Saturday, December 24, 2011

THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS . . .MOVIES. Hark the herald dvd player spins bringing to us some yuletide viewing pleasure. If I were to have my druthers (and when do I not) and I could programme 12 movies I'd want to see around Christmas time, this is the list I'd compile. And in this viewing order, too.
  1. MIRACLE ON 34th STREET (1947) - So sue me, it's a classic. Starting off on Thanksgiving Day with the Macy's parade, the perfect traditional lead-in to the holidays. Oscar-winner Edmund Gwenn, the heavenly Maureen O'Hara, precocious Natalie Wood, stalwart John Payne and even a career-making cameo by Thelma Ritter. How can you go wrong?
  2. CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945) - A favourite from my kiddie days. Barbara Stanwyck is a "perfect homemaker column" writer who doesn't know pen and paper from pots and pans; she gets stuck into faking an "old-fashioned Christmas at home" when her boss and a returning G.I. invite themselves to her house in the country. Great cast includes Sydney Greenstreet, Dennis Morgan, S.Z. Sakall (remember him from CASABLANCA?), Una O'Connor (remember her from BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN?) and more.
  3. THE BISHOP'S WIFE (1947) - Bishop David Niven and his wife Loretta Young are having problems until angel Cary Grant shows up to put things right at Christmas. Monty Wooley, Gladys Cooper, Elsa Lanchester and James Gleason are featured in the cast.
  4. DESK SET (1957) - I usually watch this movie every Christmas. Katharine Hepburn heads the research department at a television studio and efficiency expert/electronic brain inventor Spencer Tracy starts snooping around. Love those fifties! Joan Blondell and Gig Young add to the stellar cast. This movie might make "pudding in a cloud" a Christmas staple with me!
  5. WE'RE NO ANGELS (1955) - Three escaped prisoners from Devil's Island plan to rob a store but instead end up helping the store's beleaguered family when the owner threatens to toss them out in the street. Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray and Peter Ustinov are the convicts, Basil Rathbone is the stingy owner and Leo G. Carroll & Joan Bennett are the put-upon storekeepers.
  6. DIE HARD (1988) - Nothing says Christmas like blowing up shit! And scrunching your toes into the carpet helps a lot too. Bruce Willis gets the snot beat outta him by Alan Rickman and his band of do-badders.
  7. THE LION IN WINTER (1968) - It's Christmas in 1183 and we're all barbarians! A festive family medieval Christmas with Peter O'Toole as King Henry II and Katharine Hepburn as Eleanor of Acquitaine and a family who are at each others throats: Anthony Hopkins, John Castle, Nigel Terry (later to play King Arthur in EXCALIBUR), Timothy Dalton and Jane Merrow fill out this stupendous film's cast.
  8. NOBODY'S FOOL (1994) - One of my favourite Paul Newman films. This takes place from Thanksgiving through Christmas and features Paul Newman's Sully; who can never seem to do anything right. Jessica Tandy, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith also star.
  9. THE HOUSE WITHOUT A CHRISTMAS TREE (1972) - I first saw this TV movie as a kid when it first aired and it haunted the back of my mind until I found it on VHS sometime in the late 1980s. Jason Robards stars as a father who refuses to allow a Christmas tree in the house because the loss of his wife. However, his daughter and his mother decide to work on him and change his mind. The wonderful Mildred Natwick also stars.
  10. TRU (1992) - This filmed stage play aired on PBS's "American Playhouse" and showcases Robert Morse's magnificent one-man show portraying Truman Capote during Christmas 1975 when his rich and powerful friends ostracized the author for the publication of "ANSWERED PRAYERS".
  11. PETER'S FRIENDS (1992) - A group of friends are invited to Peter's country estate between Christmas and New Year's. Much more than just "the British Big Chill", the cast includes Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Imelda Staunton, Phyllida Law and co-writer Rita Rudner.
  12. A CHRISTMAS STORY (1983) - The old perennial. How can one escape it? Amazingly enough, no matter how many times I see it, I still laugh. And Darren McGavin shows what a real father SHOULD be like.

Also rans: WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954), IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946), HOLIDAY INN (1942), SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS (1964), ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (1955) and BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE (1958).

2 comments:

Star said...

oh my god!! how could i forget We're No Angels!? i'm going home to watch it right now!

Cerpts said...

Yeaaaaaaaahhhhhhh baaaayyyyybeeeeeeeee!!!! Who da man???? Who da MAN!!!!