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broodings from the burrow

December 3, 2019

virtual advent tour 2019: day 3
posted by soe 6:00 am

Virtual Advent Tour 2019

Welcome back to the Virtual Advent Tour, where I’m today’s host.

Whether you’re looking to chill while addressing Christmas cards, mindlessly get in some knitting, or actively enjoy some family time, Christmas-themed films can be a nice way to get into the holiday spirit.

Today, I thought I’d share ten short reviews of Christmas features from the 20th century I recommend. (I’m your Virtual Advent Tour host for several days this year, so you’ll get some recommendations for 21st-century Christmas movies later.)

These are in no particular order:

  1. Miracle on 34th Street (1947): Retiree Kris Kringle takes a job as Macy’s Santa Claus in part as a campaign to change the hearts of a seven-year-old nonbeliever and her disillusioned working mother. When he ends up committed, an idealistic young lawyer must convince a judge to free Kris in time for Christmas Eve.
  2. The Bishop’s Wife (1947): An angel is sent down to New York to help answer the prayers of an Anglican priest who is working to build a cathedral — and also his wife, who misses spending time with her distracted husband. While on assignment, though, he may blur the line in protocol. Superbly acted by Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven.
  3. Christmas in Connecticut (1945): America’s favorite domestic columnist gets an unexpected surprise when her media tycoon boss invites himself and a heroic soldier to her Connecticut farm to celebrate Christmas with her family. The only problem? She lives in a walk-up in Manhattan, isn’t married, and can’t cook. A mismatched boyfriend offers her an out — she (and her chef friend, who’s been giving her his recipes) can decamp to his country home, but only if she agrees to marry him once there.
  4. White Christmas (1954): Two soldiers (played by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) become hit vaudevillians. After checking out a sister act (Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen) at the start of the Christmas season, they end up on a sidetrack trip to Vermont, where they encounter their beloved former general, who now runs a failing inn.
  5. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946): A mild-mannered pillar of the community despairs of his life after a mishap with legal implications, and a hapless angel must be dispatched to help him.
  6. The Thin Man (1934): A young woman begs Nick, a former gumshoe-turned bon vivant husband, to find her missing inventor father just before Christmas in Depression Era New York City. Nick’s heiress wife, Nora, hopes to help, but is routinely thwarted as both the elite and the criminal elements of society barge repeatedly into their hotel room. This film, which I like to describe as slapstick film noir, is the first in a series of seven.
  7. Christmas Eve (1986): In this remake of a 1947 film, a wealthy widow helps the homeless of contemporary New York City, but her bitter son wants to protect the family fortune. When a judge grants her until Christmas to present another member of the family who will attest to the soundness of her mind, she hires a down-on-his luck P.I. to find her three estranged grandchildren.
  8. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992): Gonzo as Charles Dickens presents an adaptation of his most famous holiday tale. Starring Kermit as Bob Cratchit, Robin as Tiny Tim, and Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge, the movie includes songs by Paul Williams, but they are less of a draw than
  9. While You Were Sleeping (1995): A Chicago “L” toll-taker saves the life of a man she’s been crushing on just before Christmas but then, through a misunderstanding with a nurse while the guy’s in a coma, gives his family the impression that she’s his fiancée.
  10. The Santa Clause (1994): A divorced dad accidentally startles Santa Claus, who falls to his death. After his son, who has witnessed this event, convinces his dad to step in to keep toy delivery on schedule, the man learns he must permanently assume the role in order to keep Christmas functioning properly.

See you back here tomorrow for our next holiday surprise!

Want to join in the fun of Virtual Advent Tour? Leave me a comment and I’ll help you get signed up!

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