Monday, December 8, 2014

My Favourite Christmas Movies

It is this time of year when we bring out our favourite Christmas movies to watch all over again and we never tire of them. Some we watch every year and others may be a few years but we always love them. I am centering on the actual films that came out in the movie theatre as opposed to the TV movies or specials which I might do later on along with animated specials:) Now I am certain I will be missing some movies that are your favourites so please let me know which ones you love.

I will start with some honourable mentions. They did not make my top 10 but they should be, well, mentioned: The Santa Claus films with Tim Allen especially the first one is quite a hoot, The Home Alone series which is funny but not my favourite and I am not a Macauley Culkin fan, The Grinch-It's ok but I prefer the cartoon, Bad Santa-it is really funny but so, so nasty even though the kid does find a friend who is a drunken robber, Polar Express which is magical and Love Actually which I adore but for some reason I don't associate with Christmas even though it ends with Christmas..that's just me. I do not place The Sound of Music here at all. It is a wonderful film but takes place in summer, has no Christmas music-it has Nazis. This film used to be shown at Easter and now it is shown at this time because the executroids have no idea where to place it. Anyhoo, without further ado here is my top 10!

                                                             10. ELF-2003
 

I can't help myself, it is stupid in some places, well many places but I laugh. Will Farrell plays an idiot (what else is new) who is told he is not an elf but a human and to go to NYC to find his dad played by James Caan. My favourite part-when he thinks the future Game of Thrones guy is an elf and gets his butt whipped.

9. THE BISHOP'S WIFE-1947
 
 

This stars Cary Grant, David Niven and the sanctimonious Loretta Young but, even though she is in this film, I truly enjoy it. David Niven plays the bishop who is having trouble and prays which brings an angel, in the form of Cary Grant, down to help him. Niven's character soon regrets this as he sees the angel fall in love with his wife. I enjoy it when Monty Whooley's character knows that Cary Grant is an angel-well acted.
 
 
8. NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION-1989
 
 

All these films just make me laugh and this is no exception. Chevy Chase is so funny and the things that happen we can, scarily enough, all relate to- to some degree. I know my parents added so many extension chords for lights that I am surprised the house never caught fire. I have to say my favourite scene is when the tree goes up and the Uncle (Great William Hickey), wonders what's wrong while he is on fire.

7. A CHRISTMAS STORY-1983
 
 

This is a great story that many of us can relate to when we were kids and yes, I did put my tongue on the pole but when I realized my tongue was actually stuck, I cupped my hands around my mouth and blew my hot air that I am in abundance with and it came unstuck. We all wanted one toy that we had to have and this film brings it all to the forefront. The parents are hilarious especially Darren McGavin as the dad who is so happy to have his leg lamp. My favourite scene-when the little brother can't get up off the snow because he is so bundled up....it happened to me. oh and it was film where I live now.

 
6. HOLIDAY INN-1942
 
 

This is the film where White Christmas was introduced and it is beautifully done. It is all about a duo act played by Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire and Bing has had enough and retires to a farm not realizing how much work it would be. He decides to remake the farm as a club that is only open on holidays. The result? You hear White Christmas for the first time, see Fred Astaire dance brilliantly with Marjorie Reynolds to a Valentine dance and a 4th of July dance (where he lost an additional 40lbs due to the number) and a cringe worthy singing about freedom for Lincoln's birthday. To see Bing in blackface and Marjorie Reynolds done up in black face and hair that is very racist for today tells one of the times. One has to realize that in their simple minds, the people who created this whole scene were probably trying to help the African Americans. Time is not kind to this scene. My favourite scene is actually when Fred dances with Marjorie Reynolds as I love dance.

 
5. WHITE CHRISTMAS-1954
 
 

This is the film everyone knows the song by and it is filled with fun, songs and dances. Bing never liked to rehearse much and he didn't like to do many takes so the others would  do what they needed to while Bing was on the golf course. Rosemary Clooney(George's Aunt) has a superb voice but couldn't dance while Vera-Ellen could dance but could not sing (she was dubbed). The one think that distracts me about this film is how painfully thin Vera-Ellen is. If you notice she only wears turtlenecks or something high because she was too thin that her shoulders and neck looked horrible. I believe she had anorexia. Now enough about that, my favourite scene is the one above-"Sisters" with Bing and Danny Kaye (amazing man) and when Bing cracks up at the end, he really is-they kept it in the film!

 
4. GOING MY WAY-1944
 
 

Not too many people see this film nowadays and it is a shame! Bing and the wonderful Barry Fitzgerald won Oscars for their roles and it is filled with humour, gentleness, music and ends with Christmas. Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral is one of my favourite Christmas songs and Bing sings it to Barry's character after he was a bad boy and left home (you have to see the movie!). From the kids stealing turkeys, to the priests playing golf, it is such a feel good film. The great Mezzo-soprano star Rise Stevens (pictured-she died this year at 100) sang Carmen in this film and Ave Maria. I have to admit my favourite scene is when her character and Bing's meet up after a long absence. You find out quickly they were once involved and she is dressing while he waits outside in her dressing room. She talks about the letters she got from him and when she stops at Budapest and she goes all dreamy, I made up my mind that one day I will go to this magical place...and I did when I was 18!






 3. A CHRISTMAS CAROL-1951
 
 
 
 
There are so many versions of this classic one can compile a list on just this book but my favourite is this 1951 version with the great Alastair Sim. He can convey such nastiness, humour, fear and happiness all at once- it is a tour de force performance worthy of an Oscar. This film should never be bastardized by being made in colour! The black and white is how it must be seen to show all the shadows and darkness and light. I have to admit I was frightened by the Ghost of Christmas future-his bony finger was enough to set me off into fear land. My favourite scene? When he wakes up, finds himself alive and proceeds to be exuberantly happy that he scares his housekeeper half to death.
 
 
2. MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET-1947
 
 

This is the best version and it must be in black and white! Edmund Gwenn is THE best Santa who is gentle but knows how to stick up for himself and the underdog. The beautiful Maureen O'Hara who is still alive and just received an honourary Oscar is part of a romantic team with John Payne playing the lawyer who defends Kris Kringle and falling for the spunky O'Hara. The cute child is played by a young Natalie Wood who was excellent as the child who wants to believe but is scared to. My favourite scene-Early when Kris Kringle is seeing all the little children and a young refugee from Holland, who is an orphan, believes that he knows her favourite Christmas song and he does. They sing it and he brings joy to the little girl's heart.

 
1. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE-1946
 
 





You knew this would be #1 didn't you? :) This is my all time favourite film never mind Christmas movie. I watch it every year and am never tired of it. How could I be? It is about a man that, although he does good to all the town and is fair and loving, he hates his life and resents it until he sees what it would be like without him. We could all learn from this. This is the first film James Stewart made after coming back from Word War 2. It was his favourite film too. We can gripe about how unhappy we are in our life, job, significant other. We dream about travel and what we want to do not what we have to do and we can easily forget how much we have helped others not even knowing how much. This is another film to be seen only in black and white never colour! From the Charleston dance, to the bank run to where George Bailey sees his brother's grave, there are so many great scenes but I was always captivated by the scene when he is in the cold world and no one knows who he is. He leaves his mother's place and there is a close up of Jimmy Stewart's face, the music is eerie and haunting and one half of his face is lit and the other side is dark. you hear Clarence say "You see, George, you really did have a wonderful life. Wouldn't it be sad if you throw it all away?"  When he sees all the people at the end, I cry every time out of joy.

64 comments:

  1. I'm going to load up on Christmas movies and have at 'em. Thanks for the list.

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    1. You're welcome-let me know how you like them

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    2. Watched Miracle on 34th Street. Cried. Watched Elf. Laughed. Good combo.

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  2. I can't believe its been 11 years since ELF came out. Where did the time go? I remember one year the Christmas Carol movie was on, on Christmas Day (go figure) on all the channels. My brother kept switching from one to another channel when the movie was over on one and then we would catch it where it was at on the other channels, etc. Quite fun!

    betty

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    1. Too funny! That is a bit of overload:) My hubby and I watched it last night (DVD)

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  3. Sometimes the oldies are really the goodies. I love, love, love, Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life. I confess, I haven't watched either the last few years. But, Every. Single. Year. Without. Fail. I watch A Christmas Story at least once and A Christmas Vacation. Absolutely, the best!! "I can't put my arms down" hahaha

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    1. I have to see Christmas Story again because that has been a few years but I was one of the youngsters so bound up I could hardly move

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  4. This is quite a list. I've seen approx. half of your top 10. I guess I need to make the other 5 a priority!!!!

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    1. Yes and then let me know what you think

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  5. I'm with you - Elf is so funny, in an insanely stupid way. And it has one of the MAJOR requirements of a family film at my house - it's totally quotable!

    "YOU SIT ON A THRONE OF LIES!!!" Hilarious.

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  6. What a great trip down memory lane Brigit. My favourite is miracle on 34th street which i have seen countless times over the years..Loz

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    1. I have to and plan on seeing it again:)

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  8. You nailed them. Well most of them. grin. I'm probably the only person in the world who is not a Will Farrell fan. But It's A Wonderful Life (can anyone ever compete with Jimmy Stewart?), Miracle on the 34th and A Christmas Story. Classics. The hh is a Christmas Carol aficionado. Watches everyone that comes out.

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    1. Will Farrell I think is probably an ass but I find him funny in his films even though he always plays an idiot

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  9. A Christmas Story is my brother's favorite Christmas movie. He loved it so much he rented it for a birthday party (when he was a kid--it was a slumber party, if I recall). His birthday's in March.

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    1. Well...I think that's perfect. I once watched It's A Wonderful Life in July

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  10. I've never seen Going My Way, but I need to check it out. I'd never seen White Christmas until a few years ago and I loved it! And, yeah, the blackface scene was very cringe-worthy!

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    1. Oh Going My Way is so great. The blackface scene is in Holiday Inn where the song White Christmas was introduced and I am certain you saw that film because that blackface scene is awful

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  11. I can see Elf again and again, much to the Husband's dismay. He just needs to get to the remote before me. haha

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    1. I have a holster for the remote...it's all mine:)

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  12. Got to agree with the higher-numbered choices!

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    1. Ahhh yes...what would be on the lower numbered choices for you?

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  13. How could It's A Wonderful Life NOT be number 1?? I'm so with you on that. I also love cheesy non-traditional choices, like Love, Actually - which is really just a serious-ish rom-com that takes place around Christmas. I still love it :)

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    1. Great way of stating it! I had no idea how to word it about this wonderful film but you said it exactly and it is a great movie

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  14. Hey, any list that puts Christmas Vacation right next to The Bishop's Wife, is just alright with me. And hey, and where the heck is Die Hard!?

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    1. hahahaaa-Die Hard is an action flick that just happens to take place at Christmas time. It does not give me that warm cozy feeling of Christmas:)

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  15. This is such a great list! My favorites are It's A Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Story! Of course White Christmas, and Miracle On 34th Street are also holiday classics. I never thought of The Sound of Music, as being out of place during Christmas. It's such a fabulous family movie in every way, that I think it fits in beautifully at this magical time of year.

    Julie

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    1. Thanks but yes I can watch Sound of Music but in the Spring or Summer:)

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  16. Brilliant list.... LOVE every movie you named and you couldn't have picked a better one for the top spot. If I could add a few more: The Lemon Drop Kid, Christmas In Connecticut and Holiday Inn (love the scene where Bing sings "White Christmas" to Marjorie Reynolds ... sigh). What is it about Christmas that makes me long for classic B&Ws?!

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    1. I have Holiday Inn on my list and just watched it the other night. I have not seen the other 2 (gasp!). I have to make that my wish list

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  17. Scrolling in haste and I missed the Inn!

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  18. When I think of Christmas specials, I always think of animated ones, but "It's a Wonderful Life" goes high on my list! I've never seen the "Bishop's Wife" but I know and love the Bing Crosby movies. Have a fabulous time watching all the great Christmas movies! :)

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    1. I shall and I watch the animated shows as well:)

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  19. A Christmas Story is my favorite -- so many classic lines in that one, and he was such a cute kid. You make me laugh: "has no Christmas music-it has Nazis."

    Merry holiday season, Birgit! xo

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    1. Yes well Nazis abound in that musical...that sentence just doesn't sound right:)

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  20. I agree with you and love many of your top choices as well. However you have a few that I've forgotten and need to revisit. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. You are so kind. Your encouragement means a lot to me. Merry Christmas with hugs

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    1. Oh glad I could remind you of these films and hope you enjoy them:)

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  21. Two of my favs: The Bishops Wife and Christmas Carol. Good movie list.

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  22. Oh darn, I hit the wrong button--you might get duplicates from me. I love A Christmas Carols (1984 with George C. Scott) and A Miracle on 34th Street as my classics. Then The Santa Claus, Polar Express and The Nightmare Before Christmas and my sort of new ones. Love all your choices!

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    1. oh yes Nightmare before Christmas-good one-they are all great actually

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  23. Some great picks, It's a wonderful life is a great one. Elf I like too and National Lampoons. Die Hard and Gremlins count at my sea haha there are 5 home alone movies now.

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    1. 5 Home Alones?? I knew of 3 but 5! oh boy

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  24. Happy Wed Birgit. We're half way through the week.
    I haven't seen Miracle or Wonderful Life yet this year.

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    1. Same here! I will be watching these before Wed!! and Going My Way

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  25. Well, I see by my last comment, I was rushing the week. blush, blush. I thought yesterday was Wednesday and today feels like Friday:)

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    1. I didn't even notice as I meant the following Wed-the 24th:) I am with you about this week

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  26. And what day is it again...grin. Chat with you tomorrow.

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    1. Finally it is Friday! The last weekend coming before Christmas-Eek!

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  27. These are all wonderful choices. Gosh, I haven't watched any Christmas movies yet this year. Guess I need to get in the spirit of the season.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Considering what you have been through, I can understand. I hope you have a little Christmas cheer coming to you

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  28. I love your movie choices, Birgit! Some of them I haven't seen (yes, I'm embarrassed to admit it), but I'll have to remedy that! One of my all time favorites is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. The funny parts never get old! :)

    Merry Christmas! Hope you have a wonderful holiday! :)

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    1. Merry Christmas to you! You will have to spend some quality movie time:)

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  29. BIRGIT ~
    I believe I've seen every movie on your list except for 'ELF'.

    Three of these are on my list, too: 'A Christmas Story', 'Miracle On 34th Street', and of course 'It's A Wonderful Life'.

    My #1 favorite?

    It almost depends upon which one I'm watching at the moment: Either 'It's A Wonderful Life', or the 1970 musical 'Scrooge' starring Albert Finney.

    I think I've seen just about every version of 'A Christmas Carol', and although the Alastair Sim portrayal is the one most people praise the most, I would put it at #2 - way, way behind Albert Finney's musical ("Thank You Very Much!")

    And I almost hesitate to say this but... I like '...Wonderful Life' colorized best! I think they've colorized it twice, and the first copy I saw was not very good. But the DVD I have now looks really lush and Christmassy (except the teeth are still a bit grey). I didn't think I'd like '...Wonderful Life' colorized either, at first, because I'm basically a film purist. But the colorized version allowed me to notice dozens of details in the backgrounds that I'd never caught sight of in the 20 times I'd seen the original black & white version.

    I have the '...Wonderful Life' DVD 2-pack, which contains both the black & white original and the colorized version, but it's been the color one I've watched for about the last 6, 7, or 8 times.

    No way would I want to see 'Sunset Boulevard' or any other classic Film Noir colorized, but with a Christmas movie, color seems to be more appropriate to me.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. aaaaagghhhh:) No you have crossed over to the dark side...Chewie says to come back:) I have forgotten about the Albert Finney version and have not seen it since I was a kid so i have to find that and rewatch it. I do understand the colour for a Christmas film but there are dark overtones to this film as well and I can't see it in colour. I did once and I didn't like it but each person has their fav regarding this:)

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