an evil landlord's mortgage conspiracy, respectively). Such rich source material makes for a film of unsurpassed quality: featuring rich and imaginative environments, costumes, sights and sounds. Every fairytale has its day, from Little Bo Peep to the Three Little Pigs to Mother Goose, and even Santa. We all know that the winter months are a time to remember to greatest holiday classics from years past, and March of the Wooden Soldiers is unsurpassed in its genre.To see them or have your own copy click on the links below.
the-bishops-wife-movie-poster-1947-1020524277The Bishop's Wife

This film is one of the best of the Christmas Classics that I like to watch one a cloudy day with some coffee or hot chocolate under a blanket.The Bishop's Wife tells a story of an angel (Cary Grant) who comes down to earth in answer to a busy Bishop's (David Niven) prayer. The angel helps the Bishop learn to adjust his priorities and comes close to falling in love with Julia, the Bishop's wife (Loretta Young). The movie includes a lovely Skating/ Dance scene that defies description. Make this movie a tradition for your family this year.

magooMr. Magoo's Christmas Carol

Oh, while the Alistair Sims version is undoubtedly the best, I also have to throw in a plug for my little guilty pleasure which is the animated version "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol."  It brings back lots of memories and although not critically great, it's delightfully funny with very primitive, but creative annimation.  It's also worth a view.

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