Re-post: The Forties Goldmine of Christmas Movies--Part I


[I had a lot of fun writing this post last year, so I thought I'd give it another run in 2010]

Have you ever noticed how many great Christmas movies came out of the forties?

The era produced not only some of the most beloved titles, such as It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), Christmas in Connecticut (1945), The Bishop’s Wife (1947), and Holiday Inn (1942), but also several movies with memorable holiday moments. Here are a few that come to mind:

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Never have I wanted so badly for a group of characters to find a happy place to celebrate Christmas. It practically turned the end of this movie into a suspense flick for me.

They Live by Night (1948)
Cold-eyed gangster Howard Da Silva demonstrates how to thoroughly terrorize a young couple by simply crushing an ornament. It’s as if he’s threatening to cancel Christmas.

Christmas Holiday (1944)
Deanna Durbin has a bleak Christmas Eve as she pines for her jail bound husband.

Lady on a Train (1945)
A happier Durbin’s intimate phone performance of Silent Night is a peaceful interlude in the midst of a chaotic murder mystery.

Lady in the Lake (1947)
Robert Montgomery’s Christmas noir, complete with an angelic choir on the soundtrack.

Penny Serenade (1941)
Christmas is a troubling season for a struggling couple played by Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in this classic tearjerker.

Meet Me In St Louis (1944)
Judy Garland’s moving rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas makes such an impact that this mostly non-holiday movie is still satisfying Christmas viewing.

Check out part two: more fine holiday movies from the forties (I promise they will be happier than this bunch)

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2 comments:

Page said...

A great list! I've never liked Penny Serenade for some strange reason even though Cary Grant is my favorite actor and he can do no wrong. Perhaps it was the sad tone of the movie.
Happy Holidays, I can't wait for Part 2.
Page

KC said...

I always like seeing Dunne and Grant together, but Penny Serenade is my least favorite of their pairings. I think it was a wee too much melodrama for me.

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