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The House Without a Christmas Tree

348 customer reviews

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(Oct 16, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

After a mother dies, her family appears destined to spend the rest of its days picking up the pieces. In 1940's Nebraska, a sweet and intelligent 10-year-old girl raises the ire of her bitter widower father, who has never forgotten that his wife died while giving birth to their daughter. To illustrate for the girl that life does not come easy, the father bars the family, which also includes his mother, from having a traditional Christmas tree. This yuletide, though, has a happy surprise for this home so desperately in need of holiday cheer.

The loss of a loved one is never easy and memories often make the holiday season especially difficult. Addie (Lisa Lucas) lost her mother when she was very young and, while she sometimes yearns for her mother, she is a happy well-adjusted ten-year old who wants nothing more than to have a Christmas tree in the living room. Addie's father (Jason Robards) absolutely refuses to have a Christmas tree in the house, but offers no explanation for his stubborn resolve which leads Addie to question his motives and his love for her. It falls to Addie's Grandmother (Mildred Natwick) to explain that her father is still immersed in grief over the loss of his wife and that the memories of Christmases past are simply too painful for him to endure. When Addie wins a tree at school, her father is enraged by both the presence of the tree in his home and the idea of his family accepting charity. Only by opening a line of communication and sharing their feelings and memories with one another can Addie and her father reconcile their differences and begin to understand one another. Set in 1964, this 1972 made-for-television special feels like a stage play with sets and scenery that evoke the essence of an age-gone-by. The message, of course, is timeless. (Ages 5 and older) --Tami Horiuchi

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Jason Robards, Mildred Natwick, Lisa Lucas, Kathryn Walker, Alexa Kenin
  • Directors: Paul Bogart
  • Writers: Eleanor Perry, Gail Rock
  • Producers: Alan Shayne
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: October 16, 2007
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (348 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000SQFC3Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,619 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The House Without a Christmas Tree" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

178 of 187 people found the following review helpful By C. Hong on May 11, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
I was 13 when this movie first came out. It touched me deeply and still does. I noticed one reviewer said the filming was terrible. You have to understand that this was filmed inexpensively, in the 70's as a childrens special.It was based on the book by Gail Rock and so it was as though looking at the illustrations in a book. We didn't have all those fancy technical affects they have now. And, even if they did, that's not what the movie was about. It was about family, emotions, the simpler times. That's what touched us.It tugged at our emotions and our heart strings. We didn't need great technical affects to entertain us. And if the feeling isn't there when you view it. It never will be. So, if you're looking for fantastic special effects, this isn't the movie for you. There are plenty out there, devoid the emotions. If your looking for a movie,that will touch your inner self, then this is the movie for you. I also am pleased to have the video sequels "The Holiday Treasure" and "The Easter Promise". I only wish they'd make available on video. "Addie and the King Of Hearts". I'm hoping it can be done as there are many of us that would love to own it on video.
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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By L. M Young VINE VOICE on September 14, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is finally on DVD! Thank God! I have been so worried about my VHS copy deteriorating.

I wish I could give this story an even higher rating than a mere five stars! It is 1946 in the small town of Clear River, Nebraska, and Addie Mills, the lively, intelligent and artistic daughter of widower James Mills, who is being raised by her grandmother because her mother died shortly after she was born, once again broaches the idea of having a Christmas tree. Her father, who has remained withdrawn and embittered in the long years since her mother's death, as always fobs her off. Then Addie wins the classroom Christmas tree and takes it home...

This wonderful story was filmed and first broadcast in 1972 and shown on CBS. It was produced on videotape, which takes away a bit of the magic. However, it also makes you feel as if you are eavesdropping on this family, as if they were participants in a reality series. Lisa Lucas is splendid as the articulate Addie and Mildred Natwick is a charming grandma, but major kudos go to Jason Robards in the role of Addie's father. He could have been portrayed as a soulless tyrant but is revealed to be a desperately grieving and unhappy man instead.

The "look" of this special contributes to its appeal; the clothing, the sets, the classroom situation all makes you feel as if you are truly back in 1946. Paramount Video needs to release the three sequels as well; THANKSGIVING TREASURE is particularly good, and the fourth story, ADDIE AND THE KING OF HEARTS, has never been released to video at all. It sells on bootleg sites for $$$!

(I have a web page devoted to Addie that covers the different specials and the books (no advertising allowed!) at addiemills dot flyingdreams dot com. Hope you enjoy.)
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Howard Lee on October 24, 2005
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
It's amazing how many people have never heard of this film. I believe it is not considered a Christmas classic because it was shot on video rather than film, and because of this, it has the look and feel of a daytime soap. But the feelings inspired by this film, as well as the first-rate acting, especially from the 3 leads, (Lisa Lucas, jason Robards, and Mildred Natwick) are incredible, and this movie has a powerful effect on me to this day. This is a perfect film, yet, it is never shown on TV any longer.

Year after year, this program aired on CBS, especially in the 1970's. My sister and I adored this film, and I still try to get anyone to watch it. It is nostalgic, and the set decoration, as well as the immediacy and realism of the characters are well-crafted. I'm not sure if actor Lisa Lucas still reads reviews on, but she should realize what a powerful performance she gave as the young Addie Mills. There is nothing overtly sentimental in anyone's performance, and director Paul Bogart created a memorable film in the television medium format. It was obviously done on a low-budget, but it proves that little money can still make a powerful story.

It's sad, since Jason Robards, Mildred Natwick, and even Addie's friend in the film, "Carla Mae" have passed away. I can only hope that everyone who is still alive who helped to make this film, recognizes what a wonderful film they made that should be re-introduced on television now amongst all the junk that plays every year around the holidays.

A MUST SEE CHRISTMAS CLASSIC. You owe it to yourself to see this little known classic.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By anthonious on December 10, 1999
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I remember watching this video fully expecting to be bored to tears- Instead the story moved me to tears. As a young man I learned through this story not only to embrace Christmas, but my family, life, and my emotions. This video is everything that a story should be... somehow just in viewing it you become a better person.
Buy this for your family and friends... and thanks to for allowing us the opportunity to relive the best moments of our holiday past...
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By M. Fields on November 2, 2004
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is a charming story. Great for kids to watch. It probably won't be converted to dvd so you'd better buy it now. It's a story of a widower living with his daughter and his mother. His relationship with his daughter is deeply disconnected(for lack of a better word). The father (played wonderfully by Jason Robards) lost his wife to pneumonia but he takes his loss out on his daughter. He blames the death of his wife on the birth of Addie (the daughter). He claims that the birth of the baby weakened her. "Why couldn't the baby die instead of her" he questions.

Addie tries to please her dad but keeps missing the mark. She knows nothing of her mother because her dad doesn't speak of her and refuses to have anything in the house that reminds him of his dead wife. Hence, his refusal to get Addie a Christmas tree. His mother tries to make him understand that Addie needs his love, not just a roof over her head and food to eat.

This little drama is well acted and touches the heart. No doubt some folks grew up in a house that looked very much like the home set in this video. How often have people baked Christmas cookies for others because it's all they could do? This drama was done back in the 70's for CBS which doesn't make it ancient but still it has an aged look about it. The film looks older than it is which adds to its charm.

Please don't miss the opportunity to sit down and watch this with your children. It would also make a great Christmas gift for a child. There is no nudity, profanity, violence or sex in this film. It is kid friendly. Parents, please purchase with confidence.

You will find this video highly enjoyable! Please get one before they are all gone. It might not be so easy to find once supplies are exhausted.

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