It’s Christmas time! If the snow has not alerted you to that fact, perhaps the TV or Netflix specials have. As you sit down to enjoy Christmas movies with family, here are a few of my favorite old-time films you may not have seen or heard of before. While the films themselves seem pretty obscure today (at least in my generation), two listed below feature the still-famous Christmas songs “White Christmas” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
George Bailey had a myriad of ambitions as a young man: travel the world, go to college, build skyscrapers. Crucially, all these hopes involved leaving Bedford Falls. But when Bailey is forced to take over his father’s business, he watches these opportunities pass him by. As he ages, he feels more and more like a failure. When financial troubles threaten to ruin him, he contemplates suicide. As he is about to jump off a bridge, his guardian angel Clarence comes and shows him what life would have been like if he had never been born. The film stars James Stewart and Donna Reed.
Every winter, Michael J. O’Conner, the second richest man in the world, leaves his New York mansion for his winter home in Virginia. His Fifth Avenue mansion does not stay vacant, however—when O’Conner moves out, homeless Aloysius T. McKeever moves in. This Christmas, McKeever invites war veteran Jim Bullock, who was recently evicted from his apartment, to join him. But the carefree squatters are soon discovered by the unexpected arrival of O’Conner’s daughter, Trudy. A girl troubled by family problems, Trudy conceals her identity and convinces McKeever to let her stay with them. She soon falls in love with Jim and maintains her pauper cover in order to earn his love without her father’s bank account. Together, they learn the importance of family in this romantic comedy starring Victor Moore, Don DeFore, Charles Ruggles, and Gale Storm.
Jim Hardy and Ted Hanover have been partners in a song-and-dance act for years. Jim, who is growing tired of show business, decides to retire to the Connecticut countryside. When he discovers that farm life is not for him, he turns the farm into an inn open only on holidays. He hires Linda Mason, an aspiring singer and dancer. As they work together on the holiday special performances, the two fall in love. But when Jim’s old partner Ted shows up, things get complicated, and Jim must work to keep him away from Linda. Featuring the award-winning original song “White Christmas,” the film stars Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and Marjorie Reynolds.
Ebenezer Scrooge has no time for Christmas. In fact, he does not have much time for anything but work and money. This all changes on Christmas Eve, when he is sent by the ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley, on an adventure through Christmas past, present, and future. This rendition of Charles Dickens’ charge for charity stars Alastair Sim as Scrooge.
This classic tale of family and romance is set in St. Louis on the eve of the 1904 World’s Fair, which was held in the Gateway City. The story centers around the well-off Smith family and their four daughters. The eldest daughter, Rose, wonders how to get her boyfriend to propose, while the second eldest, Esther, falls in love with the boy next door. Featuring the award-winning original song, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” along with other classic songs such as “Meet Me in St. Louis,” and “The Trolley Song,” the film stars Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brian, and Mary Astor.
Merry Christmas and happy watching!
*The views expressed in this article solely represent the views of the author, not the views of the Chicago Thinker.
Ana Wood is a Staff Writer for the Chicago Thinker. She graduated from Academia Los Pinares in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Now a senior at the University of Chicago, she is on the pre-med track and majoring in Russian Studies. Outside of course work, Ana enjoys old books, team sports (basketball and rowing), and well-brewed tea. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org