Each year it is traditional to watch Christmas movies. I would like to extend this opportunity
to suggest four fabulous movies watched in my household faithfully. I strongly advise watching
the original versions as there is such meaning and depth to the stories. Without further adieu
here is my short list of recommended movies.
It's a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American film produced and directed by Frank Capra and based on
the short story "The Greatest Gift" written by Philip Van Doren Stern. The film takes place in
Bedford Falls shortly after World War II and stars James Stewart and Donna Reed. James Stewart
is a man who thinks about committing suicide on Christmas Eve which gains the attention of his
guardian angel, Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers) who is sent to help him in his hour of need.
The film is regarded as a classic and was nominated for five Oscars without winning any however
the film has since been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best films
ever made and placed as number one on the list of the most inspirational films of all time.
A Christmas Carol (also known as Scrooge) was released in 1951 and stars Alistair Sim as
Ebenezer Scrooge. The movie was directed by Brian Desmond Hurst, with a screenplay by Noel
Langley. The film also featured Kathleen Harrison as Mrs. Dilber, Scrooge's charwoman.
The film expands on the story by detailing Scrooge's rise as a prominent businessman who was
corrupted by a greedy mentor that lured him away from the benevolent. He is visited by three
ghosts and his life is changed dramatically by these visits. The movie has attained classic
status and is a must see each year.
White Christmas is a 1954 musical Christmas movie starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye that
features the songs of Irving Berlin, including White Christmas. The film was directed by
Michael Curtiz and co-stars Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. It became the top grossing
film of that year. The movie was supposed to reunite Crosby and Fred Astaire for their third
Irving Berlin extravaganza however Astaire bowed out after reading the script. Donald O'Connor
was selected to replace Astaire, but he, too, had to pass because of an illness. O'Connor was
replaced by Danny Kaye. The choreography was done by Bob Fosse, although he was uncredited.
The story is based around two World War II army buddies. It begins on Christmas Eve, 1944,
somewhere in Europe. Their major General Thomas F. Waverly (Dean Jagger) arrives for the end
of the show performed by Crosby and Kaye to bid the men farewell as he is reassigned to a new
post. The dancing and singing is phenomenal and watch Vera Ellen (in my opinion one of the best
dancers in the world) nerve tapping. The costumes are magnificent and Bing Crosby is without
doubt the best crooner you will ever hear.
Miracle on 34th Street is a 1947 film written by Valentine Davies, directed by George Seaton,
and stars Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn. It is the story of events
that occur in New York City following Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. People wonder whether
or not a department store Santa may be the real thing.
The film won Academy Awards for best actor in a supporting role and best writing. It was also
nominated for best picture, losing to Gentleman's Agreement.
Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) is shocked to learn the Santa in the parade is intoxicated. When he
complains to Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara), she persuades Kris to replace him. He does such a
fine job that he is hired to be the Santa for Macy's flagship New York City store on 34th Street.
This film is my personal all time favourite Christmas movie. The story is phenomenal and the idea
of believing or having faith in a person is abundantly clear as the story unfolds. It is simply
a delight to watch, hopefully making believers of everyone and as Kris Kringle so aptly stated
"Christmas isn't just a day, it's a frame of mind".