As I stare down a very long week of cooking and baking as my family prepares for the Thanksgiving holiday, with Black Friday close behind, a small cabin mini-break the weekend after and a mid-December vacation to get through ( not to mention the actual Christmas holiday and New Years plans at years end) all I really want to do is stay home and watch old movies. Frankly, the next 45 days of my life is just gonna look like this.
But it got me to thinking.
If I did have one spare minute and could possibly pop in an old movie while slicing apples for pies or wrapping gifts which movies would I choose?
So, with high hopes that I can do some crafty multitasking in between all the holiday hoopla, these are my top 5 old Christmas movies that I can’t miss this year.
What can I say, this film is my dream life. Not necessarily the solving murders part, but the being an heiress, looking like Myrna, and having the most amazing relationship I’ve ever seen on screen with a smart guy everyone likes part. Not to mention the countless cocktails and adorable dog, Asta in an upscale apartment. Thin Man on Christmas Eve has sort of become a holiday tradition for us. After all the Santa gifts get under the tree, usually around midnight, I put this film on and revel in the glamour, the mystery, and the chemistry. The Christmas tree and bb gun is just icing on the cake. Add oodles of quotable lines and you’re good until you watch it again next year.
Christmas in Connecticut
Another dream life film of mine, Christmas in Connecticut has everything Christmas movies should have; magical scenery, a love story, humor and food. I love Barbara Stanwyck masquerading as America’s favorite homemaker, while actually just sitting in her apartment making it all up. A favorite forbidden Hollywood star, Barbara being opposite Dennis Morgan in a cozy film about the foils of deceit with SZ Sakall alongside is my idea of the perfect Christmas film. I can watch this one over and over and still catch something I’ve never noticed before every time! And if you’ve never seen this one, pay attention to the last scenes when Dennis tries to convince Barbara he likes married women. Such a good screenplay!
It Happened on Fifth Avenue
Having just discovered this film a couple years ago it quickly moved right up to the top of my must see at Christmas list. It’s laced with loads of lessons, a camaraderie among people all trying to figure things out through wartime and a broken family in dire need of getting back together. Another film with characters all lying to each other you wouldn’t think this one would work, but it does. So beautifully. I cry, I laugh, and I always feel more positive about humanity afterwards. This film is like a reset for your soul, reminding you that there is always a way and you’re always supported. A reminder i’m sure I need more than once a year.
Remember the Night
Another Barbara Stanwyck film, this one comes with a little bit of a bittersweet ending. After Barbara gets caught stealing she tags along with the lawyer prosecuting her on his way home for Christmas. She’s reminded of what family, and love and actually giving a damn feels like. It’s a lovely film of redemption and second chances, some good and some bad. Beulah Bondi is in this one as Fred MacMurray’s caring mother and she is just perfect in this role. She always feels like Christmas to me because of her role in It’s a Wonderful Life and it just feels like home watching this movie. I love the twists and turns and even though I know how it ends, I always wonder if the redemption will be different…every time.
Lady on a Train
Annstj and I just love Deanna Durbin. Like obsessed. Deanna films tend to be light, fun and absolutely feel-good flicks. Lady on a Train is no different even though it finds Deanna during the holidays witnessing a murder from her seat on the train. Add some cute guys you hope aren’t the murderers, a family mystery and the most beautiful rendition of Silent Night you have ever heard. Deanna is decked out in all her Hollywood glamour, and delivers comedy even while trying to solve this murder with the help of a mystery writer. I haven’t introduced this film to my family yet, but if I can fit it in this year I will!
Mind you this list doesn’t have the typical must-see films on it because I already see them every year and if i’m crazy busy won’t really miss yet another viewing of the classics like Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life and Holiday Inn. I have these practically memorized by now. Never Say Goodbye with Errol Flynn almost made this list because I just love the whimsy, but alas I have to be realistic with my time.
If you need more great films to fill your holidays check out all our holiday posts
Annstj will be posting the Favorite Classic Christmas Movies: Part Two so stay tuned!
Or check out our 2017 Classic Hollywood Christmas Movie List