I just wanted to start by wishing all of you movie lovers out there a very safe and Merry Christmas. To get into the spirit of Christmas, I wanted to to watch a film that had to do with the very holiday itself so I chose to watch Miracle On 34 Street (the 1947 version). Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara) is the special events coordinator for Macy’s who has discovered a problem thanks to an old man (Edmund Gwenn). Her Santa Claus for the Thanksgiving Day Parade is drunk and unable to continue. So, she hires the old man to be Santa and after he does a great job, he is then hired to be the Macy’s store Santa. The only problem is that the old man claims to be Kris Kringle himself, but there are people that do not believe him. The film also stars Natalie Wood (Rebel Without A Cause) as Susan Walker, John Payne (The Razor’s Edge) as Fred Gailey, Gene Lockhart (His Girl Friday) as Judge Henry X. Harper, Porter Hall (Mr. Smith Goes To Washington) as Granville Sawyer, William Frawley (I Love Lucy) as Charlie Halloran, Jerome Cowan (The Maltese Falcon) as Dist. Atty. Thomas Mara, Philip Tonge (Witness For The Prosecution) as Julian, and the film was directed by George Seaton (Airport).
This is the very last Sunday at the Classics as far as this challenge is concerned, but I just may keep it going after the challenge is over. I have seen some great films for Sunday at the Classics, but this is by far one of my favorite ones. The film features some amazing performances from the likes of John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, and even little Natalie Wood who would go on to be even more famous for her role in Rebel Without A Cause. The story of the film is just as amazing because it was a well written tale and a different kind of take on Christmas. It was a tale of believing in something not because people tell you to, but because it feels right to you. The trial scenes were amazing and you have to love the judge who constantly looks to his campaign advisor for advice on how to judge the case. The cinematography was pretty good as well and I had the chance to see the colorized version, but I chose to go old school for my first go around. This was an all around great film that featured great writing, actors, costumes, the sets, and even the cinematography. You have to do yourself a favor and check this film out for yourself before you watch the remake (which I also haven’t seen). I am going to give the film an A+ for a final grade.
After today there are only 3 Sundays left in the whole entire year which means I am coming close to achieving my goal and it also means there are only three Sundays At The Classics left. The film I chose for today is one that I couldn’t resist watching considering that it’s Christmas Season and I am talking about It’s A Wonderful Life. George Bailey (James Stewart) is someone who has always put others before himself, but he is also a guy who has had big dreams of doing things like travelling the world. Unfortunately for George, he has never been able to do it because he has put others including is father’s struggling business the Building & Loans ahead of his wants. One day a large sum of money goes missing and George doesn’t know what to do, but when he thinks of something bad, God sends him a Guardian Angel who is still trying to earn his wings to try and save him. The film also stars Donna Reed (From Here To Eternity) as Mary, Lionel Barrymore (Key Largo) as Mr. Potter, Thomas Mitchell (Gone With The Wind) as Uncle Billy, Henry Travers (The Invisible Man) as Clarence, Gloria Hallward (Oklahoma) as Violet, Ward Bond (The Maltese Falcon) as Bert, Frank Faylen (Funny Girl) as Ernie, and the film was directed by Frank Capra (Mr. Smith Goes To Washington).
They really were not kidding when they said that this was one of the best films of all time. James Stewart was one of the best actors of all time whether he starred in the Capra films or the Hitchcock films. He was absolutely masterful in the film as the guy who is so full of dreams and wonder that he puts all of it aside to do what is right by people in this town of Bedford Falls. One of my favorite scenes with him in the film is when he wishes that he was never born and the guardian angel Clarence grants it to him. What happens next is absolutely masterful as he goes through the town desperate to convince that it’s all a dream until he realizes that it’s reality. Donna Reed is also fantastic as Mary, his wife in the film and I can’t really complain about anyone because everyone was great. The cinematography was amazing, but there was one scene that I thought was cheesy. There’s this scene where the camera pans up to space. We see what looks like galaxies and it ends up being Joseph and I believe Jesus. They start talking to each other and that’s when they put Clarence on the job, but when they talk flashing bulbs behind the picture signify who is talking. Other than that, this is one of the best films and very inspirational because the moral is to stand up to the man no matter what because they don’t always want what’s best for everyone. Check out the film for yourself, I am going to give it an A+ for a final grade.