Merry Christmas from Backlots!

To all those who celebrate it, I wish my readers a very merry Christmas with lots of quality time with friends and family!

The holiday of Christmas has heralded some of the most beloved movies of all time. In celebration of the season, I am profiling a few of my favorites here. Have a wonderful holiday, and if you have a free moment, check out some of these movies!

CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945)

Starring Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan, it tells the story of a “perfect housewife” columnist who doesn’t exactly have the life her column suggests…and when her boss requires her to host a war veteran at her home for Christmas (and insists upon coming along himself), she has some arranging to do! A sweet situation comedy that is defined by Barbara Stanwyck’s delightful performance and that of the adorable S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall as the character of Uncle Felix.

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947)

This one is a true classic, and often I find myself disillusioned with the fact that with its great popularity has come a colorization that has now taken over AMC every year at Christmas as well as a 1994 remake, that has become more prevalent than the original on the other more commercial channels. But this, I believe, is the one and only one to see. Natalie Wood stars as a little girl skeptical of Santa Claus, until a Macy’s Santa Claus played by Edmund Gwenn makes her think twice. It is a fantastic children’s movie and also holds up extremely well for adults–if you haven’t seen it since your childhood, now is a wonderful time to revisit it!

HOLIDAY AFFAIR

This is a lesser-known gem with which I first became acquainted last year at Noir City X-Mas. It is a sweet, low-key comedy that stars Janet Leigh as an engaged war widow who falls in love with a department store clerk while undercover on her job as a comparative shopper. Though she already has a fiancé, her young son takes to the department store clerk (played by Robert Mitchum) and there begins to be some tension due to her son’s clear preference for Mitchum’s character. The movie is light fare, but good fun. One of the best performances in the movie comes from the little boy, played by Gordon Gebert. His acting career never took off but he found a second talent in adulthood–after studying architecture at UCLA, USC, and MIT, Gebert is now a very prominent professor at New York City’s College School of Architecture.

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6 responses to “Merry Christmas from Backlots!

  1. These are three of my favourites as well. In fact, Christmas in Connecticut has actually overtaken It’s a Wonderful Life as my all time favourite Yuletide film. I have to say I am dismayed every time I see the Nineties remake of Miracle on 34th Street, as it cannot hold a candle to the original.

  2. I’m in the minority in that It’s A Wonderful Life is not one of my favorites. I think it might be just because of its overexposure, because I know it’s a great movie. It’s one of those films that everybody references constantly, and it’s become one of the “faces” of classic Hollywood, like “Casablanca” has. One day I’m going to write a post on the phenomenon of overexposure, because it’s something that I think needs to be talked about articulately.

  3. Lara, I enjoy the original MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (accept no substitutes, especially colorized ones — no thanks!) but otherwise, I never seem to catch up with all those other wonderful movies unless it’s halfway through the film! Your delightful trailers for CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT and HOLIDAY AFFAIR have me wanting to catch up with them this holiday season! (Of course, my idea of Christmas is watching THE THIN MAN, LADY IN THE LAKE, FITZWILLY, and LADY ON A TRAIN :-)) All of us here at Team Bartilucci HQ wish you and yours a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and anything else you and yours wish to celebrate, my friend!

  4. Merry Christmas! This was a great post – thank you! I watched Holiday Affair for the first time yesterday afternoon when it aired on TCM and I loved it 🙂

  5. Thank you, same to you! I’m noticing that “Holiday Affair” is having a little bit of a rebirth lately–well-deserved, I say!

  6. Aw thanks, Dorian! All the same to you and all at Team Bartilucci, HQ!

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