Christmas At The Movies

December 15, 2015

By Tab Byrum

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There are always certain movies I insist on watching this time of year, it’s just part of my way of celebrating. All the movies I really enjoy are old movies, old as in several were made before World War II and the youngest was released in 1968. I’m not sure why I’m so drawn to old images, there’s just something in me that loves the black and white films, of course, I also love everything about the design of these films, from the homes they live in, to the clothes they all wear, and the holiday decorations in old movies are of course today considered vintage and very chic. So here’s my list of Holiday flicks, let me know if any of these are on your To Watch list and what your favorite Christmas movies are, Enjoy!!!  

White Christmas

 

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Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is a must every year, with the signing of the namesake song and great story of soldiers coming together to help their former commander after WWII. The film stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen and it has everything a holiday musical should with humor, great costumes, musical numbers and a couple of love stories to boot. 

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White Christmas may be the most well-known song but the song and dance number “Sisters” is one of the best duets performed by Clooney and Vera-Ellen. 

Holiday Inn

 

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Holiday Inn is another Irving Berlin musical, this one focuses on Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire as friends, Crosby opens an Inn in the country where he focuses on the holidays throughout the year and creates big musical shows to celebrate. This movie was made in the day when you could go to dinner and see a live show. All the musical numbers are great and this is the movie where “Silver Bells” is first introduced to the public, sung by Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds. There are several big dance numbers featuring Fred Astaire and his amazing feet and dance moves. I love this movie just as much for the scenery and costumes as much for the musical numbers and story. 

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Crosby and Reynolds seeing “Silver Bells”.

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Guests arriving at the Holiday Inn of course in a horse drawn sleigh. 

Christmas In Connecticut

 

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Christmas In Connecticut is set during World War II and stars Barbara Stanwyck as a Martha Stewart type, except this was before television so she writes a column in a national newspaper, but her character doesn’t know nearly as much as everyone else thinks she does. This is a great comedy full of mistaken identities, baby swaps that result in hilarious diaper changing scenes. Sydney Greenstreet is a William Randolph Hearst type character obsessed with food who insists Stanwyck entertain a war hero in her Connecticut country house (which she doesn’t really own). If you haven’t seen it get a copy and Enjoy!!!

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Stanwyck and her fiancee’ in front of the huge and BEAUTIFUL fireplace in the living room of the stone farmhouse in Connecticut. I love this movie as much for the house as anything. 

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Trimming the tree while piano music is softly being played, yes please!!!

A Christmas Carol

 

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Over the years there have been several different versions of Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol”, but this 1951 British version is my favorite. The film stars Alastair Sim as the both financially and emotionally tight Ebenezer Scrooge. Sim’s performance is wonderful as he sees life in past, present and future and ultimately decides to change his ways and live life fully and help others along the way, check it out. 

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Sim’s face portrays just as much emotion as his voice and other physical actions, so good!!!

The Lion In Winter

 

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I saved the best for last with this film, and while you might not think of this as a feel good Christmas flick, just remember that it’s set during the Christmas of  1183 in a castle in Chinon, Anjou, France. Peter O’Toole portrays Henry II of England and France and Katharine Hepburn portrays his wife and queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. The movie follows these two lead characters and their children during a Christmas court at the castle, there is plotting, fighting and many surprises throughout the castle as children plot against parents and vise versa. The movie is pure agony at times to watch because emotions are so raw and real and at the same time so beautiful. The castle is beautiful to behold as are the costumes and scenery and the music and score are amazing to listen to. Hepburn was nominated for and won an Academy Award in 1968 for the film, tying with Barbra Streisand. Don’t miss it. 

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Queen Eleanor drags out her crown after seemingly losing everything, but never fear, she always comes back. 

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Queen Eleanor and King Henry in a tender moment during The Lion in Winter, superb performances by both.

The words are my own
images are courtesy of
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