I have no title.

It's pathetic, but it's true. I couldn't think of a good title, so I gave up. I'm such a good role model. Anyway, on to the post...

Christmas is the best. I love everything about it, from the tree decorating to the cold weather to the buying of presents. In a way, I feel bad for Thanksgiving because right after Halloween everyone jumps ahead to Christmas and bypasses Thanksgiving—but who can blame people? Two days after Halloween, I was sitting on the floor decorating my little tree while listening to Christmas music. And yes, the holiday film viewing has begun. Oh boy, has it begun.

I watch more and more every year, but I still feel like it hasn’t been enough. However, there are a few that I wish had a bigger following during the holiday season. Remember the Night is one such film that I just discovered. Written by Preston Sturges, you would think it’s going to be a wacky comedy, but it’s more of a sentimental drama (in the best possible sense) that boasts the first pairing of Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. He’s an Assistant District Attorney who is prosecuting her for stealing a bracelet. He feels bad that he got the trial to reconvene after the holidays, therefore leaving her in jail for that time, so he bails her out and takes her home to Indiana (whoo!) with him since she has no place to go. Naturally, they fall in love, but what will happen when they get back to New York? Will he sabotage the trial? Will she let him? It’s pretty surprising how heavy this movie can get. Think It’s a Wonderful Life, or I’ll Be Seeing You, which is another gem.

By my count, Stanwyck has three holiday masterpieces: Remember the Night, Christmas in Connecticut (with my gorgeous Dennis Morgan), and Meet John Doe. I first saw this movie close to Christmas, and its message of humanity and sacrifice is especially poignant for this time. Watching Gary Cooper struggle with his unearned fame while Stany tries to keep her morality in check is incredible to watch. And if that ending doesn’t get you a little teary-eyed, well, you’re not as big of a wuss as I am.

More lighthearted fare can be found in Holiday Affair, a cute romantic comedy starring a young Janet Leigh and a nice Robert Mitchum. Roles like these were rare for Mitchum, which is such a shame when you see how great he is. Leigh is fantastic too, and they have great chemistry. She plays a mother who lost her husband in WWII, whom she’s having a hard time letting go of. She has a boyfriend in Wendell Corey, but she can’t commit like he wants her to. Then she meets Mitchum. Circumstances (and maybe fate) keep bringing them back together, no matter how many times she storms off or he promises he’s leaving town. I think we all know how this one will end, but it’s so delightful to see it unfold anyway and it serves as an interesting look at the aftermath of the war.

If you haven’t seen Bachelor Mother yet, do it now. Ginger Rogers and David Niven are perfect. It’s a great comedy that centers on Ginger accidentally being taken for the mother of a baby she finds abandoned. Her attempts to give the baby to a shelter just make things worse, and her boss’s son (Niven) soon gets entangled in the mess. His know-it-all attitude is quickly brought to earth by Ginger in many hilarious bits, my favorite being when he tries to return a wind-up Donald Duck toy to his own department store. He had broken the toy and tells Ginger to exchange it, which she laughs at because she knows their return department is a nightmare. He decides to prove her wrong by wearing a disguise (re: sunglasses), but before long he completely loses his temper and causes a scene that results in him being tackled by employee Freddie (Frank Albertson, or Sam Wainwright in It’s a Wonderful Life). Bottom line is: check it out.

There are also movies that don’t technically qualify as Christmas flicks, but watching them during this time has become a ritual of mine. Anchors Aweigh is a perfect example of that. I watched this once while wrapping presents and it became a good memory. There is nothing in the Gene Kelly-Frank Sinatra musical that relates to any holiday, but cozying up by a fire to watch an adorably shy Sinatra and a lovesick Kelly is as good an excuse as any. Another picture is The Thin Man, which actually does take place on both December 25th and 31st. I admit I hadn’t really connected Nick and Nora to the yuletide season until recently when I read a woman on a TCM forum say that she watched the series from Christmas Eve until New Year’s Day—makes sense to me!

Another good one is Auntie Mame (which I inexplicably couldn't find any good photos of). The relationship between Mame and her nephew is so heartwarming and sweet that it caught me off-guard the first time I saw it. One of the best scenes comes when Mame has been fired from her job a few days before Christmas, but doesn’t have the heart to tell Patrick just yet. He’s decorated their apartment for them, and Mame decides after the awful year they had (the stock market had crashed and left her penniless), they deserve to open their presents early. Then her servants Norah and Ito reveal that they had used their savings to settle the butcher’s bill. It’s so lovely to see this makeshift family come together and support one another, something that is definitely fitting for the holidays when all you are is surrounded by family and friends.

With love,
Michaela

Comments

You might've missed these popular posts...

Loving and Fighting Furiously: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

Top Ten: Fred Astaire's Partners

The One Lovely Blog Award.

Rock Hudson in Pillow Talk (1959) and Lover Come Back (1961)

Announcing the Doris Day Blogathon!

The Loss of Gene Wilder.

Announcing the Vincente Minnelli Blogathon!

10 days until the Vincente Minnelli blogathon!

The Czech Méliès: Karel Zeman

John Wayne and Lucy Ricardo.