‘Tis the season for Christmas movies, and we’ve all got our favorites. Here at Casa Dexter, our well-known favorites include It’a Wonderful Life (long-time favorite from Thanksgiving ’89 on), A Christmas Story, Home Alone, and Scrooged.
In addition to these well-known Christmas movies, here are a few extras you might consider unwrapping this year for a great surprise gift.
Income equality, wealth disparity, corporate greed, homeless veterans sleeping on park benches — why is it this 1947 movie sounds so timely again?
This delightful story centers on the irrepressible bum/tramp/high-class hobo, Aloysius T. McKeever, who winters in the boarded-up mansion of one Michael J. O’Connor, despised corporate mogul greedily gobbling up the landscape. A trickle of others join Aloysius in appreciating O’Connor’s absentee hospitality in the holiday season, and we watch our enterprising pre-slackers pull together to save the day.
I only discovered this buried gem a couple of years through TCM (Turner Classic Movies). Despite vying against Miracle on 34th Street for the Oscar for “Best Writing, Original Story” that year, this movie faded quickly from the public sight. This short clip discusses why you might never have seen this — maybe you have.
Personally, I’m looking forward to watching it again this year— highly recommended.
This is one of Sara’s standards that I have come to appreciate as well. Starring Richard Thomas, Maureen O’Hara, and Annette O-Toole, it’s a modern tale of an enterprising young father who lets himself get too busy for his family — never a good idea, and certainly not during the holiday season.
Fortunately, the ever-marvelous Maureen O’Hara finds a way to reach into his heart and re-awaken his spirit to the joy of the season beyond setting sales records.
There is also a prequel to Christmas Box titled Timepiece, but it does not compare to the original in my opinion.
Okay, this movie offers 5 stories by master storyteller, O. Henry, with only one of them — The Gift of the Magi — truly Christmas-oriented.
But another story, The Cop and the Anthem takes place in winter, so I’m counting this movie on my Christmas viewing list: my list, my rules.
What a movie anyway! A quintet of expertly told renditions of some of O. Henry’s noted stories, each one directed by a famous director with their own set of stars, each introduced by John Steinbeck.
Starring Charles Laughton, Farley Granger, Jeanne Crain, Dale Robertson, Richard Widmark, Oscar Levant and even a small role for just-about-to-break-big Marilyn Monroe (billed prominently by release date to cash in on her rising fame) among others, the film gives viewers a great slice of O. Henry’s marvelous stories.
I’m not going to tell the tale behind The Gift of the Magi — perhaps you know, perhaps not. Whether you watch the movie or not, the original short story is often regarded as the quintessential O. Henry story, complete with surprise ending, so you ought to read that one anyway — here’s a PDF version.
The story ends with these beautiful lines explaining his title.
The magi, as you know, were wise men – wonderfully wise men – who brought gifts to the new-born King of the Jews in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication.
And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the Magi.
Watch this classic on Amazon video here — rent it if you’re unsure, but if you buy it, you can watch it every Christmas season. That’s what I do. My guess? You might want this one on annual repeat, too, along with all your old favorites.
“Memories are the greatest gift a father can give to a son.”
The latest addition to our lesser-known Christmas classics, this 2014 movie brings Turk Pipkin’s beautiful little book, When Angels Sing, features Harry Connick, Jr and Connie Britton and an incredible parade of Austin musicians in cameo roles.
Oh, and there’s a rather recognizable character named Nick played by — who else? — Willie Nelson. Here’s a few comments from Willie about the movie for additional enticement. Did I mention Kris Kristofferson appears as well?
With all the Austin musicians — Lyle Lovett, Marcia Ball, Sara Hickman, Charlie Robison, Charlie Sexton, the Trishas and countless others — and its reference to Austin’s famous 38th Street lights, this is a big hometown favorite that deserves widespread viewing.
Happy holiday viewing!