Since the Christmas weekend begins tomorrow, this week's "Film Friday" is going to be a little bit different than usual. Instead of telling you about only one Christmas film, which was my original plan, I thought I would remind you of all the Christmas-y films I have written about since starting this blog. Most of them are part of a "12 Days of Christmas Films" feature I did last December. If you are looking for a film to watch with your family and friends over the holidays, I think these are some excellent choices.
|Christmas at the Charleses|
Next, we have BACHELOR MOTHER (1939), the first of three screen collaborations between Ginger Rogers and David Niven. Directed by Garson Kanin, this is the story of Polly Parish (Rogers), a fun-loving salesgirl who is mistaken as the mother of a foundling. Outraged at Polly's unmotherly conduct, the boss's playboy son, David Merlin (Niven), becomes determined to keep the single mother and "her" baby together. The screenplay by Norman Krasna was based on an original story by Felix Jackson, who received an Oscar nomination for his efforts. Despite initial belief to the contrary, Bachelor Mother was a huge hit and finally made the wonderful David Niven a star.
|Fred plays the piano and sings for Barbara|
The next title on this merry list is THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940), which has been considered by the American Film Institute as one of the greatest love stories of all time. Set in the years leading up to World War II, the film focuses on Alfred Kralik (James Stewart) and Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan), two employees at a leathergoods shop in Budapest who can barely stand each other, not realizing that they are falling in love as anonymous correspondents through their letters. It was directed by Academy Award nominee Ernst Lubitsch from a screenplay written by Samson Raphaelson, based on the 1937 Hungarian play Parfumerie by Miklós László. The third of four pictures co-starring close friends Stewart and Sullavan, The Shop Around the Corner received positive reviews from critics and was a great success at the box-office.
|"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas..."|
Next up is I'LL BE SEEING YOU (1944), written by Marion Parsonett, based on the radio play Double Furlough by Charles Martin. Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotten star as Mary Marshall and Sgt. Zachary Morgan, two social outcasts who meet while seated across from each other on a train. Mary tells Zach that she is a travelling saleslady, but in reality she is serving a six-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter and has just been given a special furlough to spend Christmas with her family. As for Zach, he is a shell-shocked soldier taking a leave from a military hospital to try to readjust to civilian life. Mary invites Zach to the Marshall home for dinner and the two soon begin a romance, though she knows more about him than he knows about her. Directed by William Dieterle, I'll Be Seeing You was a great critical and commercial success upon release.
|A turn-of-the-century Christmas dance|
Next up, we have CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945), against starring the great Barbara Stanwyck. She plays Elizabeth Lane, an unmarried city newspaper writer who pretends to be a farm wife and mother and then falls in love with one of her fans, returning war hero Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan). The film was directed by Peter Godfrey from a screenplay penned by Lionel Houser and Adele Comandini, based on an original story by Aileen Hamilton. Co-starring Sydney Greenstreet, Reginald Gardiner and S.Z. Sakall, Christmas in Connecticut opened to lukewarm reviews from critics, but was a solid success at the box-office.
Next we have MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947), another perennial Christmas favorite among viewers of all ages. Starring Maureen O'Hara, Edmund Gwenn, John Payne and a young Natalie Wood, the film takes places between Thanksgiving and Christmas in New York City and focuses on the impact of a department store Santa Claus who claims to be the real deal. It was directed by George Seaton, who also wrote the screenplay, based on an original story by Valentine Davies. Miracle on 34th Street was a huge critical and financial success, winning three Academy Awards — for Best Supporting Actor (Gwenn), Best Story and Best Screenplay.
|Cary magically creates a Christmas tree|
Next on the list we have HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949), written by John D. Weaver, based on his own story, Christmas Gift. This is a charming tale about a war widow named Connie Ennis (Janet Leigh), who finds herself torn between her button-down fiancé, lawyer Carl Davis (Wendell Corey), and free-spirited veteran Steve Mason (Robert Mitchum). Directed by Don Hartman, Holiday Affair opened to indifferent reviews from critics and was a commercial failure. In later years, however, the film became a minor Christmas classic through repeated television airings.
|"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas..." again|