I’m almost positive that I wrote up a post about my favorite Christmas movies on my old blog, but since I deleted the whole thing over the summer (R.I.P.) I may as well pretend it never existed and give it another try . . .
Christmas in Connecticut: There are two Barbara Stanwyck movies on this list because I’m a huge Stanwyck fan. I love her toughness and her no-nonsense personality and the way she can liven up a genre that tends to go heavy on sentimentality. She’s all eye rolls and smirks in this movie as a street-smart magazine columnist pretending to be the perfect ’40s housewife in order to trick her publisher boss. Of course she doesn’t trick anyone, but it’s fun to watch her try, and the house she takes over for her little masquerade is maybe my favorite Christmas film house ever.
I’ll Be Seeing You: I love Ginger Rogers for a lot of the same reasons that I love Barbara Stanwyck. She’s as glamorous as any other star from the ’30s or ’40s, but she always has a little edge to her, which is maybe why she was so good at playing women in trouble with the law. In this film she stars as a convict on leave for Christmas, and another favorite of mine, Joseph Cotten, plays a shell-shocked man returning from the war. Watching them meet and fall in love is sweet and real and touching, and while Christmas just plays a very small part in the movie it’s still interesting to see how simultaneously wholesome and glamorous holidays in the ’40s were. (Well, in films at least)
Remember the Night: This is the third time I’ve written about this movie on my blog. I saw it for the first time just two years ago, but I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite Christmas movie, if only because it’s still new to me. It also doesn’t hurt that it stars Barbara Stanwyck, this time as a shoplifter (I guess I really like movies about law-breaking women) who ends up spending Christmas with the man who is prosecuting her in court. They both go to Indiana and spend an old-fashioned Christmas, and Barbara even bakes (or tries to).
It’s A Wonderful Life: This is the one I’ve been watching every year for as long as I can remember, and it’s easy to take it for granted. It was probably the first black and white film I ever saw (not counting the first half of The Wizard of Oz), and even though I didn’t always love old movies I did always love this one. It’s the most sentimental out of my whole list, and some scenes are so overly-sweet that you can understand why some people of the time came up with the term “Capra-corn” to describe Frank Capra’s films. Can this movie get corny? Yes. But it’s also touching and good, and if there’s any holiday for watching sentimental films it’s Christmas.