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The Christmas Box / Timepiece
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Hallmark's warm, 1995 made-for-television movie The Christmas Box and its darker, 1996 prequel, Timepiece, are logically and delightfully paired in this DVD package. In the former, Richard Thomas plays Richard, a ski-shop owner consumed with work and unhappy about his family's insistence on sharing a lonely mansion with Mary, an icy, humorless widow (Maureen O'Hara). While Richard's wife and child develop loving ties with Mary, he suffers recurring dreams and grows convinced the house is haunted by a tragedy from the old woman's past. Timepiece jumps ahead 16 years from the resolution of that story, then takes us back to the 1940s, when Mary (Naomi Watts) and her late husband, David (Kevin Kilner), a wealthy arms supplier to America's war effort, marry and endure both a bogus murder trial and a crushing family loss. While it's wonderful to see O'Hara, Timepiece proves the grittier, more interesting film, helped mightily by a cast including James Earl Jones and Ellen Burstyn. --Tom Keogh
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In "The Christmas Box," the Evans family is interviewed by elderly, wealthy widow Mrs. Parkin (Maureen O'Hara) for a live-in status, since their apartment is too small for them now. To their surprise, they are brought in on a trial basis, and mom Keri (Annette O'Toole) and daughter Jenna (Kelsey Mulrooney) rapidly grow closer to the old woman. But Richard (Richard Thomas) is often busy -- so busy that he's almost never there for his family. But Mrs. Parkin's mysterious past, a cache of old letters, and a strange question lead him back to the first gift of Christmas.
"Timepiece" shifts back in time to the end of World War II. David Parkin (Kevin Kilner) is the owner of a successful, extremely busy company. He takes on a new secretary, Mary Anne Chandler (Naomi Watts), and begins to fall in love with her. But she has a secret: She's pregnant and unmarried. Undaunted, David marries her and they raise her daughter as their own. But when David's friend Lawrence (James Earl Jones) becomes the target of a gang's racism, something tragic will happen to the new family.
The films are rather different in tone, although both will probably leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling, especially during the Christmas season. "Christmas Box" is a Christmas movie with a touch of mystery (who are the letters to? And what happened in Mary Anne's past?), whereas "Timepiece" is a straightforward family/friends story with a touch of tragedy and Christmas. They both have some major differences from the original novels, but the spirit of them is still in there.
The acting is more or less spotless in both movies. Richard Thomas and Annette O'Toole are fantastic as the couple who bickers a bit, but love each other dearly; O'Hara is astounding as Mary Parkin in her old age. James Earl Jones (of "Star Wars" fame) and Naomi Watts (of "Ring" fame) are also wonderful in "Timepiece." The child actors are somewhat flat at times (especially the kid who plays Andrea) but they don't detract from the stories at all.
Tis the season to be mildly sentimental, which is why people watch "It's a Wonderful Life." For a couple of beautiful, lovable films with good acting and a bit of heartbreak and a dollop of romance, this is a must-have. Genuinely charming.
Timepieces is a prequel and explains the life of the widow when she was young and how things came to be in her life as a wife and mother. It explains alot of what happenes in The Christmas Box from what the family experinces.
Another Christmas movie -- with the TALL actor from the TV series SUPERNATURAL -- that
she likes is called:Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage... asking price from $2 to $7.
Certainly WORTH the money!
She watches these three movies EVERY year, an we HAVE hundreds and hundreds of videos.