Month in Movies · Uncategorized

Month in Movies: December

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Santa Claus gets the gift of Cyd Charisse!

Hello, lovely people! Here we are at the end of another year. I’m trying to maintain my festive spirit despite the decidedly bleak mood that’s settled. For today’s installment of my monthly wrap up post, I’m focusing on the Christmas movies I watched. Pretty neat that this is my last post for 2016, as the Month in Movies was my first when I started blogging back in January!

I watched 52 films in December, which brings my grand total for 2016 up to 501! About 400 were watched on TCM. I also completed the 52 films by women challenge. My goal for 2017 is to exceed that number. 52/501 is still too small.

I didn’t watch as many holiday classics as I would have liked, nor did I watch a lot of Myrna Loy movies. She was TCM’s Star of the Month. But onto the films.

Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
dir: Peter Godfrey

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Barbara Stanwyck plays a fraud. She’s been selling her life as a homemaker with a charming farm, a husband, and a baby. When a soldier arrives at her farm to spend the holidays, she has to keep up the facade with some naturally funny results. A great supporting cast with the likes of Sydney Greenstreet and S.Z. Sakall, who play wonderfully off of each other. Wish they had appeared in more films together!

Remember the Night (1940)
dir: Mitchell Leisen

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This time Stany plays a repeat shoplifter who spends Christmas with the prosecuting attorney. This was four years before Fred MacMurray helped her murder her husband in Double Indemnity. They’re a lovely pair with the warmest chemistry. I was so surprised by the bittersweet ending. It was much more honest than the kind of Hollywood ending that would usually befall this kind of movie.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
dir: George Seaton

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At last! I’ve always heard the best things about this classic and it didn’t disappoint. Natalie Wood was such a precocious child. Her performance was utterly natural and tender. Edmund Gwenn also embodied Santa Claus, from looks to demeanor. His Best Actor Oscar was rightfully deserved. His name is Kris Kringle and he’s convinced that he’s the genuine deal. Susan (Wood) is a little hesitant at first because her mother Doris (Maureen O’Hara) tries to raise her without fairy tales or illusions. That’s just no way to live! While I was watching, I promised myself to teach my hypothetical future children to believe in all strange, wondrous, imaginary things. The film culminates in a court trial that aims to prove Kris really is Santa. Although the oft quoted line about believing in things despite common sense is beautiful, I found Susan’s “I believe, I believe, it’s silly but I believe” to resonate with me more.

A Christmas Carol (1938)
dir: Edwin L. Marin

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Heartwarming! This story might be a touch maudlin, but I love it. Christmastime always has me feeling a lot more cheery. And after the challenges of this year, I’m glad I could feel real joy. My greatest hope is that the real life Scrooges of the world, and those of us with Scrooge like tendencies, can embrace a full conversion of the heart. That we can be kinder and generous during the Christmas season and throughout the year.

In December I also participated in Samantha’s Classic Hollywood Holiday Card Giveathon! I sent Christmas cards to Margaret O’Brien and Marsha Hunt, two women who have made my year a lot brighter with their movies. I plan on writing them letters in the near future. Time is much too precious to continue procrastinating.

Happy New Year, all! Wishing you nothing but the best in 2017.

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