Monday, 09 December 2013
Christmas Movies for Elders
More tired than usual one evening last week, I surfed through television channels looking for some mildly distracting entertainment that did not involve reality programs, shopping channels, talent shows or other bottomfeeders of mindrot TV.
That's hard to do during series rerun season in December. Most of what I found were Christmas movies. Lots and lots of Christmas movies, almost entirely of the cheapo variety. But not all.
What I settled on, then, was The Muppet Christmas Carol released in 1972, starring Michael Caine as Scrooge with Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit, Miss Piggy as his wife and a passel of wonderfully imagined Muppet town folk - some familiar, others not.
The official trailer gives a good sense of what an excellent production it is.
By the time the movie ended, I was sorry I'd come in late when only about 40 minutes remained but it left me wondering what other Christmas movies I would like to see again.
Not surprisingly for someone without children, grandchildren or interest in Christmas movies as a genre, the ones that came to mind are quite old – things I saw as a kid or young woman and that with one or two exceptions are probably unknown to young people today – and some I don't even like.
Like White Christmas, for example, but god help me, it's the first one that came to mind. Here are the stars, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen with the Irving Berlin title song:
More to my liking is The Shop Around the Corner, a lovely Ernst Lubitsch film from 1940 about two people who work together every day and don't know until Christmas Eve that they have been falling in love as pen pals.
It stars Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan but one favorite scene of mine instead involves Frank Morgan and Charles Smith.
Speaking of Jimmy Stewart, do you think maybe It's a Wonderful Life is the most beloved Christmas movie of all time? Here he is in the scene just after Clarence the Angel saves George Bailey:
There is also Miracle on 34th Street, about a department store Santa Claus who claims to be the real deal, starring Maureen O'Hara, John Payne and Natalie Wood when she was a little kid. I can't find a clip I like so, moving along...
We started with the Muppets Christmas Carol and perhaps it is fitting to end with the ending of A Christmas Carol - the 1971 television version from Britain with Alistair Sim as Scrooge:
Certainly there are plenty more but like I said, there aren't a lot on my list so I wonder if you have favorite old Christmas movies you like to see again and again.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Nancy Leitz: Big Brother is Watching You