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Classically Speaking:
Promoting Classic Movies in a Jaded World!

Friday, December 08, 2017


Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)


Our twelve days of Christmas run from December 14th through December 25th and it wouldn't feel like Christmas without our viewing our favorite family Christmas films. We like both the live-action films and the animated made-for-TV specials. Listed here are my family's traditional Christmas staples.

The First Day of Christmas: December 14

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
This is my favorite of all the Rankin-Bass animated specials. It was my first and I love every character in it. Whenever I see stuffed animals, plastic figurines, or Hallmark ornaments of these characters, I have to hold them in my hands.  I love the film's Burl Ives music.  I love stop animation. I just love that film.

Star in the Night (1945)
This lovely short film is only 22 minutes long. It's one of the special features on the Christmas in Connecticut DVD I own. It's just the thing to put those loving feelings back into my heart on a bad day.

A Season for Miracles (1999)
In this delightful "Hallmark Hall of Fame" Film, Patty Duke plays an angel. It's a great story of compassionate service. I'm a sucker for films about people helping other people.  Although, I like most Hallmark Hall of Fame films, this one truly is my all-time favorite.  It's a wonderful family movie, too, which I'm also a sucker for.   I guess I'd better mention that it's a wonderful romance, too
Yes, I'm a sucker for those, too.

The Second Day of Christmas: December 15

Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)
This is a comical, yet heart-warming, look at the Dicken's classic. Mickey plays Bob Cratchet, Minnie is his wife and Donald Duck plays Scrooge's nephew. The character Scrooge MacDuck was born in this family favorite.  I loved seeing this short film every year as a kid.  It made me love all the Disney characters in it.

A Child's Christmas in Wales (1987)
This lovely film is one that I can't praise highly enough. With all the ugliness in the world and so many producers wanting to capitalize on that, it's encouraging to see a film that shows only the happy side of life. This film makes me feel good from beginning to end.  It's just beautiful.

Little Women (1994)
As far as I know, no one has ever made a bad version of Little Women. Each year, I watch either the 1933, 1949 or 1994 version. Each has something very special and unique that the others don't. Little Women isn't technically a Christmas film, however a large portion of the story does take place at Christmastime.

The Third Day of Christmas: December 16

The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (1971)
I was eleven years old when this film first aired on television. Out of it came "The Waltons" TV series, which aired from 1972-1981. I watched it, as did many of my friends, every Thursday at 8:00 P.M. without fail. The Waltons were very real to me. They were the family I wished was my very own. This film was the first to inspire me to read the book that preceeded it. Watching this film reminds me that Christmas is about family. Seeing this large family with so much love for each other makes me feel warm all over.

The Santa Clause (1994)
I like this Disney film, because it takes a average guy, makes him Santa Claus, and throws his life upside down. It's wonderful to go behind-the-scenes and witness the secret work done at the North Pole. The film is also about strengthening a father and son relationship.

The Fourth Day of Christmas: December 17

Holiday (1938)
This is not typically a Christmas film, but the story does take place at Christmastime and goes through New Year's. I like seeing deserving people get what they want for Christmas.

White Christmas (1954)
Two films showcased the tune "White Christmas", this one and Holiday Inn. They have similar stories, but I like this one more. Maybe, it's because I saw it first. Maybe it's the wonderful cast. I especially love the "Sisters" number, especially when it is performed the second time. I thought White Christmas suited the tune more, than Holiday Inn.

The Fifth Day of Christmas: December 18

A Christmas Story (1983)
This is a comedy, from a little boy's perspective, about Christmastime in Indiana in the 1940s. It's both funny and endearing. It shows both the kind side and seedy side of Christmas.

Ma and Pa Kettle at Home (1954)
Of all the "Ma and Pa Kettle" pictures, this one is my favorite. I love that Ma and Pa and their fourteen (uh, fifteen) kids teach their neighbors the true meaning of Christmas.

The Sixth Day of Christmas: December 19

Christmas Every Day (1996)
If you have ever seen Groundhog Day, you'll understand what I mean when I say this film has a Groundhog Day theme. Its story is one teenager's perspective of what it would be like to live the same Christmas day over and over until he finally grasps the true meaning of Christmas. This made-for-TV movie is both funny and endearing.

Borrowed Hearts (1997)

Roma Downey from the "Touched By An Angel" TV series stars in this one. It's a nice love story. I like watching love stories at Christmastime. Everyone needs someone to love. Love is the best Christmas present.

The Seventh Day of Christmas: December 20

Frosty the Snowman (1969)
It just isn't Christmas without seeing Frosty and singing his song. Each year, I have to see every kid's favorite part of this animated TV special. It's when the policeman swallows his whistle, because he does a double take, realizing that a snowman came to life.

A Christmas Carol (1938)
I like this particular version of A Christmas Carol for the ending. It was the first one I watched on television and I never forgot this particular Scrooge (played by Reginald Owen) who was so happy to realize he hadn't missed Christmas. It warms my heart every time I see it. I also love the Alastair Sim 1951 remake called Scrooge. Both are great in their own ways.

The Eighth Day of Christmas: December 21

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (1970)
I loved this animated TV special so much as a kid that I never missed it when it aired each year. It was the real story of Santa Claus, as I hoped it was, and had a love story in it to boot.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
This is the film that made me believe there truly was a Santa Claus and that miracles do happen. There are so many lovely moments in this film that I can't feel anything but happy inside. I especially love the exchanges between Kris Kringle and a little girl named Susan Walker who doesn't believe in Santa Claus. I've seen remakes of this film and they are good too, but this one is the best. My favorite scene of all is between Santa Claus and a little dutch girl who comes to see him at the department store.

The Ninth Day of Christmas: December 22

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
There are a lot of special moments in this film. My favorite character is Max the dog.

Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
Like Holiday Affair, this film was also remade into a terrible movie directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Make sure you see the 1945 version. Every time, I see this film, I wish I lived in Connecticut. I wish I had the job, the farm, and the friends. It's a wonderful movie.

The Tenth Day of Christmas: December 23

The Snowman (1982)
This is a beautiful silent cartoon. It is so beautifully illustrated that it warms my heart each time I see it, despite its sad ending. Like Frosty, it's about a snowman who comes to life.

The Bishop's Wife (1947)
There's no way I could ever pick solely one Cary Grant film as my favorite, but this one ranks up at the top of my list. It's because of this film, I created the family tradition of hanging a stocking up for Jesus. You'll have to see the film to understand why. It's a beautiful movie. Cary Grant plays an angel. The film was remade as The Preacher's Wife, but its cast didn't come close to capturing the magic of the original. The Bishop's Wife has Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven, Monty Woolley and James Gleason.

The Eleventh Day of Christmas: December 24

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
I'm partial to this one, because I lived near the creators of this film. Vince Giraldi (the composer of the Charlie Brown theme) was my neighbor. I often heard him playing his piano, when I was playing outside. I went to elementary school with Todd Barbee, the voice of Charlie Brown. I ice skated at Charles Shultz's ice rink, and although I never personally met Mr. Shultz, I sure knew a lot about him.  The film itself is one of the few mainstream animated films, made for children, that teaches the true meaning of Christmas.  I love seeing Linus tell of the birth of Jesus.   We can't find films like this made any more than we can hear Christ-centered Christmas music in stores in December.

Holiday Affair (1949)
This is a film that I talk about a lot. I wanted it to come to DVD more than any other film. It's a movie that I'll watch any time of the year. The year I gave the remake a try, I ran away in horror. All the sentiment, tenderness, and wholesomeness had been stripped from it. One of things I love most about this film is seeing a real choice being made by a woman between two men. So many films today make the choice for the audience. The man being dumped isn't someone we'd choose in the first place. He's usually a cheat, dishonest or boring. So, there's no real choice to make. This film shows you two wonderful men. So, there's a real dilemma.

The Twelfth Day of Christmas: December 25

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Believe it or not, as a teenager, I saw the remake of this film first.  It was the female version of this film starring Marlo Thomas, called It Happened One Christmas. That remake had a profound effect on me. When I raved about the story to friends and family, they all said, "Oh, just like It's a Wonderful Life." Not having seen that film, I had no idea what they were talking about.  When I finally saw it, I was amazed how much better it was than the Marlo Thomas vehicle. I also loved having a longer version of the same story. It's a Wonderful Life is one of those films that when I run across it channel flipping, I stop everything to watch it from whatever point to the end. It never gets old. It's a beautiful film about every life being of value, even when one thinks he or she hasn't contributed a whole heck of a lot.

I hope you'll join me in the twelve days of Christmas this year and watch your favorite Christmas films, and maybe you'll even try some of mine.

Happy Christmas!

Classic Liz

*Contributed by: "Elizabeth Van Cleve Randolph" Date: Mon, Sept 12 2005 / 10:32:56 PST


  • "The Homecoming" with the Waltons is one my family never misses. We too, never missed an episode. Great list; especially enjoy Wonderful Life and Miracle.

    By Blogger ArlenRay, at Tue Sep 13, 03:41:00 AM PDT  

  • I really enjoy "Christmas in Connecticut." Can't wait until it comes out in DVD. If I remember right, that is this November - just in time for Christmas!!!

    By Blogger Melissa Marsh, at Tue Sep 13, 08:55:00 AM PDT  

  • November 8, 2005 is the date Amazon.com stated. I have already pre-ordered it through deepdiscountdvd.com along with A Child's Christmas in Wales. I darn near cried when I discovered both of them will come to DVD this November. I have waited years for this. The other is scheduled for November 1, 2005. Wahoo! One day, I'll have all my Christmas favorites on DVD.

    By Anonymous Elizabeth Van Cleve, at Tue Sep 13, 09:16:00 AM PDT  

  • Arlen:
    It's nice to hear you also loved "The Waltons". I think many fans of "The Waltons" went on to become writers. I loved listening to John Boy's writing at the opening and closing of each show. It was a wonderful family show. Someday, I'll add it to my DVD collection. It's part of my (as the TVLAND channel states) television heritage.

    By Anonymous Elizabeth Van Cleve, at Tue Sep 13, 09:22:00 AM PDT  

  • I'm heading over to deepdiscountedDVD right now! Thanks for the suggestion. :-)

    By Blogger Melissa Marsh, at Tue Sep 13, 09:27:00 AM PDT  

  • I agree the Snowman is wonderful and it is a classic British film that is shown every year on the tv at xmas time. The music and song "Walking In The Air" is really lovely. The boy who sang it Aled Jones who is now in his 30's still sings classical songs today. Last year he was a contestant on "Strictly Come Dancing" where he finished 4th.

    By Anonymous NINAM, at Wed Dec 07, 07:55:00 AM PST  

  • Our lists are so much alike, that you can be sure if I see the ones I haven't seen before playing I will definately stop and watch. There is a movie, I know I mentioned before, but Liz if you get a chance to see it watch "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" with Mickey Rooney. It's a sentimental movie about a Grandfather wanting to show his grandson NYC at Christmas time. I'm sure you'll like it.

    By Anonymous diane (mdmt11), at Wed Dec 07, 07:22:00 PM PST  

  • Nina:
    I thought that was a lovely song, too. That's one of the things that makes that animated feature so lovely. It runs like a lovely silent film with this beautiful musical soundtrack. I showed the film to my husband for the first time and he loved it. That is, up until the end. He hated the ending. It was too sad. Somehow, the end makes sense to me. It's all beautiful and will always be one of my favorite Christmas films.

    By Anonymous Elizabeth Van Cleve, at Thu Dec 08, 06:37:00 AM PST  

  • Diane:
    I'll be on the look out for that one. It's a made for TV movie and is not yet out on DVD or VHS. When it comes up for sale, I'll be there. It sounds wonderful. Thanks for the tip.

    By Anonymous Elizabeth Van Cleve, at Thu Dec 08, 06:45:00 AM PST  

  • I watched Rudolph the other night, complete with the dentist. It really cracked me up. I remember that from 41 years ago, seeing it for the first time. I watched it with my daughter, who is now 20, and who has watched it all of her life. Thanks for the memory.

    By Blogger Arlen Crawford, at Thu Dec 08, 03:27:00 PM PST  

  • So so so glad you got it's a wonderful life in.. I was beginning to worry. I cry every time.

    But don't you think Disney's Christmas Carol aslso deserves a look in?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Dec 14, 12:28:00 PM PST  

  • Yes, I agree Mickey's Christmas Carol is also a Christmas staple. It is now added to our list.

    By Anonymous Elizabeth Van Cleve, at Thu Dec 15, 12:10:00 PM PST