Tonight’s film is a television movie, but it’s an iconic Christmas film which holds a place in most people’s hearts. It’s the Rankin-Bass 1970 movie Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. Let me preface this by saying Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town is my favorite of the Rankin-Bass movies (my second is the little loved Rudolph’s Shiny New Year). I saw Rudolph again last year and it’s not my favorite, but I know a ton of people who love it, just not me. Anyway, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town boasts the best villain, Burgermeister Meisterburger, tells a tight story about the origins of Santa, and dabbles in the 1970s trippiness we all know and love.
Originally reviewed Remember the Night on December 16th, 2011
We journey back to 1940 for today’s 25 Days of Christmas film featuring two huge stars of day, Remember the Night. I found this movie via Wikipedia and only knew it was the first film pairing up Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck; four years later they’d go on to make the film noir classic Double Indemnity. This film is a frothy tale with a script by Preston Sturges that if it were to be remade would be laughed out of the studio because of a fast and loose wrangling of the legal system. Despite that, and its overt themes of urging women back into the home, it’s a sweet romance covered in Christmas snow.
News in a nutshell: A new event going on at the UCLA Film and Television archive, and what’s new on DVD and Blu-ray.
Originally published December 27th, 2012
My final review for Christmas 2012 is the 1949 film Come to the Stable. It’s not a Christmas movie per se, but it does include the building of a church in a town called Bethlehem so it’s good enough to round out the series. Come to the Stable holds more than a few passing similarities to the 1947 film The Bishop’s Wife, which I also reviewed last year as part of my 25 Days of Christmas, but I found this lacking the charm of that film (probably because of the loss of Cary Grant for this movie). The film is a breezy 99 minutes, and is wholesome, non-denominational fun, but I found myself calling all the beats ahead of time and enjoying Celeste Holm.
Merry Christmas to all my awesome readers (or whichever holiday you choose to celebrate around this time). I always close out my 25 Days of Christmas with a new movie for Christmas Day and this year I had two newly introduced movies up for review, this and It Happened on Fifth Avenue. I’ll Be Seeing You‘s off-beat premise involves a jail-bird and a mentally damaged person coming together at Christmas, but the genders might not correspond to who you think. A paint-by-numbers romance subverting the genre at various points and guided by the tender duo of Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotten, I’ll Be Seeing You is one to see (buh-dun-bah).
Originally published December 2nd, 2011
This is an odd one to group with Marilyn movies as she’s literally in it for a minute (I’d say less but I didn’t time it). O. Henry’s Full House an anthology film of adapted stories from the works of O. Henry. It’s certainly not worth watching for Marilyn, but there are a few redeeming stories out of the bunch. The film also blends perfectly into my 25 Days of Christmas movies as the last segment is a Christmas film (and a pretty popular story to boot).
This originally ran December 14th, 2011. Really my thoughts on this film haven’t changed. I still adore Vera-Ellen‘s dancing but I don’t love this movie.
Yep, it’s official: I’m not a Bing Crosby fan. It’s not the movies themselves that are bad, but as an actor Crosby’s just so bland that I struggle to get through his films. I will admit tonight’s movie, White Christmas, was better than Holiday Inn, but I still don’t see this as a film I’ll rewatch next year. The only reasons to watch this are the final Christmas scene and the PHENOMENAL dancing of Vera-Ellen. Other than that, the film has a confusing message and two uninspiring lead actors.