Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

Just last week, my wife, two children, and I walked down Main Street in our small town.  Such walks—weaving ’round fire hydrants and passerbies with our bulky double stroller on the narrow sidewalks—have become a favorite pastime of ours since moving to this historic hamlet in western Virginia.   Continue reading

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

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“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?”

There is the learning of Dorothy Gale, one of cinema’s most enduring heroines, as she, with her friends, receives her gift from the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Continue reading

Scrooge (1970)

One of my family’s most treasured Christmas traditions is to watch Ronald Neame’s unique musical interpretation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, named after the story’s main character, Ebenezer Scrooge.  Scrooge is, without question in my mind, the finest adaptation of this famous story ever committed to film.  Some of the more faithful adaptations (like the one starring Patrick Stewart in 1999) reek of Hallmark made-for-TV movies.   Others sacrifice the important emotion for the sake of Christmas commercialism, in what may be the most hypocritical move in the history of the industry.  But Scrooge…Scrooge is the perfect adaptation, integrating enough of its own originality into the purity of Dicken’s novella. Continue reading

Holiday Inn (1942)

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Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were in a lot of movies together, the best of which were Swing Time and Top Hat.  It was on the set of Top Hat that Astaire first heard the melody that would become “White Christmas.”  The tune was hummed to him by one of the great songwriting masters of the 1930s and 1940s, Irving Berlin, who was the chief songwriter for the film.  Astaire was instantly smitten by the melody.  The song, however, didn’t make the final cut for Top Hat. Continue reading