By Sarah "Dixie" Feldman
would the holidays be without festive lights, bustling shoppers, passive-aggressive
inter-generational dinner discourse, and reliable classics like It's
a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street?
face it, rampant commercialism, crowded malls, family fights and the
same old re-runs lose their appeal after awhile. Here are some often-overlooked
classic holiday gems you can seek out or rent to bring some much needed
variety and solace to the season.
Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)
one of the best family films ever made, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
follows young Francie as she struggles to maintain her idealism while
growing up amidst the poverty and travails of pre-World War I Brooklyn.
Torn between her love for her quixotic alcoholic father and her sternly
pragmatic mother, Francie navigates early 20th century urban life
and a cast of characters that are resonant even a century later. Though
there's plenty of comedic touches (Aunt Cissy, shall we say, really
likes men) thee film is one of the most poignant and touching you'll
find. The scenes at Christmas offer a glimpse into what the holiday
was like and how much it meant to pre-modern America.
Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)
Davis is completely overshadowed by the hilarious performance of Monty
Woolley in this genuinely funny comedy about a cranky (I'd say bitchy)
New York critic who turns a midwestern house upside down when he's
injured and forced to convalesce there for the holidays. You won't
find a better mix of laughs and Christmas ambiance in any other film!
the Night (1940)
romantic comedy about the tentative courtship between a beautiful
shoplifter and the prosecutor trying to put her in the hoosgow
just not during Christmas is a wonderful holiday gem. Starring
tough yet tender Fred MacMurray and streetwise yet fragile Barbara
Stanwyck, this Preston Sturges-penned jewel has enough zany elements
and dark undertones to make this what some consider to be a
noir screwball comedy.
Bishop's Wife (1947)
I could believe angels really looked and talked like Cary Grant I
might throw myself under a bus this minute. But I'd rather sit back
and watch this charming movie about faith, magic and a dose of seraphic
sexual tension. Also starring David Niven (as the bishop) and Loretta
Young (as the wife), The Bishop's Wife has angel Cary rejuvenating
their faith (and marriage). There's no need to settle for the Whitney
Houston remake, The Preacher's Wife when the original is so
wonderful -- and accessible through the year-round miracle of videotape!
article originally appeared on www.oxygen.com.
Copyright 2001 Oxygen Media.