Friday, November 26, 2010

HOLIDAY MOVIES--some favorites

For me, it usually starts around Thanksgiving, with an annual screening of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, the wonderful 1987 comedy starring Steve Martin and John Candy, directed by John Hughes. It never fails to bring a lump to the throat. Candy's performance as Del is one of his best.

Neal (Steve Martin) flashes back to Del (John Candy).

Then, depending on the mood and the hour, as we move inevitably toward Christmas Day itself, other favorites for the holidays are screened.

Christmas morning with Nora (Myrna Loy)and Nick (William Powell) Charles.

There's the marvelous and matchless matching of William Powell and Myrna Loy in The Thin Man. This 1934 comedy-murder mystery set during the Christmas season in New York never fails to amuse as the chemistry of Powell and Loy always seems fresh and new, no matter how many times I've seen it. Loy's Nora Charles will forever be the ideal partner in my heart...

And the holiday perennials: Miracle on 34th Street from 1947, with Edmund Gwenn's gentle and loving performance. His turn as Kris Kringle has a strength that few Santas have ever had on film. Ever.

Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn.

Listening to the rich narration by Boris Karloff in the 1966 animated television adaptation of Dr. Seuss's How The Grinch Stole Christmas is a must for me. It just wouldn't be Christmas without hearing Boris happily announce,"... and he found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!" And who can forget Thurl Ravenscroft rendition of the song!?

Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Boris Karloff, and Chuck Jones.

For pure comedy and fantasy in a season rich in the stuff, there's always Laurel and Hardy in Babes in Toyland, also known as March of the Wooden Soldiers. My favorite comedy team.

And it wouldn't be complete without Alastair Sim's performance-for-the-ages as Scrooge in the 1951 film of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

"Christmas Day! Then I haven't missed it!"

What are your favorites?

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