Thursday, December 23, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks- Holiday Party


I’m sorry for not visiting many of you but it’s Christmas time and I have been wrapping and baking up a storm. I plan to visit you, Shady, Cathy and the rest of you. I am writing this really quite late so it will be short but sweet. The theme, from Wandering Through The Shelves, is about Holiday Parties and here it goes...


It’s my favourite film due to the beauty behind the basic plot about a ordinary man with great dreams but gives them up for love and to help the people of his small town. I have talked about this film every year and will continue this tradition. This was the first film after Jimmy Stewart came back from the war and he was suffering from battle fatigue, now known as PTSD,  as they called it back in the day. He was wondering about his acting and his role in life and Lionel Barrymore, who played ole' man Potter, talked with him and helped him see how important his career is and how much he has helped the average Joe. I'm glad Stewart opened up to Barrymore about his feelings. This film is played every year on TV and I am glad for that. The party, at the end, shows all the characters and makes me cry each time. Mind you, there is the grad party and the wedding gathering when his brother comes home with the wife which are Calvo good party moments.

2. MIRACLE ON 34TH ST.-1947

Another gem of a film with the best Santa, played by Edmund Gwenn, coming to NYC and being hired to play Santa in the Macy's Thanksgiving parade since the other Santa is drunk. The head of the Dept is played by the great Maureen O' Hara in a female role as one of the execs which is pretty cool to show this back then. She does not believe in anything and makes sure her daughter feels the same way. Santa is hired for Macy's and he tries to help the daughter believe while a good looking lawyer works on mommy. I love the party when a doctor gets his new x-ray machine and is overcome with emotion. 


I almost went with Holiday Inn which is perfect this week since this musical goes through all the holidays but I have talked about this one often, so I went with this other Bing Crosby hit with the title based on the famous song made famous in Holiday Inn. Crosby and Danny Kaye are famous entertainers who help out a sister act get out of a messy situation and they all end up at an Inn owned by their former commanding officer. That officer is hard up since there has been no snow which means no patrons. The duo, with the gals' help, decide to put on a show to help out their former officer. The big gala at the end brings tears which is typical from me. It is a musical but it's also funny mainly due to Kaye. The "Sisters" take was done once and Bing is really laughing because of Danny Kaye's antics.

Which Holiday party movies would you pick?


  1. Hi, Birgit!

    Pass the popcorn, dear friend, because here I am sitting next to you in the balcony "At The Movies!" Yessum, thanks for mentioning my name at the top of the post, even if it was to admit that you've been ghosting, shunning and avoiding me during the holidays. :) Shucks, you know darn well that your friendship credit is always good in my book so, by all means, please continue to focus on your baking and wrapping (and rapping).

    Believe it or nuts, I have seen all three of your selections for the "Holiday Party" prompt. I was not aware that Lionel Barrymore helped Jimmy Stewart through his PTSD crisis, encouraging him to stay in the acting game. Think of all the great Stewart performances we would have missed had he vanished from the scene in 1946. I can't imagine Pee Wee Herman filling that void.

    Four things are particularly interesting about Miracle on 34th. First, the original trailer makes no mention of Christmas. Second, the movie was released in the springtime instead of during the holidays as you would expect. That's because 20th Century Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck believed more people went to movies in warmer weather. Third, Natalie Wood's name is buried farther down in the credits than one might thing, given how famous she would soon become. Fourth, in that promo clip, the adjective "groovy" is used to describe the film, twenty years before it was a slang word commonly used by young people, members of the counterculture and members of the older generation trying to appear hip (see R & M's Laugh-In).

    I enjoyed that scene from White Christmas, but it's gonna take the jaws of life to pry that "Sister Act" outta my head. It's interesting to see Bing break down in laughter at the end of the number as Danny swats him. The director was smart to use that take because it is fresh and spontaneous. Too often great moments like that one wind up on the cutting room floor because a demanding director requires a hundred takes until the players do the scene perfectly. I don't necessarily agree with that philosophy.

    Holiday films aren't my thing, and therefore I'm drawing a blank and don't have any recommendations for you. Enjoy the rest of your week and happy holidays to you and your family, dear friend BB!

  2. I haven't seen White Christmas. I suppose I should some day. I really loved It's A Wonderful Life's ending. It was perfect.

  3. Hi Birgit - great to know you're busy getting ready for a festive week. Love these three films ... I just join whatever everyone else is watching ... cheers and Happy Christmas - Hilary

  4. Danny Kaye was a very funny guy. Merry Christmas!

  5. It's a Wonderful Life! I love it and picked it myself this week. The other two picks are great too :) Happy Holidays!

  6. I do believe I've seen all of these. Although, maybe not White Christmas. Take care. I know how busy this time of year gets for all of us.

  7. BIRGIT ~

    First of all, MERRY CHRISTMAS to you!

    Secondly, you are 423.83% right that Edmund Gwynn was "the best Santa". In fact, he was the *ONLY* Santa. I've been telling people for 30+ years that every other "Santa" is really just a "Santa's Helper" (at best) or an imposter (at worst). It's the scene where "the real Santa" starts talking and singing with the little Dutch orphan girl that I start to get weepy. (Don't tell anyone! I don't wanna lose my 'Man Card'.)

    As I'm sure you remember, 'IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE' is one of my all-time Top 10 favorite movies. (I prefer it in glorious "colorized" color, which makes it more Christmassy.)

    But another all-time Top 10 favorite movie - which also happens to have a Christmas theme - is 'SCROOGE' (1970) starring Albert Finney. It's a musical, and it's also far, Far, FAR and away the very best rendition of Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' on film. No other version is even remotely close to it - it's in a league of its own - and until a person has seen 'SCROOGE', they really haven't seen 'A Christmas Carol' on film! YES!! I'll stand by that completely.

    The acting, across-the-board, is phenomenal! The special effects are wonderful, there are extremely memorable songs, and... it may just be the greatest Christmas movie ever made!

    There is an enchanting Christmas party scene during the 'Ghost Of Christmas Present' segment. BUT(!)... from the moment that Scrooge awakens after his encounter with the Ghost of Christmas Future, the entire rest of the movie, until the End Credits, is essentially a gigantic, mobile party of a different kind, and nothing more joyful than THAT has EVER been captured in a Hollywood movie, period!

    In fact, 'Scrooge' is so great, and the ending is so joyful and filled with the real Christmas spirit, that I'm not sure which movie I love more, 'Scrooge' or 'It's A Wonderful Life'. It's pretty much a toss-up, so it depends upon which of those two movies I'm watching at the moment.

    [Link> SCROOGE | Official 50th Anniversary Trailer | Paramount Movies

    ~ D-FensDogG

  8. Love all three of your picks!! White Christmas most of all!!! Just a candy colored dream. A few years ago it came around in a beautiful print to a few select theatres and I went with my two grown nieces, we'd been watching it together since they were practically babies, and it was such a treat to immerse ourselves in the film that way. I wish I could go every year.

    Miracle on 34th Street is such a sweet film. No one will ever be able to top Edmund Gwenn as Santa and Natalie Wood's pragmatism is a refreshing tonic to so many overly precious kids in this type of film.

    Like you I have been going crazy this week preparing for the holiday so when I finally had a chance to sit down and look at the theme and how narrow it was I simply had to turn to three I used before (I don't like to do that but time didn't allow for any other option) but they are three favorites.

    Holiday (1938)-Young stockbroker Johnny Case (Cary Grant) meets Julia Seton (Doris Nolan) on a ski holiday, they quickly fall in love and plan to marry. But Johnny, who sees life as an adventure to be explored and is saving up to take an extended “holiday” while he’s still young to find out what he’s working for, doesn’t realize Julia is a member of a mega-rich dynasty who worship money. This leads to trouble when their worlds collide along with the fact Julia’s rebellious sister Linda (Katharine Hepburn) shares many of Johnny’s views, as does her brother Ned (Lew Ayres in an award level performance), and they find themselves drawn to each other. Things come to a head during the New Year’s Eve party Linda’s father throws to announce the engagement.

    Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)-Lovely piece of Americana looks at a year in the life of the Smith family residents of the title town at the turn of the last century. There are various crises, big and small for each member of the clan but almost all are resolved during the big Christmas party. Full of wonderful music, the Christmas classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” was written especially for Judy Garland to sing in a key scene.

    Desk Set (1957)-Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn) is the head of the reference library for a major network overseeing three other women-Peg (Joan Blondell), Sylvia (Dina Merrill) and Ruthie (Sue Randall) whose knowledge is nearly as encyclopedic as hers. One day an expert in electronic brains (i.e., computers) Richard Sumner wanders in with a plan to automate the department and Bunny and her girls start fearing for their jobs. But Bunny, who is stuck in a dead-end relationship with executive Mike Cutler (Gig Young), finds herself drawn to the affable Sumner when she discovers they have much in common. All seems to be going well until the corporate Christmas party where several secrets shake things up. Breezy romance is the best of the Tracy/Hepburn comedies.

  9. Oh yes Birgit, I love all of these films, especially A Wonderful Life.
    I hope you are doing well, and wish you and your family a Very Happy Christmas, and Health and happiness in 2022, hugs Kate x

  10. You made some great picks. I've seen them all and they are among the best.

    At the moment none others come to my mind, but I'll just take the time to wish you a Merry Merry Christmas!


  11. All of your choices are perfect. I love classic Christmas movies.


  12. 34th and Wonderful Life are two of my favorites.
    I'm not a Bing fan:(
    Hope your Christmas was wondrous, my friend.

  13. I didn't know about this version of White Christmas, shame on me. It looks absolutely delightful.
    Hope it was a Merry Christmas, Birgit.

  14. Ya know, I've never seen "White Christmas" or "Miracle on 34th Street." I think I should be ashamed.

  15. I haven't seen any of these though I think I've seen the Miracle on 34th St that was made in the 90s.

  16. I will second It's a Wonderful Life.

    We watch the Muppets' Christmas Carol every year.

    It's not really a Christmas movie at all but we watch it every year during the week between Christmas and New Year's: The Philadelphia Story.