Showing posts with label Christmas classics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas classics. Show all posts

Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas in Connecticut Movie Review

http://www.reviewthisreviews.com/2016/12/christmas-in-connecticut-movie-review.html
Last week I reviewed a fabulous contemporary romantic Christmas movie, The Spirit of Christmas. This week I am shifting the focus back to an old holiday classic.  Christmas in Connecticut may be over 70 years old, but it is far from outdated.  It is simply a fun movie about a woman who gets caught in her deceptions and tries desperately to cover her tracks, and keep her job!

Barbara Stanwyck takes the lead role as Elizabeth Lane in this Christmas romantic comedy and Dennis Morgan plays the part of the unsuspecting soldier who joins her "family" for Christmas.
 
For some of you it may matter that this movie is in black and white. It has not been colorized like some of the old classics.  For me, I enjoy the step back into a simpler time and a movie that stands on it's own as pure entertainment.



Synopsis of the Christmas in Connecticut Movie Plot


Elizabeth Lane is an extremely popular journalist who claims to be a fabulous cook, a wife, a mother, and the ideal homemaker.  She is able to write well enough that no one even suspects she is unmarried and completely clueless about preparing food.  Even the publisher has no idea she is a fraud. 

 Christmas in Connecticut (BD) [Blu-ray]The story takes place during WWII.  Jefferson Jones is one of two survivors when his naval warship was torpedoed by a German submarine.  He and his fellow survivor spent 18 days in a raft on the ocean.   Needless to say, they were literally starving and Jefferson dreamed of a fabulous meal anytime he slept.  When they were finally rescued and hospitalized, Jefferson could not eat solid food and was placed on a milk diet.  He continued to crave a real meal.  He was so desperate to eat, that he even proposed to one of the nurses so she would take sympathy on him and bring him food.

After 6 weeks in the hospital, and many meals, he was no longer anxious to get married.  The nurse thought that if he simply experienced a home for Christmas and observed how wonderful it could be to have a wife, that surely he would follow through and marry her.  She wrote Alexander Yardley, the publisher of the magazine that employed Elizabeth Lane.  She requested that they extend an invitation for Christmas to this soldier who had been through such an ordeal and had no where to go for the holidays.  In response to the letter, Mr. Yardley insisted that Elizabeth Lane and her family include Mr. Jones in their Christmas celebration.  No only that, Mr. Yardley invites himself to come spend a few days with them for Christmas too.

That is where the fun begins!  Elizabeth must find a farm, a husband, a child and learn to cook outstanding meals in a few short days before Mr. Jones and Mr. Yardley show up to join her and her family for a Christmas in Connecticut. 

http://www.reviewthisreviews.com/2016/12/christmas-in-connecticut-movie-review.html


Christmas in Connecticut Trailer


This is an old Hallmark channel trailer.   I did check the Hallmark channel schedule for showtimes.  At the time of publishing, Christmas in Connecticut was not on this seasons schedule.   However, you can continue to check it here:








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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Miracle on 34th Street Movie Review

I've never doubted that Santa Claus is real, possibly because when I was a little girl I watched the movie Miracle on 34th Street. Here's my movie review.

Classic Movie Proves Santa Claus is Real


I've never doubted that Santa Claus is real, possibly because many years ago when I was little I watched the movie Miracle on 34th Street. In the movie, proof is offered - and upheld in a court of law - that indeed, Kris Kringle does exist and he is Santa Claus!

Oh, I get excited writing those words and just thinking of the movie that I watch at least once a year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love this movie and absolutely adore the characters. And of course the outcome, while maybe somewhat predictable, is exactly the way I would have written it.




In case you're not familiar with the story, Miracle on 34th Street stars a very young Natalie Wood as Susan, a little girl who believes that Santa Claus isn't real because her very well-meaning but pragmatic mother told her so. The movie opens as Susan's mother (played by Maureen O'Hara), who works at Macy's, due to an unfortunate set of circumstances must enlist the help of a very Santa-looking gentleman to portray Santa Claus on the store's float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. This last-minute Santa, who goes by the name of Kris Kringle, does such a perfect job and goes over so well with the crowd that Macy's hires him to work as Santa during the Christmas shopping season.

As more circumstances unfold (I don't want to reveal too much information) Kris Kringle's true identity is questioned. Susan's new friends, Kris and an attorney neighbor (John Payne), give the little girl reason to question her mother's claim that there's no such thing as Santa Claus. In the end, the truth is played out in an unforgettable courtroom scene and Kris Kringle's true identity is confirmed.

While the movie credits claim that Edmund Gwenn plays Santa aka Kris in the movie, I have to believe that the real Santa Claus was certainly on the scene as coach and wardrobe consultant as no one could have done a better job in that role.

Black and White or Colorized Miracle on 34th Street? Old Version or New?


Personally, I prefer the original black and white version of the movie. Happily, the DVD package linked above includes one disc with B&W, another with color along with other special features.

I also absolutely recommend the original 1947 version with Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn. I've watched the 1994 version and was very disappointed in the changes, particularly omissions, made from the original. The original movie is upbeat and magical; the new one is totally uninspired and uninspiring.

Watch this trailer (the short version) to get a good flavor for the classic (colorized) Miracle on 34th Street.




The clip below is one of my favorite scenes in the movie, one that brings a tear to my eye every time I watch it. In it, Santa's interaction with a little Dutch girl causes Susan to start questioning her belief that Santa isn't real.




Is Santa Claus real? You know what I believe. How about you? If you're not sure, then you probably should watch the movie and review the legal facts for yourself. The link takes you to the DVD version as well as a rental option so you can stream and watch the movie right this minute!


~ Susan

P.S. This ornament features a Kris Kringle Quote from Miracle on 34th Street.
You might have heard it in the trailer above.







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Friday, December 4, 2015

A Charlie Brown Christmas Movie Review

http://reviewthispersonalreviews.blogspot.com/The Christmas Classic Movie

I feel as if I have always known Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the entire Peanuts gang.  They were not only a part of my own childhood years, but they were a part of my husband's childhood.  Of course,  we introduced them to our children when they were little too.  Therefore, our household has literally had decades of being entertained, and multiple generations taught, by the magnificent Charles Schulz characters.

In 1965, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" made it's debut on television.   It is one of the Christmas classics that I must watch every year.  I even find myself singing or humming "Christmastime is Here" while I am cooking or decorating our tree.

The Peanuts gang is an entertaining group for every age and every member of the family.  Watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas" together is a wonderful family tradition.

Each year, my heart is touched by the message shared in this Christmas classic to such a degree that anyone watching me would think I had never seen the show before.



A Charlie Brown Christmas Ice Skating Party

The opening scenes of everyone ice skating are beautiful with the snow falling and the loving sense of happiness.  The theme song softly plays in the background.  As I mentioned earlier, it is such a simple melody, that it often plays in my mind throughout the Christmas holiday.

While they are walking to the ice, Charlie Brown is telling Linus about his general depression surrounding the holidays and his own lack of understanding for his absence of excitement and enthusiasm.    
(You can view that in the video scene below)



Did You Know? 

When A Charlie Brown Christmas was made, the producers broke a lot of unwritten rules. 

* No canned laughter was inserted 
* References to the Bible were used to reinforce the true meaning of the season 
* Real children did the voices of the gang instead of adults talking like children 




Setting the Stage for "A Charlie Brown Christmas"


Moving past the tranquil opening scenes, we find Charlie Brown seeking advice from Lucy about his holiday depression.  Lucy takes her station in the lemonade stand as a Psychiatrist to help Charlie Brown determine why he is depressed.  In an effort to help, she appoints him as the Christmas play director.

Meanwhile, the beloved beagle, Snoopy, sets out to win a decorating contest by decorating his dog house.  Even though Charlie Brown detests the commercialism of it all, the dog house really is very pretty when it is decorated and later wins 1st place in the competition.


"Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?"
~ Charlie Brown from "A Charlie Brown Christmas"

 

The Christmas Play

When it is announced that Charlie Brown will be the Christmas play director several people, including Snoopy, express disappointment.   Lucy takes over and assigns everyone their parts and the practices begin.  Then, Lucy sends Charlie Brown and Linus to bring back a Christmas Tree for the play.


The Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

It's so sad...


Against Linus' objection, Charlie Brown chooses the Christmas tree that needs him.  Of course, he is laughed at and criticized by his peers when he returns with a real tree instead of a modern aluminum tree.

It is at this point that Linus steals the show with his description of what Christmas is really all about.  His eloquent delivery of the true Christmas story is the reason why this show rates as one of my Christmas favorites.



Heeding Linus' words Charlie Brown determines not to let commercialism ruin his Christmas.  He takes his little tree home to decorate it.  After using one ornament from Snoopy's decorated dog house, the little tree bends under the weight of the ornament. Charlie Brown believes he has killed the little tree and walks away even more depressed than before.


Showing Love 


Again at Linus' suggestion, the gang comes together to show a little love and decorates Charlie Brown's tree.  When Charlie Brown sees what his friends have done for him and for his tree of course, he is overjoyed.  The entire group breaks into song:  "Hark the Herald Angel's Sing".

 A Charlie Brown Christmas (Remastered Deluxe Edition)Check Price

Amazing isn't it?  Charles Schulz was actually allowed to make a Christmas story that tells of Christ's birth and it became a classic.


A Charlie Brown Christmas Movie Review
House of Sylvestermouse



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Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Animated Classics Reviewed

Christmas is almost here! 

A huge part of the excitement of Christmas has always been the days leading up to Christmas when we sit and watch our favorite Christmas Animated Classics together as a family. 

In our household, we each have a different "favorite", but truth be told, we love them all. Watching the annual Christmas shows is part of our Christmas family tradition. We haven't always been able to be together when they aired on tv, but with a little help from vhs and dvd, we have that covered now. 


 
 

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer 


 Rudolph The Red Nosed ReindeerCheck PriceAs we decorated the Christmas tree this year, I found myself singing "we're on the island of Misfit Toys, here we don't want to stay". Why that particular song came to mind while hanging ornaments on the tree is absolutely beyond me. I can only assume one of the ornaments triggered some unconscious thought about toys. The song itself is a bit melancholy for the joyous occasion of tree decorating, especially since both of my children were helping me decorate. 

From the book to the movie, the animated classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer has been a personal favorite. Normally, I prefer a book, but in the case of Rudolph, I actually prefer the movie. As a child, I adored Burl Ives. I would know that voice anywhere! I suspect that has a lot to do with why that particular show was my favorite of the Christmas animated classics. Besides, who wouldn't love a snowman who comes to life and scoots across the snow just to tell us a wonderful Christmas story about a red nosed reindeer?!! 

The music from "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" is truly fabulous and easy enough for a child to learn, especially if they watch the movie several times each year, year after year. Rudolph may be the main character, but he is definitely not the only memorable animal in the show. Clarice wins everyone's heart when she serenades Rudolph with "There's Always Tomorrow", plus her back-up singers are adorable! 




How The Grinch Stole Christmas 


 Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Deluxe Edition)Check PriceLet me start by saying, Dr. Seuss is fabulous!   His books have always been a huge hit with children and parents alike.  When you couple his genius with animated television, you are bound to have a major hit.

Here we are, almost 50 years later, and Dr. Seuss's Grinch on tv is still entertaining us each year.  The fun part of animation is the suspension of reality.  When the Grinch is able to gather up all of the Christmas decorations, gifts, and food from Whoville, then cram it all into bags loaded on a sleigh, we truly see animation at it's best.  

The really cool thing about this show is that in less than 30 minutes, we go from detesting the "foul one" to loving him and perhaps even feeling sorry for him.  




A Charlie Brown Christmas


 Charlie Brown Christmas 50th Anniversary, A: Deluxe EditionCheck PriceChristmas would not be complete with Charles M. Schulz and his Peanuts gang.  Watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is always a fun family activity, but it is also a reminder to remember what Christmas really is all about and to reject, or at least resist, the commercialism that is always so rampant this time of year.  To read the complete review of "A Charlie Brown Christmas", join me by clicking here.

Snoopy is most often the Peanuts favorite, but I do think Linus stole the show here. 



                                     


Now please tell us, what is your favorite Christmas animated classic!  







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