I’m sitting here at my home in Tampa, Florida wishing for the holidays to be here. I love all the cheer and joy they bring. I especially wish that it was just a tad colder. It’s 89 with a heat index of 95 and summer showers on the horizon. I love the holiday season with the mistletoe and the decorations all over the town. The children in school are so hyped for winter break. I’m a teacher so let me tell you, they are hyped. I love the change of attitudes from everybody. It really is a fun time of year. So I bring you this day a little holiday cheer with three movie reviews of holiday films that I truly enjoy, ‘Its a Wonderful Life’, ‘Scrooge’ (1935), and ‘The Santa Clause’. These three films always bring to my little heart that extra jolt of joy and a tear to my eye. So here’s to the dreams of sugar plums dancing in our heads for its only a short six months till Christmas. Merry Christmas in July. Enjoy.
‘It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)’ – George Bailey (James Stewart) is going to have a day to remember. He is going to face life at it’s very core. George Bailey has always lived for others. The place where he works is the Building and Loan that he basically inherited from his father Peter Bailey (Samuel S. Hinds). They try and build modest homes for modest people. They are not the Ritz but they are comfortable. The competition is Henry F. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) a person who for years has been trying to put Bailey’s out of business.
George grew up in Bedford Falls. A nice small community where everyone knows your name. He had his friends as he grew up Mary Hatch (Donna Reed), Sam Wainwright (Frank Albertson), and his brother Harry (Todd Karns) just to name a few. Mary and Sam went off to college but George stayed and helped his dad. When he was going to leave to go to college his father died. The next time he was to go off to school his brother Harry went instead.
George has pretty much worked all his life. As a youngster he worked for Mr. Gower (H.B.Warner) at the local five and dime. George is now running the Baily Building and Loan with his Uncle Billy (Thomas Mitchell), a nice man but very forgetful. George is now married to Mary and has some children. His mother Ma Baily (Beulah Bondi) is still alive and doing well.
As I started this story, George is going to have one bad day. His Uncle Billy has lost some money, okay, a lot of money. He and his friends Ernie Bishop (Frank Faylen) and Bert (Ward Bond) have also tried to locate the money. They can’t find it and George is becoming desperate. So bad he wants to commit suicide so his wife can pay off the debts by using an insurance policy. George even goes as far as to jumps into the freezing river. His guardian angel Clarence (Henry Travers) saves him from the water but can he save his life and soul.
Director Frank Capra has brought us probably the best Christmas movie that ever lived. We can see ourselves in George and we can feel his pain. The fact that all this is taking place at Christmas hits home very well. Christmas for some can be a devastating time. It can be very emotional and with this movie we are able to ease the pain so to speak. If you do anything this Christmas and you never have seen this movie, see it. If you know the story see it again. When your done you will feel the spirit of Christmas in your heart and soul.
‘Scrooge’ (1935) – In old Victorian England lived a businessman who did not care to celebrate anything that had to do with Christmas. He would walk down the street and someone said Merry Christmas he would snap back and reply ‘Bah Humbug’. Now old Ebeneezer Scrooge (Seymour Hicks) was not a rich man but he was not poor either. It was not that he couldn’t afford to celebrate Christmas, he just didn’t want to.
Now totally opposite was his worker Bob Cratchit (Donald Calthrop), he would celebrate Christmas at the drop of a hat. Now Bob was not a rich man no far from it. He was just inclined to celebrate the Holiday the best he could and by God he would enjoy it.
Now Scrooge had a nephew by the name of Fred (Robert Cochran). Fred each year would come by the shop and ask his Uncle to come and celebrate Christmas with him and his family. Each year Scrooge would say no and dismiss his nephew with a ‘Bah Humbug’.
Now this year is going to be different. For you see Scrooge is going to see three spirits. The Ghosts of Christmas Past (Oscar Asche) and Christmas Present (Marie Ney) and Christmas Future (C.V. France) would come through the night to visit Scrooge. Their job is to try and persuade Scrooge to like and celebrate Christmas. It will be up to you to take the time and see if Old Scrooge gets what’s coming to him.
Director Henry Edwards brings this lively tale of miserly charm to the screen for us. He shows us all that it is not for the want of gifts or money that we should celebrate Christmas but for the love of pour fellow man. He turns a cold heart to a warm soul and makes us feel the warmth of the Holiday in our heart. Enjoy.
‘The Santa Clause’ (1994) – Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) is a businessman. He is such a good businessman, he has little time for anything else. As a matter of fact, he was supposed to pick up his son for the Holiday but was too busy. So his ex-wife Laura Miller (Wendy Crewson) had to bring his son Charlie (Eric Lloyd) to his house that night. Now Charlie is a good kid and there is no reason why Scott should neglect him other than he just doesn’t want to take the time.
Now the two were to sit down and enjoy a turkey dinner until Scott burned it. So it was off to the local diner to eat a processed turkey dinner. Eh, it’s food sort of. Anyway, later that night when both Scott and Charlie were asleep they heard this thud outside the house. When they go out what do they but Santa Claus and he is not doing so well. Now Santa ask Scott to finish his route. What Scott doesn’t know that if you put the suit on then you become Santa Claus. You see that’s why they call it the The Santa Clause.
Scott and Charlie finish the route and Scott tells the reindeer to go home. They do to the North Pole. When they arrive at the North Pole, they are met by Bernard the Elf (David Krumholtz). Bernard is like the head Elf and he grills Scott about what happened to the old Santa. When Bernard hears the story he informs Scott that he is now the new Santa.
Scott thinks it’s all a big dream until he realizes that things are beginning to change like his body. He is becoming a lot fatter. He is growing a white beard. He is literally looking like Santa himself. Now Charlie had such a wonderful time with his dad he goes home and tells his mom and Neil. Neil (Judge Reinhold) is Dr. Neil Miller a psychiatrist. He things it’s all a figment of Charlies imagination and thinks Scott is nuts.
Director John Pasquin brings us a delightful tale of Christmas literally through a child’s eyes. OK, Scott is the main character but think of it your dad becomes Santa Claus, how cool would that be. Look let your imagination flow and feel the warmth of this popular Christmas movie and by all means have a Merry Christmas.