A Christmas Carol (1938)Reginald Owen and his ghosts of Christmas past, present and future scared the bejesus out of me—especially that spooky doorknocker! As a kid, I shook with fear, but never missed a chance to watch this black and white classic. Owen was the ultimate Scrooge and the fact that he was redeemed in the end did not convince me that even Tiny Tim could truly and forever reform him. He probably returned to his old ways as soon as the camera stopped rolling!
Holiday Inn (1942)This film starring Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby is best-remembered for the classic holiday song, ‘White Christmas’ as sung by Crosby. The tune went on to win an Academy Award for Best Song and remained the top-selling single ever recorded until 1997 when Elton John’s ‘Goodbye, England’s Rose’ surpassed it. Oh, and one more thing…it’s said that the founder of the real Holiday Inn chain, named his hotels after this film.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)Imagine what the world would have been like if you had not been born. Well, George Bailey got a glimpse of what Bedford Falls would have become without him—and it wasn’t pretty. Clarence the angel showed him around town in hopes of getting his wings. And did you know that ‘Zuzu’ was the name of a cookie made by Nabisco? And that was why George called his daughter ‘my little ginger snap’. It was that same Zuzu who let us know that every time a bell rings, an angel gets their wings!
The Bishop’s Wife (1947)Ah, Cary Grant as Dudly the angel! Heavenly bliss! But did you know that originally David Niven was to play the angel and Cary Grant the bishop? What were they thinking? Thank heaven director Harry Koster saw the error in this casting and switched things up! I especially liked the way Dudley dictated the Christmas sermon and the typewriter clacked away. Oh how I wanted a typewriter like that when I was a kid! And of course, the little girl named ‘Debbie’ made it even more appealing to this little girl!
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)This film was originally released in the summer of ’47 because the powers-that-be thought no one would go to the movies at Christmas time. The Thanksgiving Day parade scene was actually filmed on November 28, 1946 at the real parade in New York City. Edmund Gwenn played Santa Clause that day and even addressed the crowd. Legend says that eight-year-old Natalie Wood truly believed that Gwenn was Santa Claus and was devastated when she saw him at the wrap party without his costume.
Of course, there are others, but these remain my favorites! Now by all means, leave a comment and tell us about your favorite holiday films…