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Classic era HOLIDAY films, or any that include HOLIDAY SCENES

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Posted on Dec 26, 2011 9:39:30 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 26, 2011 11:07:17 PM PST
"Ringle, ringle, coins when they jingle, make such a lovely sound..."

MR. MAGOO'S CHRISTMAS CAROL (1962) is a one-hour Rankin-Bass cartoon that was the first animated holiday special ever produced specifically for television. It opens with Magoo (Jim Backus) singing "It's Great to Be Back on Broadway."

During this sequence we see flashes of newspaper headlines that includes "NET TO BEEM (sic) 'CAROL' VIA TELSTAR," a reference to America's first two commercial communications satellites (owned by AT&T). There's some backstage funny business and the show begins. At both commercial breaks and returns, we see the stage from the audience's viewpoint.

There's a number of memorable Jule Styne/Bob Merrill songs here, such as "Ringle, Ringle," which in the coda has Bob Crachit (Jack Cassidy) wailing a plaintive "Coal" counterpoint to greedy Scrooge's self-satisfied coin inventory. The woeful "Alone in the World" is heard during the Christmas Past segment, with young Ebenezer (Marie Matthews) tearfully lamenting having no friends, while old Ebenezer remembers, cries along, and harmonizes. Later, he very effectively reprises this tune while sitting atop his own grave.

Jane Kean, who played Trixie Norton on later Jackie Gleason Show Honeymooners segments, surprises with a lovely voice in "Winter Was Warm," Belle's sorrowful goodbye to Ebenezer. "We're Despicable (Plunderer's March)" has a horror movie look, with three comically creepy robbers selling off items stolen from a freshly-dead victim (we know who, if Scrooge doesn't). "The Lord's Bright Blessing," the Crachit family's holiday celebration anthem, features Tiny Tim's many references to "razzleberry dressing" and "woofle jelly cake."

Besides those mentioned, also heard are the voices of Morey Amsterdam, Joan Gardner, Paul Frees, Royal Dano and Les Tremayne.

With perhaps 40 non-music minutes available, teleplaywright Barbara Chain had to cut major portions of the Charles Dickens story, including Scrooge's nephew and long-dead sister, his ruthless progress in business and teaming with Jacob Marley. An odd decision was the ghosts visiting out of sequence (Christmas Present is first). Despite alterations, this is a fine cartoon that would surely still be airing if Magoo's nearsightedness humor wasn't considered un-PC.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2011 10:34:40 PM PST
Balok says:
@Annie Van Auken:

MR. MAGOO'S CHRISTMAS CAROL (1962) is a one-hour Rankin-Bass cartoon that was the first animated holiday special ever produced specifically for television. It opens with Magoo (Jim Backus) singing "It's Great to Be Back on Broadway."

My problem with Mr. Magoo isn't that I don't find it funny (although I don't and never did). It's that it makes it very difficult for me to watch _Rebel without a Cause_ and keep a straight face.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2011 10:50:42 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 26, 2011 11:11:07 PM PST
I recall seeing REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE in the high school auditorium, and as soon as I heard that Backus voice I too thought of Magoo. The face of course reminded me further of Thurston Howell III, Magoo/Scrooge's fiscal descendant.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2011 2:17:50 PM PST
I thought Backus did a fine job in 'Rebel w/out a Cause', the only serious role I can recall him in - but when James Dean mimics him in one line, he does it in full Magoo-mode and I did crack up!

Posted on Dec 28, 2011 9:23:54 PM PST
The climactic sequence in THE PROPOSITION (Australia/UK-2005) occurs during the waning minutes of daylight on Christmas Day, 1880, when a gang leader and his demented henchman take revenge on the police captain who captured and inadvertantly caused the death of the outlaw's youngest brother. This scene of debauchery is interrupted by the middle brother, who ends it with violence of his own.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2011 11:44:03 AM PST
I remember The Proposition, an Aussie Spaghetti Western, I remember it had that aboriginal actor from Crocodile Dundee in it.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2011 12:35:57 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 29, 2011 12:36:14 PM PST
THE PROPOSITION is a well-made film with great cinematography and unusual soundtrack music.

Posted on Jan 24, 2012 10:10:22 PM PST
LARCENY INC. (1942) is the Christmas movie that time forgot.

Adapted from the play "The Night Before Christmas" by S. J. Perelman, many of its plot points were reused decades later by Woody Allen for his SMALL TIME CROOKS: a gang of three tries accessing a bank vault from an adjoining store; customers and a broken water pipe interrupt tunneling; the unexpected success of their business "front" changes everything.

The action in "Larceny" peaks on Christmas Eve.

Burglary plans have been abandoned in favor of booming buisness. Fellow ex-Sing Sing inmate Anthony Quinn tries taking over the heist scheme. Edw. G. Robinson hopes to sell his thriving luggage shop back to its original elderly owner and then "scram." He posts burly Broderick Crawford in a Santa Claus suit outside the closed store to watch for Quinn while the transfer is completed. Crawford tries alerting Robbie that Quinn has arrived but is floored with a haymaker. At the point of a pistol, Quinn sends Robinson outside in the Santa outfit. The ill-fitting costume looks almost as ridiculous as the smoldering cigar stub in Robbie's mouth.

Robbie invites strolling carolers in and they serenade while Quinn fumes. They're kicked out after collecting a few dollars. When the new owner tries reopening the store, Quinn knocks him to the floor. Robbie comes to the old man's aid and is also rendered unconscious by Quinn's pistol butt. Right after TNT is set off in the basement, the storeowner hits a burglar alarm and passes out. Quinn and cohorts make a quick exit, leaving the two victims in a burning luggage shop. With a crowd and the cops outside, they're quickly caught. Smoke revives Robbie and he rescues the old man.

Our hero later opens a luggage palace, the planned first of many.

Posted on Feb 10, 2012 11:50:29 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 10, 2012 11:54:20 AM PST
In the Chrismas season murder-mystery LADY ON A TRAIN (1945), Deanna Durbin travels by rail from San Francisco to NYC, where she witnesses from a window seat a killing with a crowbar as the train is pulling into Grand Central Station.

At the local police precinct, desk sergeant Bill Frawley fumbles with miniature Xmas decorations for a foot-tall tree until Durbin interrupts his struggles.

Posted on Feb 23, 2012 12:47:44 PM PST
In GONE WITH THE WIND (1939), Ashley Wiilkes arrives home on a two-week war furlough at the end of 1863. Wife Melanie greets him with loving arms, repeated kisses and "I love you"s while jealous Scarlett (O'Hara) Hamilton is constrained from doing the same. Instead she wishes Ashley a quiet "Merry Christmas."

During a cold rain, coachman Uncle Peter (Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson) stalks with a hatchet "the only chicken left in Atlanta," a scrawny rooster meant for "the white folks' dinner." There's a meal and afterward, as Ashley prepares to depart for the lines, Scarlett presents him with a gold-colored sash for his new uniform tunic, a garment she made with her own hands.

Posted on Mar 21, 2012 12:07:38 PM PDT
I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER (1997) and I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER (1998) both occur on July 4th holidays. The sequel is set on a remote Caribbean island that's being pounded by a tropical storm.

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 12:56:18 PM PST
Director Henry King's 1959 FOX Cinemascope production of BELOVED INFIDEL is based on columnist Sheilah Graham's memoir of her tumultous three year affair with F. Scott Fitzgerald. This film that stars Deborah Kerr and Gregory Peck is bracketed by two Christmas seasons, first, following London-born Sheilah's 1936 arrival in America after an ocean trip on the Queen Mary, finally in 1940, when Scott collapses and dies of a coronary while Sheilah is in the next room.

Holiday lights and a decorated tree can be seen in these sequences. "Merry Christmas" is wished all around in the former and Miss Graham is given a special present by a newspaper editor, a year's contract for a column wriiten in Hollywood, a deal that leads to the chance meeting of Fitzgerald and Graham at a party.

Posted on Feb 14, 2013 12:52:31 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 14, 2013 2:40:11 AM PST
Recommended holiday viewing for today:

Director Roger Corman's THE ST. VALENTINE'S DAY MASSACRE (1967).
It stars Jason Robards, George Segal and Ralph Meeker, with supporting roles for Frank Silvera, Joseph Campanella, Bruce Dern and Harold J. Stone. Cameos by Mickey Deems, John Agar, Reed Hadley and Leo Gordon. Uncredited bit parts from Corman stock players Jack Nicholson, Dick Miller, Russ Conway and Jonathan Haze.

A not-bad bang-bang story set in Prohibition Era Chicago (1929).

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 14, 2013 2:28:30 AM PST
Balok says:
@Annie Van Auken:

> Director Roger Corman's THE ST. VALENTINE'S DAY MASSACRE (1967).

Does the scene of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in _Some Like It Hot_ count as a "holiday scene"?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 14, 2013 2:41:46 AM PST
I think it does! :?)
Happens on a hoiliday, right?

Posted on Apr 21, 2013 11:10:59 AM PDT
In the 1999 thriller DOUBLE JEOPARDY, Ashley Judd is incarcerated for killing a husband who's still alive.
As "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" plays over the kitchen PA system, Judd stirs an enormous vat of tapioca.

Posted on May 7, 2013 12:01:06 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 7, 2013 12:40:46 AM PDT
In INSIDE DAISY CLOVER (1965), Hollywood studio owner Christopher Plummer introduces Daisy (Natalie Wood), his 15-year-old ingenue, to the press during a Christmas party at his estate that includes the showing of a short film that promotes his new star. Daisy, who in regular life wears sheatshirts and jeans, has on a fabulous silver colored satin gown with a skirt plumped out by a ruffled petticoat. Daisy has been given answers to questions reporters may ask, information about her past that's total fiction.

Posted on May 11, 2013 12:00:59 PM PDT
Events in the buddy cop actioner FREEBIE AND THE BEAN (1974) occur during Super Bowl week and at the game.

Posted on Jul 4, 2013 12:26:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 4, 2013 12:30:47 PM PDT
How's this for a July 4th movie?

GEORGE WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE (1942) - Based on the Hart & Kaufman play. "New Yorkers Bill and Connie Fuller have to move from their apartment. Without Bill's knowledge, Connie purchases a delapidated old farmhouse in Pennsylvania, where George Washington was supposed to have actually slept during the American Revolution. Much of the humor comes from the couple's many problems they encounter while trying to fix up the place. With Jack Benny, Ann Sheriden, Charles Coburn, Percy Kilbride, Hattie McDaniel, William Tracy, Lee Patrick, Franklin Pangborn.

Rated 6.9 at IMDb.

Posted on Jul 5, 2013 10:03:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 5, 2013 10:05:50 PM PDT
A good portion of I WOULDN'T BE IN YOUR SHOES (1948) occurs in the days leading up to Christmas. Elyse Knox's husband (Don Castle) has been sentenced to die for a murder he didn't commit. Execution day is the first Tuesday after Christmas. The passage of time is noted by a store window sign: "21 SHOPPING DAYS TIL CHRISTMAS" then 11 DAYS, 10 DAYS, etc.

On Xmas Eve, Knox lies in bed listening to holiday music on the radio and feeling sorry for herself and her soon to die spouse. She places a phone call to detective Regis Toomey. He's been sweet on Knox ever since they met at a dancing school where she was an instructor. It's the turning point of the story.

Posted on Jul 8, 2013 9:18:47 AM PDT
Last night I saw the last part of "The Devil-Doll" (1936) where Lionel Barrymore sets miniaturized people under his mind-control to assassinate the folks who had framed him (every bit as weird as it sounds). We see one of his tiny creations hung on a Christmas tree, coming to life and crawling down through the branches in some really remarkable for 1936 (or now!) special effects.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2013 8:26:28 PM PDT
THE DEVIL-DOLLS sounds like a good film!

Posted on Jul 12, 2013 1:55:14 PM PDT
RAMPAGE (1987) opens at Christmas time with a maniac slaughtering a family in their home.

Posted on Jul 13, 2013 12:29:15 PM PDT
In THE SINGING FOOL (1928), Al Jolson's second talkie, there's a New Year's Eve party sequence at his nightclub. Jolie calls his wife at home (he suspects Molly's cheating on him) and reaches the maid, who tells Al that Molly has left him and taken their "Sonny Boy" with her. As the crowd celebrates the stroke of midnight, Jolson has to fight his way through the tumult so he can go home and see for himself that his wife, child and all their things are gone.

The maid, who's about to leave, hands him a sealed letter, a hastily scrawled goodbye from Molly.

Posted on Oct 23, 2013 1:44:45 PM PDT
An important early scene in THE INVASION (USA/Australia-2007) occurs on a night when kids are Halloween Trick or Treating. This film is a remake of THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956).
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Discussion in:  Classic Movie forum
Participants:  41
Total posts:  433
Initial post:  Nov 2, 2008
Latest post:  Dec 13, 2014

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