Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas movies

Each year I get a kick out of discovering new (to me) holiday movies or TV shows. In some cases these new additions to my annual viewing are dull, forgettable efforts that I realize I'll never watch a second time but a few of them turn out to be fantastic. This year I added three new films to my list of Christmas time favorites- the 1951 SCROOGE turned out to be just as good as everyone has always claimed it to be. REMEMBER THE NIGHT (1940) was loaned to me by a friend and its tale of an arrested shoplifter's holiday with her prosecuting attorney was completely charming Preston Sturges scripted fun. But the third addition to my December must-see list is one I caught only part of on Christmas morning.

I stayed Christmas Eve at my grandmother's house and on the morning of the 25th I woke up and flipped on Turner Classic Movies. I do this when I visit my Nanny because I don't get the channel at home and I always like to see what's playing on my most wished for cable station. On this day they were playing a movie I had never heard of before called SUSAN SLEPT HERE (1954) and it was clear why. The entire first third of the film takes place on Christmas Eve and Day as 17 year old Susan (Debbie Reynolds) is placed in the reluctant care of Hollywood scriptwriter Mark Christopher (Dick Powell). I'm not sure exactly why this happens because I missed the first few minutes but the cast (which includes Anne Francis and Glenda Farrell) hooked me and the story kept me rooted. It's one hell of a good movie - funny, fast and witty. I'll say it has to be the most charming movie about statutory rape I've ever seen! Don't let that statement put you off. It really is a sweet film and I can't imagine any fan of classic cinema disliking it. I know I plan to watch it again next year. Maybe I'll show it to someone special - just not someone 18 years my junior, I hope!

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