Thinking pop culture

Thinking pop culture

The Christmas Film Recommendables - Part 10

A time-travellin’ nurse, a suicidal bank manager and one helluva dodgy Christmas historian: welcome to Part 10 of my Christmas film recommendations.

46. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Christmas doesn’t actually get mentioned for over an hour, but it’s nonetheless a film that’s shaped our expectations of what the season is like on screen. A relatively enjoyable, highly sentimental film that borrows heavily from A Christmas Carol and gifts much to the decades of festive films since.

Watch anywhere given that it’s out of copyright, but here’s a YouTube version.

(If you’re after a female in the lead, a decent remake was made for television in 1977 with Marlo Thomas at the helm: It Happened One Christmas, which you can also watch online).

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) - trailer.

47. Holiday Affair (1949)

Worth watching almost exclusively because Robert Mitchum as Steve - protagonist Connie’s (Janet Leigh) poverty-stricken, heart-of-gold suitor - is simply swoon-worthy. The 35-year marriage of Connie’s parents is also very sweet and sincere.

A lovely New York Christmas film. Remade in 1996.

Holiday Affair (1949) - trailer.

48. Saving Christmas (2014)

This much-maligned sermon from Kirk Cameron - which doesn’t even get a score of 2/10 on the Internet Movie Database - makes my list purely for it being an entertaining-for-all-the-wrong-reasons example of scary Hillsong-esque, horror-show fundamentalism.

Kirk’s attempt to tie every single aspect of Christmas – Santa and trees and wrapped gifts – to the bible is fascinating in just how fabulously it flies in the face of non-bible-thumpin’ history. And it’s actually quite watchable, albeit perhaps through slightly parted fingers.

Special mention goes to the truly terrifying Christmas hip-hop dance number.

Saving Christmas (2014) - trailer.

49. Journey Back to Christmas (2016)

With the mention of Kirk Cameron, I may as well mention his sister, Candace Cameron Bure too, who actually stars in about a million usually quite decent made-for-TV Christmas films. (Yes, she’s also an holy-roller). In this one, she’s a time-travelling nurse. There’s lots of do-over Christmas films, but not too many time-travel ones, so it’s worth watching for that (although, it’s certainly no Predestination). A nice appearance from Tom Skerritt too.

Presently watchable on YouTube.

Journey Back to Christmas (2016) - trailer.

50. Christmas Eve (1986)

One of those unicorns: a made-for-TV remake that’s actually much, much better than the original. Amanda (Loretta Young) is an eccentric wealthy – and dying - widow trying to, as the genre dictates, get her estranged family back together for one last Christmas. Sentimental but not mawkish. I felt the original - Christmas Eve (1947) - was actually near impossible to watch, but this one is quite delightful.

Watchable online.

Christmas Eve (1986) - network promo.

This post is an instalment from a 15-part series on my favourite Christmas films. The consolidated version - 75 Christmas Films Worth Watching - is now available.