I have a confession to make and that is I have already started watching Christmas films! I am usually quite good and do not watch them until at least the start of September and then the odd film starts to creep in. There are some films in which Christmas just plays a very minor part and there are others that are full on tinsel and holly. Speaking of Holly, have you noticed how almost every female lead in the CBS Christmas movies is called Holly and the male is called Nick? However it does not matter when they all have the same actors and follow the same storyline, just in a different setting. Mind you I still watch all those as well and that is how I know!!
As I watch so many I thought I would do a round up of some of the musical films I have enjoyed and no better place to start than, in my eyes, the King of Christmas, Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby was in two huge Christmas classics and in both he sang ‘White Christmas’. He introduced the song in ‘Holiday Inn’ from 1942 not only starring Bing Crosby but Fred Astaire ,singing and dancing to Irving Berlin’s soundtrack. The musical is set in a hotel that celebrates all the holiday dates throughout the year. Similar in a way to Bing’s second film from 1954 and my absolute favourite, ‘White Christmas’. This time Bing is paired up with the wonderful Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen. The end scene when the barn is opened up to reveal the Christmas scene is just breath takingly festive. The songs throughout the movie are just fabulous and I would love to see the musical performed live in the theatre. I know Lorna Luft has performed many times as Martha Watson on stage.
‘Meet Me In St Louis’ is another film that travels throughout the seasons of the year. This film was made in 1944, directed by Vincente Minnelli and staring Judy Garland. It is another feast of glorious technicolour, costumes and songs. It is another film that produced a classic Christmas song. This time it was Judy Garland singing ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ to her young sister Tootie, portrayed by Margaret O’Brien
Not so much Christmas but one that fits in here because it is based on Cinderella and that is a pantomime performed at Christmas ‘The Slipper And The Rose’. It stars Richard Chamberlain and Gemma Craven The film from 1976 has some great catchy songs and credit must go to the costume department. They are typical of the ideal of Cinderella. it also stars the screen idol Margaret Lockwood as the Wicked Stepmother. A feast for the eyes and just perfect for Christmas time.
‘Scrooge’ the 1970’s film based on the classic story by Charles Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ stars Albert Finney The one song that sticks in my mind from this film is the show stopper ‘Thank You Very Much’. The Christmas Carol has been used many times in various guises in Christmas films including another favourite ‘ The Muppets Christmas Carol’ from 1992. I love the Muppets and if you have not watched their films, thinking they are too childish then you really should give them a go. They are very clever, full of jokes and fun and crammed full of songs. Michael Caine is fabulous portraying Scrooge along side Kermit the frog playing Bob Crachit. Definitely one to look out for if you have not before or maybe one to rediscover.
Other musical films, that I can think of, that mention Christmas are : On Moonlight Bay, Mame, In The Good Old Summer Time, Frozen, Nightmare Before Christmas, Mary Poppins Returns and The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas.
I am sure there are many, many more that I have missed. I would love to hear your views on what you consider constitutes a Christmas film. Does it have to be about Christmas or can it just be set at Christmas time of year? Or may be it is just that it is your tradition to watch a certain film at Christmas time. I would love to know.
Sparkle Hugs and Glitter Kisses xxx
All photographs, unless stated, are the copyright of Lorna Liza