Tuesday, December 11, 2007

#6 Favorite Christmas Movie: A Collection of Classics

This is my tribute to the old classics—the ones that would never make it if they were released in the theater today, but you just can't resist watching them. I couldn't decide between these. I like them equally but for different reasons. I try to catch them at least once each Christmas season.

White Christmas is a favorite because of the singing and dancing. I love Danny Kaye. I used to have a record where Danny Kaye told children's stories. Loved it. Anyway, the plot is a little silly and light-weight but, as I said, I like this mostly for the musical numbers.

Promo info: Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are Army buddies who become popular song-and-dance men after World War II. They decide to vacation with their girlfriends, played by Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen, at a failing Vermont resort owned by their former commanding officer, Dean Jagger. Their Christmas benefit performance pulls Jagger out of the red while at the same time affording us a plethora of famous Berlin tunes -- including "Blue Skies," "Heat Wave," and the Oscar-nominated "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep".

A very similar one to White Christmas is Holiday Inn. I actually like the story line in Holiday Inn a lot better. It's a little more complex and I think the acting is a tad better. Also, it's got Fred Astaire who is very graceful and fun to watch.

Promo info: Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby team up for Holiday Inn, where they 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. Dumped by Dale, Astaire makes a drunken arrival at the inn on New Year's Eve and dances with Reynolds. He decides she'll be his new partner, but doesn't remember what she looks like, setting off a frenzied search at every subsequent show while the once-bitten Crosby does his best to steer him off track.

The Bishop's Wife is another good one (the one with Carey Grant and Loretta Young, not the remake titled The Preacher's Wife with Denzel and Whitney, which I didn't like at all). This one I love for the plot. I think it's a great story and very well acted. I love Carey Grant and Loretta Young is just beautiful, however, I always felt bad for the angel.

Promo info: This gentle, warmhearted movie celebrates the innate human goodness that we all occasionally conceal from the world or avoid displaying, lest we be categorized as soft or weak. An angel comes to earth and takes human form (Cary Grant) to help people tap into their better natures. Grant's principal target is a young, aggressive bishop (David Niven), whose obsessive determination to erect a massive cathedral has gradually distanced himself from the members of his parish and even from his adoring wife (Loretta Young). The flesh-and-blood angel wants nothing more to than help strengthen both parish and family, but the enigmatic newcomer’s relationship with the bishop’s wife leads the cleric to confusion and jealousy.

Miracle on 34th Street has been redone several times, but this is the classic—the one with Natalie Wood as the little girl. This one always makes me cry. It's been colorized and I know some people don't like that, but I do. Either way, this edition is a two-disc set with both the color and black and white versions on it.

Promo info: Six year old Susan doubts childhood's most enduring miracle Santa Clause. Her mother told her the "secret" about Santa a long time ago, so Susan doesn't expect to receive the most important gifts on her Christmas list. But after meeting a special departement stare Santa who's convinced he's the real thing, Susan is given the most precious gift of all - something to believe in.

Now playing on my iPod: White Christmas performed by Bing Crosby

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