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On ‎12‎/‎5‎/‎2015 at 6:15 PM, dirac said:

Also, are there favorite moments in your favorite holiday movies?

This isn't a moment per se but I love how artfully Holiday Inn sustains the illusion that the inn is a real place in snowy Connecticut. And then (as John Meuller pointed out in his comprehensive book on Fred Astaire's films, Astaire Dancing) the film shatters that carefully crafted illusion at the end and reveals that the inn was truly a set all along. It should bother me but it doesn't.

 

I bought the DVD of Good News (the 1947 version) to watch on Christmas Eve or Christmas night. It's not a Christmas film but it was released on December 26, 1947 so it kinda-sorta counts.

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I always wondered how Crosby could make money on a place that was hardly ever open.

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On 12/19/2016 at 9:17 AM, dirac said:

I always wondered how Crosby could make money on a place that was hardly ever open.

 

Snark!

 

I went back and looked at this thread, and wanted to say I'm still a George C Scott Christmas Carol girl.

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"Christmas in Connecticut" is my favorite Christmas movie (watched it earlier today on TCM).  On December 23, I attended a sing-along screening of 1954's "White Christmas" (Crosby, the brilliant Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen, and George Chakiris easily found in two dancing numbers), shown in Disney Hall, Los Angeles Music Center, which was an utter joy on the HUGE screen. 

 

Happy Holidays and all the best to Ballertalert readers and posters in the New Year! 

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Thanks, Josette. Vera-Ellen is great in "White Christmas."

 

Watching another unconventional Christmas flick, "Die Hard," and missing Alan Rickman. What an awful year. It can't end too soon.

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On ‎12‎/‎19‎/‎2016 at 11:17 AM, dirac said:

I always wondered how Crosby could make money on a place that was hardly ever open.

Especially since, on the nights the inn was open, Crosby employed what looked like 500 people!

 

Watched Good News today, which M-G-M released this day (the 26th) in 1947. Good times, thanks largely to the cast (June Allyson, Peter Lawford, Joan McCracken, Ray McDonald and Mel Torme) and the songs. (Too bad this was Ray McDonald's last feature at M-G-M and Joan McCracken's only feature at Metro.)

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Watched the George C. Scott version of "A Christmas Carol" on Christmas afternoon with the extended family.  There are so many wonderful stage actors in this production.  As a child it completely spooked me.  As an adult I just love the beautiful Dickensian language.  He was an erudite spokesman for the pushback against the early industrial age's  lack of humanity. 

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Thanks, Jayne. I've never seen Scott's Scrooge. I'll have to look for it (next year :)).

 

"A Christmas Carol" like a lot of Dickens, has some darker elements that can really scare a child. Not only are there Marley and the three ghosts, but Dickens has phantoms howling outside Scrooge's window, the Ghost of Christmas Present has those starving kids in his train, and then there are the thieves who go through Scrooge's stuff after his "death." And the Cratchit family is in really dire straits, with the father about to lose his job. Dickens doesn't water down any of this.

 

 

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1 hour ago, dirac said:

Thanks, Jayne. I've never seen Scott's Scrooge. I'll have to look for it (next year :)).

 

"A Christmas Carol" like a lot of Dickens, has some darker elements that can really scare a child. Not only are there Marley and the three ghosts, but Dickens has phantoms howling outside Scrooge's window, the Ghost of Christmas Present has those starving kids in his train, and then there are the thieves who go through Scrooge's stuff after his "death." And the Cratchit family is in really dire straits, with the father about to lose his job. Dickens doesn't water down any of this.

 

 

 

It's my favorite version (well, except for Mr Magoo) -- Scott is very direct, and the painful parts are very well done.

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Your endorsement make me look forward to it even more, sandik. I once played the part in a drama club that was short of suitable males, so I take a proprietary interest. :)

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Well, it was junior high. Scott came to me for insights, but I was too busy to see him.

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Bumping up this thread for the season. Any new titles to add to our list? Comments on old ones? 

I saw Eyes Wide Shut again recently, and while I wouldn't recommend it for family viewing around the fire on Christmas Eve, its Christmas season feel is striking in its way.

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23 minutes ago, dirac said:

Bumping up this thread for the season. Any new titles to add to our list? Comments on old ones? 

I saw Eyes Wide Shut again recently, and while I wouldn't recommend it for family viewing around the fire on Christmas Eve, its Christmas season feel is striking in its way.

One of my favorite movies is not a Christmas movie, but does have a fabulous Christmas celebration near the beginning: Fanny and Alexander.

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1 hour ago, dirac said:

I saw Eyes Wide Shut again recently, and while I wouldn't recommend it for family viewing around the fire on Christmas Eve......

:blink: :rofl: Depending on someone's family, that may improve things...

I always have to watch White Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life. 

Danny Kaye never fails to make me laugh, and I love the dance skit mocking Martha Graham.

 

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3 hours ago, dirac said:

Bumping up this thread for the season. Any new titles to add to our list? Comments on old ones? 

Does Valley of the Dolls count as a Christmas film? After all, Fox did release it in December of 1967. And it does have snow in it . . .

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Well, if it’s part of your personal tradition to watch Valley of the Dolls every Christmas, I guess we can include it, but it’s a stretch. :)

 Reminding me somewhat off topic that the Judy Garland Christmas special with Liza, Lorna, Joey, and Mel Torme in support is available on YouTube. I remember in particular a gaggle of chorus boy Santas barging into Judy’s house, which is where the show is supposed to be taking place – it’s a bit scary, because you don’t know what the Santas are going to do and for a minute you wonder if it’s going to be like the home invasion in “A Clockwork Orange.” Later in the show the Santas reappear just as abruptly and form a kickline. It’s really quite something.

 Last year the GetTV channel showed Judy’s special and a lot of other old holiday specials (Mac Davis, anyone?)

Also - are there any Christmas movies or movies regularly shown around the holiday season that you can't stand? Share your animus here!

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Thanks for a reminder about the Judy Garland Christmas special with Jack Jones and "Steam Heat" (did Fosse direct?) and general too muchness. (There's also an extended Christmas 1968 Judy Garland appearance on Johnny Carson where Garland sings a strange and bittersweet Christmas song, "Til after the Holidays".)

Three directors' Christmas movies that interest me are: Jacque Demy's Umbrellas of Cherbourg (resolution scene at Christmas), Douglas Sirk's All That Heaven Allows (beautiful and subtle performance by Jane Wyman) and Mitchell Leisen's Remember the Night (Stanwick and MacMurray). The Sirk movie has lush foliage and nice light effects on background walls and an upside down Christmas story – children censoring the parent rather than the other way around. Leisen's story is light – a thief and a prosecuting attorney fall in love – and has the great benefit of a script and snappy dialogue by another Paramount director, Preston Stuges. Leisen was said to be somewhat responsible for the Paramount studio look, but his movies always lacked a certain something for me: too much melodrama without the certain extra someone like Sirk puts in. Leisen once came to a class I took and showed us a print of Hold Back the Dawn. He wore a festive Sargent Pepper jacket and was very jolly.

Edited by Quiggin

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***SPOILER ALERT*** 

 

 You are right about All That Heaven Allows. The holiday season is a big part of the story – I think Wyman sees Hudson again after their breakup when she’s buying a Christmas tree And it’s Christmas when her kids, having guilted Mom into giving up the best sex she’s ever had, give her a television set as a consolation prize. (Of course, Hollywood had other reasons at that time to deprecate the TV watching habit). Sirk’s visuals make much of the changing of the seasons.

 Leisen’s Midnight is one of my favorite movies. I have not seen Remember the Night. Sturges and Billy Wilder both wrote Leisen pictures. I remember reading that both of them took some issue with how he shot their scripts but I’m unable to recall why.

 I don’t know who directed Garland’s Christmas show but I’m certain it wasn’t Fosse. :)  Norman Jewison was at one point one of the show’s (several) producers, although he might have been gone by the time the Christmas show rolled around – her series was canceled not long afterward, I believe.

 

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The other night I watched Meet Me in St. Louis and must admit that outside of the incredible talent of Judy Garland and the amusing antics of Margaret O'Brien as Tootie the movie hasn't aged well. It's a typical MGM Americana drama but I have to giggle that moving to NYC is considered akin to moving to Sodom and Gomorrah. The movie was lovingly directed by Vincente Minnelli as a love letter to Judy but without her I don't think the movie would work.

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I also saw Meet Me in St. Louis recently and had pretty much the opposite impression. I agree that without the Garland magic it’s not the same picture and it is her vehicle, but it also works as an ensemble piece; you really do feel that you’ve gotten to know this family. (Garland hardly appears in what is arguably the most celebrated portion of the film, the Halloween sequence with O’Brien and the other children.) And there are the gorgeous Minnelli colors to revel in and the casual virtuosity of the camera work in the “Skip to My Lou” number….so many pleasures. The score is wonderful.

 I just love Tom Drake in this and his line readings (“The welsh rarebit was ginger peachy.”) Also Garland’s red party gown.

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There is also Robert Montgomery's "Lady in the Lake" if you're in the mood for some Christmas noir. There's a gimmick - the camera eye is also Marlowe's perspective - so you never see him and the actors act directly to the camera. It doesn't quite come off for me, but it's an interesting try. The movie also features one of the great ladies of noir, Audrey Totter.

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And for those of you tired of all the happy holiday family get-togethers depicted at this time of year, there's always The Lion in Winter, or A Plantagenet Family Christmas:

 

 

 

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