A few of my fave Christmas films (Part One)

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Over the weekend I learned my great-niece had named her elf on the shelf “Angie.” Well, I do have elf shoes version 2.0. And as is the case with any proper elf, I do love Christmas movies and TV specials. I thought I would share some of my personal faves (I wonder what RA’s favorites are?) In no particular order, here we go! Merry Christmas, everyone.

The Bishop’s Wife (1947) Cary Grant exhibits plenty of urbane charm and sophistication as the handsome angel Dudley assigned to a stressed-out bishop (David Niven) and his dutiful wife (Loretta Young) who is feeling a tad bit neglected, Her husband caught up in building a new cathedral, is battling spiritual doubts and toadying to those with the cash to make the grand new cathedral a reality. Cary, of course, has to teach the bishop to get his priorities back in order. Cary’s angel also develops a very down-to-earth crush on the lovely Loretta. This comedy-drama has a great message with solid performances by the three leads.

Angelic Cary Grant has a heart-to-heart with Niven's and Loretta's young daughter in a scene from the original version of "The Bishop's Wife."

Angelic Cary Grant has a heart-to-heart with Niven’s and Loretta’s young daughter in a scene from the original version of “The Bishop’s Wife.”

Cary Grant and Loretta Young in "The Bishop's Wife."

Cary Grant and Loretta Young in “The Bishop’s Wife.”

 “Nativity! (2009) If you’ve ever wondered what Martin Freeman would look like in his own little tie and cardigan ensemble, then be sure and check out the charming holiday flick, “Nativity!”

Freeman plays Coventry primary school teacher Paul Maddens, a man who’s gone sour on Christmas and love after being dumped by his girlfriend Jennifer (Ashley Jensen) a few years earlier. And now he’s assigned by his school’s head teacher to take over the school’s annual Nativity play, a task he proved woefully unprepared for in an earlier attempt. He gets a new teacher’s assistant, Mr. Poppy (Mark Wootton) a large, gregarious and possibly sub-normal fellow who grates on Madden’s every nerve.  And to top things off, his old drama school chum Gordon Shakespeare’s tony school always manages to steal the limelight with their amibitious holiday productions. What’s a poor beleagured primary school teacher to do?

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Put on a spectacular show–and promise everyone Hollywood (in the form of his former girlfriend, who is now a producer there) is coming to Coventry to film it! Or–are they??

The children in the film are not professional actors, but students casts from a local school. They are absolutely dynamite and steal my heart every time I watch this. Lots of laugh-out-loud humor and a couple of teary moments for me.  A really lovely little holiday treat.

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Another RA connection (outside of TH co-star Freeman) is the fact Pattison’s College, RA’s old performing arts school, is also located in Coventry. And see if you don’t spot someone who played a role in North and South, too.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947) Avoid the inferior remake and stick with the original (non-colorized) version with the delightful Edmund Gwenn as Chris Kringle, a genial little bearded man. After filling in for an inebriated Santa in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Kringle insists he is the real Santa Claus. But can he convince young skeptic Susan (played by a young Natalie Wood) and her mother (the lovely Maureen O’Hara), a widow who insists on telling her daughter the absolute truth–that all those fairy tales and “let’s pretend” is a load of twaddle.  Gwenn, sporting his own whiskers and with a genuine twinkle in his kindly eyes, is one of the best screen Santas ever.

Suzie (Natalie Wood) and Chris (Edmund Gwenn) in a scene from "Miracle on 34th Street."

Suzie (Natalie Wood) and Chris (Edmund Gwenn) in a scene from “Miracle on 34th Street.”

“Christmas Vacation” (1989) What can I say? Cousin Eddie. The giant Christmas tree. The squirrel. The millions and millions of Christmas lights. The Jam of the Month Club. The SWAT team. Holiday madness with the Griswolds.  Good times.

Clark (Chevy Chase) and Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) before the ginormous Christmas tree.

Clark (Chevy Chase) and Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) before the ginormous Christmas tree.

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More to come in another post. Hope you are having a wonderful Christmas Eve (Christmas Day) wherever you may be!

Bearded Armitage Santa wishes you a very Merry Christmas!

Bearded Armitage Santa wishes you a very Merry Christmas!

8 responses »

  1. I love Nativity! I watched it a couple of years ago, that’s the first time I saw Martin Freeman, and I loved it, I loved Martin on it too, such a cute film!
    Great picture of Richard, so gorgeous… I just love beardy Richard, it my absolute favourite look on him ❤

    • It was shown here on satellite during the summer and I fell in love with it. Ended up getting the DVD. Shared it with my sister during a visit and Benny and I watched it last night. 😀 That pic of Richard was from the NY premiere of CA. Beardy Richard is quite the beaut. 😀

    • By coincidence Nativity! was on the TV here in Australia last night. It was wonderful and has just become my new favourite Christmas movie. The children were lovely and natural and MF was perfect for the role. I did wonder if he managed to keep his cussing habit under control for the length of the shoot though!

      • Isn’t it a charming film? So glad I discovered it earlier this year. I loved how “unactory” the children were. I hadn’t realized quite what a potty mouth Martin had when I first saw it, but I know what you are talking about. How did he manage to rein his F-bombs in, one wonders? 😉

  2. Definitely want to check Nativity out. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it! Did you know they made a sequel to it, it’s called (surprise!) “Nativity 2” and David Tennant is playing the lead role. Last time I checked, it wasn’t doing very well as far as box office takings go…

    • It’s lots of fun, it really is. Hadn’t heard about the sequel. Heard David Tennant today in Pirates! Band of Misfits, animated film by the team that did Wallace and Gromit. Martin was also in it. 😉

    • I saw that DT was in the sequel and thought of you Judit! DT would be perfect IMO – one of my favourite bits of comic relief is him playing teacher to Catherine Tate’s Lauren Cooper. When I looked up Nativity! the original didn’t make that much money – but I’m guessing it didn’t cost that much to make either. Well worth a look if you can.

      • I think it was a low budget film to begin with–after all, it’s connected with the BBC ;)– and since the theatrical release, it’s gained in popularity from appearing on TV. I read a lot of very positive reviews on Amazon, which is where I got my DVD.

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