If you’ve seen The Philadelphia Story and you’re hoping for another Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn charmer be forewarned — that casual cool isn’t in this one. It leans toward the melodramatic but there is a lot to enjoy. First is Grant’s gymnastic prowess. Second, is a very witty script, even if it does race through some pretty great lines, if you can catch them it will feel like brain candy. There’s too much psychological drama to quite call it a comedy, and I certainly wouldn’t pull it out if I wanted to watch a cheery festive movie, but I was surprised by the depth and as an avid Grant fan I enjoyed it.
Christmas in Connecticut
A real stand out when it comes to classic Christmas fare. Barbara Stanwyck is at her best and the modern feeling of this film really seems to be just as applicable today. I’m usually against remakes but I think a modern film inspired by this one would be great. However the black and white adds generously to the charm of the film, Technicolor is not missed. The story is sharp and unlike Holiday is a light frothy hilarious with snappy comedic timing. I didn’t realize it until I watched it this time but the craft of screenwriting here is at it’s best, everything is paced just right. Officially added to my watch every year list.
It Happened On 5th Avenue
I’m not sure if this movie was good or I just enjoyed watching it. I really enjoyed the story and the way it snowballed with the majority of the time being spent on the first and second acts and short but sweet ending. Victor Moore as the homeless man ran a little hot and cold but the rest of the cast made up for it and even though there was romance, it was more comedic than sappy and sentimental. I liked that it didn’t do the expected in an expected way. Of course there was a happy ending, there nearly always is, but the journey there can make the difference between something you wouldn’t pick up again and something you’d love to share with others. This was the latter for sure.
This film joins an elite list of movies whose child star manages to outshine their adult counterparts. Gordon Gebert as Timmy, is far and away the best thing about this film. I enjoyed watching it, even if both of the adult male leads gave me a small case of the creeps, and all I could think of was Psycho when I watched Janet Leigh trying to decide between them. Despite the associations, the premise as rather an odd one for a Christmas movie. I’m sure when it came out it was very topical, a woman who’s lost her husband in the war is berated by a stranger to move on and get married again. Okay, so I did have some difficulty with liking this one. The charm factor lies solely on the small shoulders of Timmy and though I was knocked over by the strength of is performance, it wasn’t quite enough. I can see why they play It’s A Wonderful Life each year at Christmas and not this one.
The Great Rupert
I guess I have a thing for classic comedians with noses and one-liners. Bob Hope and now Jimmy Durante. I found this movie in a collection I own of 50 classics, most of which have run out of copyright. That set of DVDs has lead me to some great, great movies. This is one of them. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not Citizen Kane or Casablanca or any other pretentious movie people love. It’s a Christmas movie about a squirrel. I do know this. But the humor is just right for keeping the festive mood alive while wrapping gifts of baking cookies. The plot isn’t complicated, the acting isn’t Academy Award, but they don’t give awards for charm and this film has it in spades. Even though it’s used humorously, I thought the portrayal of poverty and money in this film was very educational. So many people now talk about those who have and those who don’t, but today even those who don’t still have more than those who came before us. It is a lighthearted comedy but at Christmas, we could all use a reminder of the past to be grateful for the present, even if the lesson comes from a squirrel.