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Thread: Favorite Holiday Movie

  1. #1
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    Favorite Holiday Movie

    Maybe this topic will generate a bit of traffic here. I was wondering if anyone had a favorite holiday-related movie. One that you've watched more than once with pleasure or that has a special meaning to you. Most holiday movies revolve around Christmas. Given that I'm not attracted to Christianity or Capitalism, it feels odd to be the person introducing this topic. In general, religion and spirituality feel foreign to me. Yet a high number of my very favorite movies deal with these topics. Movies like Kundun, The Flowers of St. Francis, Diary of a Country Priest, The Passion of Joan of Arc, Breaking the Waves, and many others. Perhaps there is an exotic element in spiritual films that appeals to me.

    When it comes to specifically "holiday movies", I have two clear favorites:

    Meet Me in St. Louis
    This magnificent Technicolor musical was directed by Vicente Minelli in 1944. It received 4 Academy nominations but it didn't win a single Oscar. A favorite moment involves Esther (Judy Garland) consoling her distraught kid sister Tootie with a rendition of the wistful "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas".

    Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas in Disney Digital 3-D
    This is a 2006 re-release of Burton's 1993 picture in a format that perfectly complements its stop-motion animation. The story finds an ingenious way to connect Halloween and Christmas motifs. The Nightmare Before Christmas is deliriously inventive and Danny Elfman's music score is a constant delight.

  2. #2
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    Composer Hugh Martin (not even credited on the imdb site!) wrote Garland's touching song. On the day she entered the studio for the recording session, Judy refused to record the song as written (something few stars could get away with). "I have to sing to that broken hearted little girl and your lyrics are about moving to New York! I don't think so!" Martin, clearly upset, stormed out, threatening to go to Mayer. However, he went home, re-read the script and decided to change not just the song's lyrics, but the title to "Have yourself a merry little Christmas." The following day, and apologizing to Judy, he presented the song to her. Supposedly, she did it with a minimum number of takes. Ever since, it became one of her standards, and one of the greatest Christmas songs ever written recorded by dozens of artists.

    I wish you would have described the 3-D experience for "Nightmare." We were not priviliged to get a copy shown locally. My son and I love not only the score, but the whole idea of a comical 'dark' side to Christmas.

    One of my favorite holiday films is so rarely mentioned by critics, it has virtually disappeared, but is filled with great wit and cynical delight. I speak of "We're No Angels," one of Bogart's last movies about three convicts that escape Devil's Island prison, only to end up in a failing commodities shop. Between Bogart's hysterical asides and Peter Ustinov's one liners, this Christmas film is a hoot with also a darker side to it (death by snake bite, no less); it's intended victim being Basil Rathbone. Bumbling Leo G Carrol (Marley in one version of scrooge) plays the all too innocent shopkeeper easily convinced by the fast talking Bogart. After securing the shop for its owners by hook and by crook, they rush out and "steal" the Christmas feast. I look forward to watching this classic every year, one of those lost ageless gems.

    The usuals:

    White Christmas
    Christmas in Connecticut (another hoot!)
    Holiday Inn
    Elf
    It's a Wonderful Life
    Miracle on 34th Street (the Natalie Wood version)
    Scrooge (the Alistair Sims version)
    Nightmare Before Christmas
    Scrooged
    O Henry's Full House (another lost gem with a great Christmas short)
    A Christmas Story (I used to work in the neighborhood of the setting)
    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
    Home Alone 1 & 2
    The Santa Clause (one only)
    Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer
    some have mentioned, Metropolitan (though I have never seen it)
    Polar Express
    The Grinch
    The Bishop's Wife
    A Charlie Brown's Christmas
    Christmas in July (more about the spirit than the holiday)

    The religious titles: (Who took the Christ out of Xmas?)
    King of Kings
    Ben Hur
    The Greatest Story Ever Told
    Jesus of Nazareth
    The Robe
    Jesus

    etc.
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  3. #3
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    Good topic Oscar


    My mom thinks I'm crazy for liking the Reginald Owen Scrooge over Sim.

    I'll be the first to admit the Sim Christmas Carol is a classic.
    But there's something really believable about Owen's transformation at the end.

    The '38 version has great character actors playing Dickens' characters.
    They seem more real to me.
    Plus I always laugh when Marley screams in the Sim version.
    I mean, he really hollers! It's hilarious- my mom always shushes me when I laugh at that part.

    Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is damn funny to me as well.

    I love the scene when Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) "dreams" of a swimming pool- that is some funny s*%!

    Rum and eggnog.
    Yessir- I like Christmas for SOME things..
    Last edited by Johann; 11-23-2006 at 08:11 AM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys. I really appreciate the info on "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". Huge fan of Christmas in July. Haven't seen We're No Angels or Reginald Owen's Scooge and I think I should.

  5. #5
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    I also love Mickey's Christmas Carol with Scrooge McDuck.

    Anybody see that?

    Goofy as Marley, Mickey as Bob, Jiminy Cricket as the Ghost of Christmas Past, a sinister scene with the Ghost of Christmas Future, this treatment is a joy.

    It's only 40 minutes or so, but they touch all the bases of the novel.

    It has some funny moments.
    I always laugh when The Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge Mickey's homelife. They peer into the window and see Mickey's wife cooking the Christmas "feast":

    scrooge: What's she cookin'? A CANARY?

    The Ghost relays how that's all they can afford, even with McDuck's laundry boiling on the hearth...

    That story has so much HUMANITY in it.
    Dickens was a genius.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  6. #6
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    Versions of Scrooge

    Most people generally agree that three of the many versions of "A Christmas Carol" stand out (forty-three versions of the original story have been produced to date). The 1938 version which starred Reginald Owen (who took the job after friend and colleague Lionel Barrymore stepped aside) has many good points, brevity being one. Some people feel the MGM version took too many liberties with the novel by Dickens.

    The Alastair Sim's version is simply called, "Scrooge." Supposedly a surviving member of Dicken's family stated that version more what Uncle Charles had in mind. My brother and I could hardly wait for the part at the end when Sim stands on his head and the maid runs from the room screaming with her apron over her head. Somehow that always struck a funny bone.

    The George C Scott version is far darker than the other two, probably because Scott could muster a very mean personna when he wanted it. The problem with this 1984 version was casting usual villain David Warner as lovable kind Bob Crachit, a bit of a stretch.

    The original novel (meant to help Dickens get out of debt) written at a time when celebrating Christmas had been on the decline in Great Britain for years, revitalized the annual event and many give it credit in bringing back the spirit of the season.
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  7. #7
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    "We'll bash their heads in, gouge their eyes out and then slit their throats... right after we do the dishes."

    Humphrey Bogart from the Christmas classic, "We're No Angels"
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