Tag Archives: cinema

Best Christmas Movies

People might say such a list is subjective, but when it comes to the number one spot, it is decidedly not.

1)  A Christmas Carol, the 1951 version starring Alastair Sim. This is the greatest Christmas movie ever, the only version of the Dickens tale you need watch. Any other is inferior. This is so. There is no debate. If you disagree you are wrong. There is a colourized version which I would suggest avoiding.

2) Whistle Down the Wind. 1961. Young Hayley Mills, youngish Alan Bates. An unusual tale, very beautiful, about children and their ability to believe. Bonus marks for use of “We Three Kings,” an under-used carol and a brief role for Richard Attenborough (un-credited, I think).

3) The Bishop’s Wife. 1947. What is not to love? David Niven, Cary Grant, Loretta Young, Monty Woolley, Elsa Lanchester. A Bishop, an angel, faith, love and sacrifice. Sophisticated, smart, with plenty of humour.

4) Miracle on 34th Street, 1947 version. Wee Natalie Wood (her best role!), Maureen O’Hara and a wonderfully sophisticated look at marketing. The only good thing about the remake is Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle.

5) For this spot I’ll give a short list of honourary mentions: Three Godfathers – a John Wayne directed by John Ford Christmas tale, unusual, clever and quite touching; It’s a Wonderful Life (a movie one doesn’t really “get” when one is young — you need to have failed a lot to appreciate it!); I’ll Be Seeing You (I find this to be a major tearjerker); Holiday Inn/White Christmas (if only for the song and dance); Christmas in Connecticut (with a very funny Barbara Stanwyck and the ever pill-ish Dennis Morgan); The Sound of Music (yes, I know it isn’t a Christmas movie and it even has Nazis in it, making it extremely unfestive, but I love to watch it at Christmas).

And thus ends my list. I am certain I have forgotten some, but I urge any of you who have not seen the top three to do so, pronto.

 

In Frankreich

Dear readers, I am in France. Paris. Parigi. My better half (he is here, as well) asked me why I always call it “Frankreich” and it is because when I was a student at the Sorbonne, many moons ago, I had nowhere to be at Christmas one year and a Swiss-German classmate invited me to come to Switzerland with her and stay with her family at Christmas. So I did. And as our train pulled past the French border she screamed out — in contempt — “auf wiedersehen, Frankreich!” I  might have forgotten that but for what ensued when we arrived at her family home. “Judgment at Nuremberg” happened to be on TV that first night and when I expressed a desire to watch it — her mother asked me what I wanted to watch — the entire family went bonky and were all, like, oh wow, the war ended over 40 years ago, why do we still have to hear about Jews and how  bad they had it?

It was truly creepy. I could not get out of there soon enough, but unfortunately, I had to wait till December 27th. Have never spoken to that girl or her Jew-hating family since. (I had the good manners to send them a thank you note, though.)

If you want to see some pics of our time here, please do check my instagram and my twitter feed. Will try to post here, but ’tis a bit difficult to do so on a regular basis.

Kitty Foyle

Kitty Foyle is one of my favourite schlocky movies from days of yore: it’s sort of an early rom-com, though short on comedy, more of a romance novel (and it actually was a novel) turned vehicle for Ginger Rogers (who was terrific in the role). One has to take it, though, as being “of its time,” so to speak. There is, for example, one particularly cringe-worthy moment where Kitty says that she is “free, white and 21.” Oy.

I watched it recently on Turner Classic, and I realized that for me, it represents  a connection to both of my parents. My dad told me once that in his youth, he had a big crush on Ginger Rogers, though he got over it when he discovered that she was, in his words, “a fascist.” Now, I did some reading on Rogers, and she was not a fascist. She was a Republican and not a fan of the New Deal or FDR. That said, when the war started, she abandoned the Republican isolationism of the era and became a full-on supporter of the war effort – she owned a ranch that donated milk to soldiers and she performed in numerous USO tours.

It connects to my mom, at least in my mind, because of her love of the word “pill” to describe a certain type of man. What type of man? Well, just watch Kitty Foyle and you’ll see that she is torn between two pills. In the end — spoiler alert — she chooses the pill who wants to marry her, rather than the pill who just wants her as a mistress. It’s a smart choice, I suppose, though one senses Kitty preferred the latter pill.

Here is the original trailer of the movie, in which you can see both pills, and Ginger rocking the role of a white-collar gal. (By the way, I like to think of myself as a “sassy mick,” just like Kitty!)