If you’re stumped for a gift for your grandparents, grand aunt or just some grand “older” friends, holiday movies might be the answer. They are inexpensive, will bring back memories (or maybe create some new ones) and are perfect for people who already have just about everything.
There are about a dozen movies I like that fall into the holiday category but the 5 listed below are at the top of my all-time favorites list.
A Christmas Carol
George C. Scott is my favorite Scrooge. I love his portrayal and I think Charles Dickens would have, too. A solid script, good acting by all of the other players and a superb performance from Scott make this a favorite. The costumes and the cinematography are also exceptional. And some of the visual effects combined with the sound effects make for a few scary scenes. All in all, a good story, well done.
The dancing of Fred Astaire, the singing of Bing Crosby and the romantic rivalry between the two make this a fun film to watch over and over again. One of the things I love best about Holiday Inn is the music which is tied to a lot of the major holidays of the year. In fact, Irving Berlin created or reused a number of songs with holiday themes including Washington’s Birthday, Easter Parade and what would become one of the bestselling recordings of all time, White Christmas. I love this film and watch it at least 4 times a year!
The Bishop’s Wife
When an angel (Cary Grant) comes down from heaven to help a Bishop (David Niven), some not so heavenly sparks fly in this romantic, holiday comedy as the angel falls for the…Bishop’s wife (Loretta Young). Toss in Monty Woolley and the Mitchell Boys Choir and you get a heavenly film for the holidays. This is the original version and only available as an MGM set (with 2 other holiday movies) or as a download at Amazon. But you can buy it from Turner Classic Movies for $12.99.
This romantic comedy has a well-known cast of actors including Robert Mitchum, Wendell Corey and, in the female lead, none other than Jamie Lee Curtis’s mother, Janet Leigh (also of Psycho fame). Leigh plays a war widow who can’t afford to buy her son a toy train for Christmas. Mitchum buys the train and that’s when things get complicated. Watch for Harry Morgan of MASH fame who is hilarious as a night-court judge who tries to get a handle on who is really in love with whom and who stole the salt and pepper shakers. The movie is out of stock at Barnes & Noble but you can download this one at Amazon or or buy it in a set of with 3 other holiday movies for under $10.00.
Christmas In Connecticut
Barbara Stanwyck did some fine comedies in her career and this movie was one of the best. Stanwyck writes a food column for a very upscale magazine (think Gourmet) but she can’t cook. It wouldn’t have mattered except her publisher decides to send her a war hero for her and her husband (which she doesn’t have) to entertain over the holidays. Stanwyck has to line up a husband, a baby and a chef who “helps out” in the kitchen to cover all the fibs she told to get the job. The result is hilarious.
I own every one of these movies and sometimes I watch them in July! But since it is the holiday season, it looks like it’s time to pop some popcorn, light a fire in the fireplace and settle in to a night of watching these holiday favorites with my favorite guy.