Holliday Movies: Christmas

Figure 1.--This has to be one of the worse Christmas films I have seen. Not all Munster buffs are as critical as HBC. Some of the kids in the family might like it, perhaps after Christmas so they don't have to worry about not getting their presents. It is of course based on the classic camp TV-series, The Munsters (United States, 1964-6).

There are probably more movies touching on Christmas than any other holiday. Christmas is by far the most important holiday in Christian countries. Thus it is understandable why so many films touch upon Christmas in the plot lines. While HBC can think of only a few films associated with other holidays, we can think of quite a few movies with a Christmas theme. And of course, children tend to play major roles in these films. In adiition, many of these films touch upon the meaning of Christmas and are not just set during the Christmas season. Some of the ones that are, like "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947), "Its a Wondeful Life" (19??), "A Christmas Story" (1983), and "Home Alone" (19??) are important film classics. And the children in them have become film icons. The important Christmas films that we are familiar with are mostly American. Hopefully readers can tell us about Christmas films in other countries.

Aunty Mame (U.S., 1958)

Some important scenes in Aunty Mame are set around Christmas, leading up to Patrick getting his first pair of long pants. The popular novel, Broadway play, and movie depicted the experience of Patrick, a rich orphan who comes to live with his eccentric aunt. I think patrick is about 11 or 12 when he arrive's at Mame's apartment. In the first part of the story he wears smart short pants suits, always with perfectly pulled up knee socks. His school uniform is a black short pants suit, with an English-style peaked school cap.

(The) Bells of St. Mary's - (U.S., 1945)

A priest and mother superior save an old parochial school by persuading a skinflint to donate land and a building to their cause. Several kids are involved in the plot, but I believe that theyball wear long pants. There may be some knikers. A nun shows a gentle boy how to box to defend himself.

(The) Box of Delights (England, 19??)

The Box of Delights has become a minor Christmas classic in the U.K. It concerns an English schoolboy perhaps set in the 1930s returning home on a train for the Christnas holidays. He wears a traditional school uniform complere with the school cap. An old Punch and Judy man slips him the "box of delights" and he has an exciting adventure. In the end it was a dream as he wakes up when the train comes into his station.

(A) Christmas Carol - (U.S., 1938)

This is perhaps the all-time facorite Christmas production. Classic Dickins Christmas story about the miser Ebinezer Scrooge and the poor cripple boy, Tiny Tim (Terry Kilburn). Several other nice boys have small parts. I especially liked the boy who played the young Ebinezer as an apprentice (Ronald Sinclair). The boys all play their parts in a rather smalzy fashion, typical of the 30s. Nothing of special interest. The costumes are particularly disappointing. The only small piece of interest is that Tinny Tim is outfitted with a nice ruffled collar and frilly cuffs.

Christmas Every Day - (U.S., 1996)

The misadventures of an 13-year old teen who must relive the same Christmas over and over again until he gets it just right. Robert Hayes and Erik von Detten. Nicely mannered boy who dresses up a bit.

Christmas Lilies of the Field - (U.S., 1979)

Time and money stand in the way of the convent's new school for orphans, until a talented handyman passes through and decides to try the impossible.

(The) Christmas Star - (U.S., 1986)

A fugitive's plans to use two children as pawns to retrieve money hidden in a department store's Christmas ornaments takes an unexpected turn. The cast includes a boy, but I don't know of any interesting scenes. Disney.

(A) Christmas to Remember - (U.S., 1978)

An embittered elderly couple invite their city-bred grandson (Bryan England) to spend the holidays with them when his parents are having a hard time. The boy is about 13. The grandfather doesn't care for the boy as his mother had run away. Set during the depression and the boy wears knickers.

(A) Christmas Memory - (U.S., 1997)

"A Christmas Memory" from 1997 is another film based on a Truman Capote story. Two characters, "Buddy" and "Sook" also appeared in "One Christmas." In this film Buddy and Sook are living with Sook's brother and two sisters in the family home as Christmas 1934 draws near. Buddy and Sook are gathering ingredients to make their fruit cakes, including a pint of whiskey. When all the cakes are made, there is still a bit of whiskey left. First, they give their dog a taste, then Buddy and Sook sample the whiskey.

(A) Christmas Story - (U.S., 1983)

A boy dreams about a BB gun for Christmas, but his mother fears he will shoot his eye out if he gets it. A lovely, evocative movie on childhood. I found this to be an enchanting, whimsical look at family life in the 1940s. Very nicely done movie from the boy's point of view. Ralphy is brilliantly played by Peter Billingsley. He is plagued by a bully and his Aunt Clara's horrid gifts. For Christmas she sends him a pink bunny suit which his mother makes him, with considerable resistance, try on. She exclaims, "Doesn't he look just precious." Ralphy prays that the school bully doesn't hear of his bunny suit. There is also a lovely scene where Ralphy gets his mouth washed out with soap and tells on his (innocent) friend who gets a spanking because of it.

(A) Christmas to Remember - (U.S., 1978)

An embittered elderly couple agree to accept responsibility for the care of their adolescent, city-bred grandson during the Depression.

(The) Christmas Tree - (U.S., 1969)

This appears to hve been some kind of international production. The American release name was "The Christmas Tree" and "When Wolves Cry", the video release title. The film was directed by Terence Young. It was based on a book by Michel Bataille. It starred William Holden, but is career was clearly on the decline. The film is rather sappy, but then again it is a Christmas film so a little sentimentality can perhaps be excused. The story line is about Pascal Segur, a 10-year old boy. His mother has died. His father is a rich lawyer--Laurent Segur. Pascal spends his vactions with his busy father. An airplane crashes into the sea while Pascal is diving. Laurent, Catherine (his girl friend), and Pascal enjoy their vacation, but blue marks appear on Pascal. He has been contaminated by nuclear weapons from the crashed air plane. The doctors tell Laurent that Pascal has only 6 months to live. Laurent decided to give him the most wonderful 6 months imaginable. And his efforts center on Christmas. Pascal was played by Brook Fuller.

(The) Christmas Visitor - (Australia, 1987)

In the drought-ridden Australian outback of the 1890s, a boy finds hope in the arrival of a grizzled ex-miner who he believes is Santa Clause. Dee Wallace Stone, John Waters.

(The) Greatest Gift (Canada)

This is not the right title, but I can think of it just now. About a little Canadian boy who does not get the present he had hoped for. Rather his father who has little money lovingly crafts him a pemcil box. The boy is even more unhappy because he has to wear a dress in a Christmas play the children are preparing.

Holiday Affair - (U.S., 1954)

A widow with a young son is courted by two prospective suitors during the Christmas season. Mildly amusing Robert Mitchum film with Timmy (Gordon Gilbert). The boy appears throughout the film and plays his part very nicely and has a wondeful smile. He comes accross as a very believable 6-year old. He almost always is pictured in slacks rather than jeans. He even wears a smart suit for Christmas. He has a scene in which he returns he toy train that he is wild about. He wears a corduroy jacket and pants. He also has a cold weather cap with ear flaps that come down, looking rather like a helmet.

Home Alone - (U.S., 1990)

Cute slap-stick Christmas movie about a charming little boy with an engaging smile--8-year old Kevin (Macaulay Culkin). The film received mixed reviews. 'Some reviewers did like the implausibility of the plot. As far as we can see, this is one of those films thar simply could have not done better. It combines Christmas, that most magical holiday for children, with the primal fear of every child--tht of being lost and separated from his or her family. Macaulay Culkan is brilliant in it and it is the film for which he will always be remembered. This family comedy film was written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbu. Macaulay had caught the producer's attention for his stand-out performance in the John Candy vehicle 'Uncle Buck'. He was the perfect choice for Kevin. Home Alone' was, however, a box office hit--becoming the highest-box office success of any Anerican commdy film. It made Macauley a major child star. As the youngest in the family, he is alternatively picked on and ignored at home. Kevin got into a scrape with his older brother Buzz. He is sent off to his room on the third floor of their home. The McAllister family packs up and in a rush takes off for airport for their flight to France on vacation, only they forget Kevin ensconced on the third floor. Kevin has the house to himself which he at first enjoys. He enjoys a pizza all to himself and savors firbidden activities like jumping on his parents' bed, but begins to miss the family. Then he notices two burglars, Harry and MarvJ (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern), casing the neighbirhood. And his home is at the top of their list. He is left to defend the family homestead. He goes to church and seeks out Santa. Kevin wires the home with heated door handels, spikes, and icy walkways. He also fashions makeshift booby traps inside. Macaulay plays his part perfectly. The crooks are wonderful foils.

Home Alone II - (U.S., 19??)

McCauuly Culkan gets left at home for Christmas this time. More of the same, MacCauley is left again and this time ends up in New York. He is now 12, but still perfect for the part. He wears contemprary clothing.

It's a Wonderful Life (United States, 19??)

It's a Wonderful Life has become a Christmas class classic in the United States. Children has minor roles in the family. The main character played by Jimmy Stuart, has three children. I believe one is boy, but o not recall how he is dressed. There is one important scene with the main character as a boy. I do not recall now who played the part. If I remember correctly he wears knickers.

Miracle on 34th Street (U.S., 1947)

Miracle on 34th Street is certainly one of the classic Christmas films. It is about a little girl who does not believe in Santa Clause and a eledely gentleman who claims to be Santa Claus and, as a result, is institutionalized as insane. A young lawyer has to resign from a law firm to defend him. Edmund Gwenn won am Oscar for his portral of Santa. The film, however, is set around Susan Walker (Natalie Wood), the sceptical little girl who was so enchanting in the film. Actually Natalie at the time firmly believed that Gwenn really was Santa. One of the most charming scenes was when the district attorney's son (Bobby Hyatt) was supeoned and testified that he believed in Santa because his daddy told him that Santa did exist. He wore a short pants suit with long shorts, an Eton collar, and paterened top kneesocks. He was about 5 or 6 years old.

(The) Munster's Scary Little Christmas (U.S., 199?)

This has to be one of the worse Christmas films I have seen. Not all Munster buffs are as critical as HBC. Some of the kids in the family might like it, perhaps after Christmas so they don't have to worry about not getting their presents. It is of course based on the classic camp TV-series, The Munsters (United States, 1964-6). These Munsters unfortunately have none of the charm of the original Munsters. The costuming does include Eddie's short pants outfit, rather like an Anerican Eton suit. Rather than suspender shorts, Eddie actually wears suspenders. It is a purple velvet suit worn with a large Peter Pan collar and dark kneesocks. He also has floppy black bow. Eddie has a substantial role and always wears the same outfit.

Figure 2.--Here is Buddy with his friend Toby. Buddy wears short pants suits and other outfits. Tiby wears knickers.

One Christmas (U.S., 1994)

A film to bear in mind for Christmas (it's been shown for the past few seasons) is a 1994 film starring Henry Winkler, called One Christmas, set in the South during the early 1930's. A very nice adaptation of a Truman Capote story. Exccellent depictions of 1930's clothing are found in this film. A boy being raised by aunts in Alabama spends Christmas with his father in New Orleans. T A boy takes the bus from his grandma's house in rural south Alabama, to spend Christmas with his high-rolling, high living Dad (Winkler) in New Orleans. Dad takes one look at son's well-worn clothes and homemade haircut and takes him to get a new blue short pants suit and a "gentleman's haircut". No complaints from the youngster--he's equipped for the big city. Rather a somber made for TV movie. The central character is an 8-year old boy, Buddy (T.J. Lowther). Buddy is a bit on the sullen side, but a refreshing change from the precocious brats normally seen on TV. He wears short pants. For most of the movie he is in either a brown or blue short pants suit. Usually he wears short socks, but at the very end he is wearing blue knee socks with his blue short pants suit. He makes friend with a black boy about his age who wears knickers.


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Created: 10:09 PM 1/7/2008
Last updated: 4:59 AM 7/2/2013