These are my own personal favorites, my own personal choices. I realize there are many more holiday movies out there, more modern ones too, but the ones I like just happen to be of the older variety (except for one or two). I LOVE and cherish old movies! But I'm no fool, I also happen to love and cherish Patrick Stewart. Ha!
My Favorites then, in no particular order:
- THE THIN MAN starring William Powell and Myrna Loy Yes, this is a Christmas movie. Well, the murder and mayhem take place over a New York Christmas holiday. This is a New York Christmas like no other. A Christmas in a NYC that probably never was but sure looks like a lot of fun. William Powell and Myrna Loy were born to play the roles of Nick and Nora Charles and we were born to watch 'em. Asta's no slouch either.
- SCROOGE starring Albert Finney I'm no big fan of Albert Finney, never was, but I admit he's pretty wonderful in this musical of the Dicken's classic. My favorite scene: the ghost of Christmas present. The original story is here + lots of great musical numbers.
- CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT starring Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan and Sidney Greenstreet Delightful film with Barbara Stanwyck as a hyper-drive NY magazine columnist/editor trying her best to look domesticated for her boss, publisher Sidney Greenstreet (who is wonderful), while falling in love with a soldier on holiday leave, Dennis Morgan. This all takes place in a movie-style Connecticut farm house during a movie-style white Christmas.
- MIRACLE ON 34th STREET starring Edmund Gwenn, Natalie Wood, Maureen O'Hara and John Payne Simply put: I like this version best. LOVE Warren Cowan as the befuddled prosecuting attorney. Natalie Wood is perfect as the little girl slowly brought around to believing in Santa Claus. Edmund Gwenn is utterly charming as Mr. Claus. (He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance.)
- MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS (aka Babes in Toyland) starring Laurel and Hardy We watch this for Thanksgiving and, if it's available, we watch it at Christmas. It's just tradition. Sometimes I like to sing along with the Victor Herbert songs. What can I say? Watched this since we were kids and they used to show it every year on WPIX, channel 11. Don't like the colorized version though, I'm a purist.
- EMMET OTTER'S JUG-BAND CHRISTMAS from Jim Henson Absolutely adore this gentle (mostly) hour long film starring the Henson marionettes and puppets. Just a lovely, lovely film with the most charming woodland characters and quite beautiful music. The voices for each character are absolute perfection.
- A CHRISTMAS CAROL starring Patrick Stewart Patrick Stewart makes for a sexy Mr. Scrooge probably without meaning to. I most especially love watching him dance at the end - charming. This is a good version of the Dickens tale. I also liked the George C. Scott version done a few years previously. Well, George C. Scott can do no wrong in my book.
- A CHRISTMAS CAROL starring Alastair Sim What many consider the best and most classic version. Alastair Sim is simply wonderful as the crotchety Mr. Scrooge and watching his delight at the end of the film is a joy. But I also liked the previous version with Reginald Owen, though not as much. Still, if that's all you can find, it's worth watching.
- IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed What can I say? Sometimes I feel as if I have to watch this one more time I'll run screaming through the streets - but then there's the times when I want to watch it and the magic of it flows over me once again.
- THE BISHOP'S WIFE starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven Now we ALL knew Cary Grant was not of this world, but this film confirms his other-worldly origin in an especially touching way. I've always been a fan of David Niven too. Lovely film.
- TOM AND JERRY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL Any Tom and Jerry cartoon done in the 1940's/50's celebrating Christmas is worth the watching. (Forget the later ones, the animation sucked big time - not to put too fine a point on it.)
- AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS This Gian Carlo Menotti opera was first shown on tv when I was a kid - NBC if I remember correctly - and I was immediately transfixed by the music, the singing and the story. I'd never seen an opera before and from that first moment, I became a life-long opera lover. This was a watershed moment in my life. The mother's arias are particularly stirring for me as she is tempted by the obvious wealth of the The Three Kings (the Night Visitors in the title) as they stopover in her poor little house on the road to Bethlehem. I also love the singing of the Kings near the end. Just a wonderful 'small' opera, perfect for the season. Sung in English, by the way.