There are literally dozens of good movies to watch during the Christmas season. It’s a Wonderful Life will be shown on a TV screen near you. So will Miracle on 34th Street. Or you may want to screen one of your favorites.
We thought we’d share our holiday favorites with you. For Joe it’s 1942’s Holiday Inn. (Costars Marjorie Reynolds, Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire are pictured above, and below with the addition of Virginia Dale).
Holiday Inn is lightweight and fun. It’s about a crooner and a hoofer engaged in a holiday season romantic contest. Crosby introduced the Irving Berlin yuletide perennial, White Christmas, in the film. (The tune was awarded a best original song Oscar.)
Crosby always lamented that the later seasonal chestnut, 1954’s White Christmas — in which he costarred with Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney — was a dud. Which it was. For one thing it had a terrible script.
The saccharine Paramount outing — the first movie filmed in Vistavision, no less — was built around Berlin’s classic tune about the joys of being snowbound during the holidays. The guys play song-and-dance men who fall for a pair of sisters. (Sound familiar?) The saving grace is that Crosby’s vocal gifts actually make a reworking of the Berlin tune, I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas, quite listenable.
See Holiday Inn instead.
Frank’s favorite is based on the belief that perhaps a modicum of fear is necessary for a good Christmas movie.
In 1951’s Scrooge, the fine British actor Alastair Sim etches a hard-to-forget picture of an addled, confused old man terrified by the three ghostly visions presented to him. This Scrooge is metaphorically scared straight.
Also in the running is 1938’s A Christmas Carol, in which a similarly addled Scrooge (Reginald Owen) is nicely contrasted by Gene Lockhart’s winning performance as a stalwart yet sunny Bob Cratchit.
But thanks to Sims’ unforgettable performance Scrooge wins the day. The film also boasts of an unusually accomplished score featuring — in addition to excerpts from familiar seasonal melodies — original pieces composed by Richard Addinsell.
The title character’s journey from dark to hopeful times has a special meaning this Christmas season,