The holiday season is quickly approaching, and there’s no better way to get into the spirit than by escaping into the worlds, characters and stories of one of the following classic black-and-white films.
“Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!”
Jimmy Stewart uttered these lines as the character George Bailey, beloved resident of Bedford Falls, in the classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” directed by Frank Capra. Although not a box office smash when it debuted, the story about a man who sees what life would be like if he’d never been born, courtesy of his guardian angel Clarence, has become a popular movie during the holiday season. In addition to Stewart, the sentimental film featured Donna Reed as George’s wife Mary, Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Potter (Bailey’s nemesis), Thomas Mitchell as Uncle Billy Bailey and Henry Travers as George’s guardian angel Clarence.
“I believe. I believe. I believe.”
Susan Walker, played by Natalie Wood, spoke those words when she finally believed that Kris Kringle, played by Edmund Gwenn, was the real Santa Claus in the 1947 holiday classic, “Miracle on 34th Street.” In this film, Kris Kringle plays Santa at Macy’s, enchants everyone he meets (minus Susan’s mother, at first) and defends his identity as the real Santa Claus in a court case, which he spiritedly wins. The movie was directed by George Seaton and Maureen O’Hara played Doris Walker, Susan’s mother.
“Meet me at the fair”
Judy Garland, playing Esther Smith, sang that lyric in the holiday movie musical “Meet Me in St. Louis,” directed by Vincente Minnelli.
“Set in turn-of-the-century St. Louis, it tracks a year in the life of the Smith family, which is enthusiastically anticipating the 1903 World’s Fair,” explains AMC.com, which also notes that the holiday standard, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” was featured in the film.
“God bless us, every one”
The character Tiny Tim, crippled and ill son of Bob Cratchit, uttered these famous words in the holiday classic “A Christmas Carol.” Although remade several times over the years, the 1938 film based on Charles Dickens’ novella, “A Christmas Carol” was “one of the earliest big screen adaptations,” according to AMC.com. It featured Reginald Owen in the lead role of Ebenezer Scrooge, Cratchit’s penny-pinching and cold employer.
In the story, which takes place on Christmas Eve and the morning of Christmas Day, Scrooge is visited by four ghosts—Jacob Marley, his dead partner who is forced to live out eternity in chains because of his Earthly greed; Christmas Past; Christmas Present; and Christmas Future—who show Scrooge how his life has taken a miserly turn and what would happen to him and to Tiny Tim if he fails to alter his way of life. Upon waking, Scrooge is transformed and filled with goodwill and a sense of generosity.
The film was directed by Edwin L. Marin and featured Gene Lockhart as Cratchit, Terry Kilburn as Tiny Tim, Leo G. Carroll as Marley, Ann Rutherford as the Spirit of Christmas Past, Lionel Braham as the Spirit of Christmas Present and D’Arcy Corrigan as the Spirit of Christmas Future.
Grab a snack, a blanket and a spot on the couch and cozy up with your loved ones for a holiday movie night tonight.
This article is presented by Kundert Volvo in Hasbrouck Heights and Englewood, NJ.