Christmas · Family · Movies

Our Favorite 1940’s Classic Christmas Movies

Does anyone else find it amazing that all of these wonderful classics were filmed in a single decade? In chronological order:

 The Shop Around the Corner: Made in 1940 and starring a very young Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullivan and the Wizard of Oz. This is a wonderfully sweet romantic comedy with a lot of star power, but the delivery boy Pepi really steals the show.

Holiday Inn: Made in 1942 and starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. While not entirely a Christmas movie, it does contain the song “White Christmas” written by Irving Berlin especially for the film. What’s more Christmassy than that?

Christmas in Connecticut: Again the original from 1945 with Barbara Stanwick, Sidney Greenstreet, and Dennis Morgan, not the crappy 1990’s remake. Elizabeth Lane’s description of that Thanksgiving dinner from her Smart Housekeeping article makes my mouth water every time and the fact that she can’t even boil water is hilarious. The scenes evoke everyone’s idea of a perfect Christmas and it’s a love story as well. What’s better than that?

It’s a Wonderful Life: Made in 1946 and starring Jimmy Stewart. This is one of my husband’s favorite holiday movies, although he preferred it before NBC bought it and it could be seen on nearly every channel at any time of day up until Christmas. George Bailey epitomizes today’s society in that they are always bemoaning what they don’t have and rarely take the time to be grateful for everything they do have. It’s a wonderful message for a holiday film.

Miracle on 34th Street: The original from 1947 with Maureen O’Hara and Natalie Wood, not the remake. This is my all-time favorite Christmas movie and I like to watch it on Thanksgiving Day after watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I love to compare this year’s parade to that one in 1947. And it is the ultimate story in the power of believing in what can’t be proven. It is the perfect kick-off for the holiday season.

It Happened on 5th Avenue: Made in 1947 and starring no one you’ve heard of before or since. This is the heartwarming tale of a loveable hobo with a huge heart who moves into a mansion on 5th Avenue every winter when the family moves south to avoid the New York City weather. And how he ends up sheltering a group of Veterans and their families and unwittingly plays host to the estranged members of the family in whose home he is “squatting”. Somehow it all has a happy ending.

The Bishop’s Wife: Again, the original made in 1947 starring Loretta Young and one of my personal favorite’s, Cary Grant. Who can resist Cary Grant playing an angel and the awesome (ha-ha!) “special effects”? However, the remake starring Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington made in 1996 is not a bad substitute.  

Holiday Affair: Made in 1949 and starring Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh. Who would have thought that the villain from the original Cape Fear and the victim from one of the best psychological thrillers (Psycho) could make such an entertaining romantic couple?


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