There are many holiday traditions we look forward to each year. Many of these have to do with watching our favorite Christmas movies. Obviously, The Citizen Kane of Christmas cinema is. It’s A Wonderful Life. Yes, you can watch it every year, but taking a break and coming back is also a good way to go. Next time you watch, consider that the winter scenes were shot in the middle of July in sunny California. Along with IAWL, this season you probably watch at least one version of A Christmas Carol (better be Scrooged!), one Grinch, one Charlie Brown and one Home Alone. Perhaps it is time to expand your Christmas movie repertoire. Here then are some of the best Christmas movies you’ve never seen:
Remember The Night/The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek/Christmas In July
Consider this a yuletide Preston Sturges trifecta. Never heard of Preston Sturges? He was a sharp-witted writer and director who gave us some of the most biting and funny farces of the 40s. With these three outings, you’ll be treated to performances by Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Betty Hutton, Eddie Bracken, Dick Powell and all that great Sturges writing. Sidebar: When watching The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, remember this film was made in 1944. Shocking. Second sidebar: As long as you’re watching Preston Sturges, make sure you get Sullivan’s Travels and The Lady Eve. They’re not Christmas theme but worth a viewing.
The Family Stone
This 2008 release sports a stellar cast, smart writing, and plenty of family dysfunction. What more could you want in a holiday movie? In the end, it’s all about a family doing what a family does best: sticking together when no matter what life throws at them.
March Of The Wooden Soldiers
This is from the “way back” file. It’s Laurel and Hardy in a comedy take on the kiddy classic Babes In Toyland. If you love Stan and Ollie, then you already know about this one. If this is your first introduction to the boys, then watch how quickly you’ll go in search of more Laurel and Hardy comedies. That would be an amazing cinematic treasure hunt.
Santa Claus Conquers The Martians
You’ve probably heard of this stinker, but have you ever actually watched the movie? It truly is dreadful in a funny kind of way. This is the perfect movie to slip in to play in the background of your Christmas party. It’s also a great “palate cleanser” between all the traditional Christmas movies. One viewing will have you appreciating the classics all over again.
Honorable mentions go to A Midnight Clear, Mixed Nuts and The Shop Around The Corner. Plus don’t forget Die Hard I & II both take place at Christmas. Yippee-ki-yay! What is your favorite Christmas movie?