BreakingModern — Amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s important to take some time to kick back and relax. What better way to remember the beauty of the season than with one of these Christmas classics available on DVD.
Holiday Inn (1942)
Starring: Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds and Virginia Dale.
Fun Fact: Until 1997, the single for “White Christmas” was the best-selling music single ever.
Jim Hardy (Crosby) and Ted Hanover (Astaire) have been vaudeville partners for many years when Ted runs off with Jim’s girlfriend, Lila (Dale). Jim retires to a farmhouse in New England and decides to open the barn as an inn on holidays. Things are going well when Ted shows up and sets his sights on Jim’s new love interest, the beautiful Linda Mason (Reynolds). Holiday Inn features the music of Irving Berlin, including the premiere of the Oscar-winning “White Christmas.”
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Starring: James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, Henry Travers, Donna Reed and Beulah Bondi.
Fun Fact: Though originally a flop when it played in theaters in 1946, the film was ranked as the No. 1 Most Powerful Movie of All Time by the American Film Institute in 2006.
George Bailey (Stewart) has always longed to travel the world, but instead has spent his life working to prevent the awful Mr. Potter (Barrymore) from buying up the whole town. A series of unfortunate events lead George to wonder if the world might be a better place without him in it. Told primarily in a series of flashbacks as George’s life is explained to an angel named Clarence (Travers), It’s a Wonderful Life has emerged as a Christmas classic.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Starring: Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Wood and John Payne.
Fun Fact: The scenes of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the movie are actual shots from the 1946 parade. Since retakes were not an option, the producers had cameras positioned in several places along the parade route, including 34th Street at 7th Avenue.
The Macy’s Department Store Santa, Kris Kringle (Gwenn), is a sensation but the special events director Doris Walker (O’Hara) has some misgivings when he claims to be the actual Santa Claus. Though her daughter, Susan (Wood), has been trained to be especially cynical, even she begins to notice something special about Kris. Following a conflict with a cruel psychologist and a commitment in a mental institution, Kris’ friends must pull together to prove his innocence.
White Christmas (1954)
Starring: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen.
Fun Fact: Vera-Ellen did not sing any of the songs for the movie. Her parts were primarily voiced by Trudy Stevens, except for the song “Sisters” which Clooney sang with her real-life sister, Betty.
After the war, two soldiers, Bob Wallace (Crosby) and Phil Davis (Kaye) become a successful song-and-dance team, and eventually Broadway producers. Bob and Phil meet up with a sister act, Betty (Clooney) and Judy (Vera-Ellen) and together they stage a production to help save a beleaguered Inn in Vermont. White Christmas features the music of Irving Berlin including the title track “White Christmas,” and the Oscar-nominated “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep.”
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
Featuring: Burl Ives, Billie Mae Richards, Paul Soles and Larry Mann.
Fun Fact: The reindeer named Rudolph was actually created in 1939 as part of an advertising campaign for a department store.
Sam the snowman (Ives) tells the story of a misfit reindeer named Rudolph (Richards) who teams up with an elf named Hermey (Soles) as they both try to escape a life of misery at the North Pole. Their adventures take them to meet a prospector named Yukon Cornelius (Mann), the Abominable Snowman and an entire island of misfit toys. Rudolph’s value is finally realized when Santa needs a reindeer who can light the way on a foggy Christmas night, and in the end, all the misfits are finally appreciated.
Holiday Inn, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street and White Christmas are available on Amazon Instant Video. White Christmas is also available for streaming on Netflix.
For BMod, I’m Becket Morgan.
All screenshots: Becket Morgan
Featured/Header image: “Christmas Bokeh” by Colby Stopa via Flickr Creative Commons