Ah, Christmas; the most wonderful time of the year.
Every year I look forward to watching Christmas movies/television shows, especially National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (CLASSIC).
Although I love my modern classics, pre and post WWII Black and White movies are my favourite.
I’m going to break down my three favourite Classic Christmas movies, in no particular order.
#1 Classic Christmas Cinema – The Bishop’s Wife
Cary Grant and Loretta Young
Henry, an Episcopal Bishop is troubled with funding the building of a new Cathedral. In hopes of achieving this goal, he prays for guidance and support to make this dream a reality.
Dudley, an angel (Cary Grant) arrives at Henry’s doorstep, only revealing to Henry his true identity of being a messenger from God. Although Henry believes Dudley to be the answer to his prayers, Dudley’s mission has nothing to do with the Cathedral project. Henry’s disregard for his wife (Julia), daughter and parishioners has caused Dudley alarm. He materializes to assist Henry in his life’s relationships; in an attempt to restore them to what they once were.
Although Dudley’s intentions are just, an unforeseen attachment towards the Bishop’s wife overcomes him.
This light hearted movie brings together the spirit of Christmas, romance, whimsy and spirituality. Cary Grant’s character depicts an angel, who longs for the unattainable. He personifies human emotion… envy, guilt and somewhat lust.
#2 Classic Christmas Cinema – Christmas in Connecticut
Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan
Cue Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) authoress extraordinaire! Housekeeping magazine’s model of domesticity! A perfect wife, mother and gourmet chef; happily residing in Connecticut on her farm… In reality this is a farce. Meet the real Elizabeth Lane; a single New Yorker and apartment dweller, incapable of boiling water. Elizabeth might be a fraud on paper, but her writing is real and her recipes are thanks to her Uncle Felix and his restaurant.
Things turn upside down for Elizabeth when suddenly her magazine publisher (and boss), Mr. Yardley, invites himself and a recently returned war hero to her home for a traditional family Christmas on her farm in Connecticut.
At risk at losing her job, Elizabeth along with some help, attempt to host and pull off a faux traditional Christmas holiday on her “farm in Connecticut”.
This romantic comedy is full of great one-liners, and has the perfect nostalgic Christmas feeling (if this makes any sense). Elizabeth is a character I feel most women can relate to, her wit and contemporary boldness are refreshing to watch, considering the time period this was filmed in.
#3 Classic Christmas Cinema – Holiday Affair
Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh
Widow and Secret Comparison Shopper, Connie Ennis (Janet Leigh) purchases an expensive toy train set from a handsome salesman (Robert Mitchum) who discovers her true occupation immediately. Her give away? She regrets to ask any questions pertaining to the train, and has the exact amount of money to make the purchase.
Upon returning home, Connie’s young son Timmy asks her what’s in the package she’s holding. Giving him a realistic answer, she explains that the package contains something not for him, but for work. Timmy sneaks a peek at the train and believes it truly is a gift for him for Christmas.
Returning the next day to the store, Connie re-visits Steve Mason the salesman, to return the train. Confronting Connie about her true identity as a Comparison shopper, Steve is obligated to report Connie to the department store detective, ensuring she would lose her job. Explaining her situation as a single woman and war widow, Steve is empathetic to Connie’s situation and refunds her the money; a kind gesture which ultimately costs him his job.
Without giving much away, Christmas morning comes and goes, and little Timmy discovers outside the apartment door, the toy train set he hoped his mother purchased for him for Christmas. Only, Connie Ennis didn’t buy this train…
This romantic comedy has me swooning over Robert Mitchum’s character. His kindness, sincerity and selflessness are pivotal points in the movie which make it so wonderful. Holiday Affair embodies many realistic situations and circumstances men and women were afflicted with after the Second World War, loss, grief, loneliness and eventually… happiness.
Here are a few more of my favs:
What are your Holiday Favourites?