Discuss this series with other film fans on:
Some films in the series will also screen at
the Egyptian Theatre!
Join us for movies celebrating the festive holiday spirit of
yuletide, braced with the romance, joy, pathos and giving mood of this time of year. Many
of you will remember these cinematic chestnuts from your childhood every one of
them have that wonderful quality of making you feel all aglow and good inside (even if the
rest of the world is collapsing!). Well be screening classics such as WHITE
CHRISTMAS (with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen),
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (with Maurenn OHara and child-star Natalie
Wood), Frank Capras ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE (with James Stewart and
a cast of endearingly familiar character actor faces), Ernest Lubitschs SHOP
AROUND THE CORNER, THE THIN MAN (the screwball comedy-mystery with William
Powell and Myrna Loy who can forget the image of Powells hungover
Nick Charles shooting the ornaments off his Christmas tree on Christmas morn?) and
CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (with Barbara Stanwyck). At the Aero well be
showing many of the same films, plus decidedly modern takes on Christmastime, from
grueling DIE HARD to irreverent NATIONAL LAMPOONS CHRISTMAS VACATION
to nostalgically screwball A CHRISTMAS STORY. Plus check out three different
versions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL (two at the Aero, one at the Egyptian)!
Wednesday, December 19 7:30 PM
WHITE CHRISTMAS, 1954, Paramount,
120 min. Director Michael Curtiz (CASABLANCA) Christmas classic features some
of the most rousing production numbers from any Hollywood musical.. Paramounts first
film shot in widescreen Vistavision is a love story, set in a Vermont inn. Two Army
buddies, Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye turned post-war song-and-dance team,
find romance with Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, while rescuing their old
General (Dean Jagger) from financial ruin. With 13 songs highlighted by the
snow-bound train rendition of Irving Berlin's "Snow." "Count Your Blessings
Instead of Sheep" was Oscar-nominated for Best Song.
Thursday, December 20 7:30 PM
A CHRISTMAS CAROL, 1938, Warners
Bros., 69 min. Dir. Edwin L. Marin. Long overshadowed by the more-famous Alastair
Sim version from 1951, this lovely little CHRISTMAS CAROL is a tiny gem in its own right,
with noted character actor Reginald Owen turning in an excellent performance as the
hardhearted Scrooge, opposite the husband-wife casting of Gene and Kathleen Lockhart
as Bob Cratchit and Mrs. Cratchit (Their real-life daughter June appears as one of their
children, in her first film appearance.)
SHOP AROUND THE CORNER,
1940, Warner Bros, 99 min. Dir. Ernst Lubitsch. Co-workers (James Stewart
and Margaret Sullavan) in a quaint Budapest shop clash in person but fall in love
via anonymous letters in this charming classic set at Christmas time. Under
Lubitschs expert direction, the film becomes both an intimate love story and a
heartwarming ensemble comedy, as multiple subplots following the lives of the lovers
colleagues (including cantankerous shopowner, Frank Morgan, and egotistical ladies
man, Joseph Schildkraut) are deftly woven into the narrative. A subtle and deeply
romantic masterpiece. Discussion in between films with June
Friday, December 21 7:30 PM
A CHRISTMAS STORY, 1983, Warner
Bros, 94 min. Dir. Bob Clark. "A Tribute to the Original, Traditional,
One-Hundred-Percent, Red-Blooded, Two-Fisted, All-American Christmas..".
This nostalgic cult Christmas comedy, told from the perspective of
Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley), focuses on his overwhelming desire to get
"an official Red Ryder, carbine-action, 200 shot range model air rifle", despite
the fact that all the adults around him tell him that it will "put his eye out!"
He sets out to convince everyone, especially his parents (Darren McGavin, Melinda
Dillon) that this is the perfect Christmas gift. Not surprisingly, he runs into
opposition. Features the famous leg lamp and tongue-getting-stuck-on-the-pole scenes. With
Scott Schwartz, Zack Ward, Ian Petrella, R.D. Robb.
LAMPOONS CHRISTMAS VACATION, 1989, Warner Bros., 97 min. Dir. Jeremiah S.
Chechik. Screenwriter John Hughes expertly juggles farce and sentiment in this
delightful holiday film, perhaps the best in the entire VACATION series. Suburban dad
Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) finds his plans for the perfect Christmas going awry
thanks to a visit from obnoxious brother-in-law Eddie (a hilarious Randy Quaid),
but the slapstick antics give way to a surprisingly touching finale that perfectly sums up
Hughes feelings about home and family. With Beverly DAngelo, Diane Ladd.
Saturday, December 22 3:00 PM
SCROOGE, 1970, CBS Films (Hollywood
Classics), 113 min. Albert Finney is a gleefully wicked Scrooge in this glorious
musical adaptation by Leslie Bricusse of Dickens ode to brotherhood and the terrible
power of karma. Director Ronald Neame was a long-time Dickens veteran, having
produced David Leans GREAT EXPECTATIONS and OLIVER TWIST; here, he proved himself to
be a wonderfully humorous and sympathetic filmmaker in his own right. Co-starring Alec
Guinness, Edith Evans and Kenneth More. Academy Award-nominated Musical Director Ian Fraser will appear
for discussion following the film.
Saturday, December 22 7:30 PM
DIE HARD, 1988, 20th Century Fox, 131
min. Dir. John McTiernan. Bruce Willis plays wisecracking cop John McClane,
an endearing everyman who becomes an unlikely hero when a group of professional thieves
holds his wifes building hostage at Christmastime. One of the most purely
entertaining movies ever made, this fast, funny, and visually elegant thriller set the
template for the Hollywood action flicks that followed it, and made Willis a movie star.
BAD SANTA, 2003, Miramax, 91 min. Dir. Terry
Zwigoffs underground variation of MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET, with Billy Bob
Thorton as a completely foul- mouthed alcoholic con man posing as a mall Santa, who
teams up with his friend Marcus (Tony Cox) to rob the store just before Christmas.
A rare intelligent adult comedy. Hysterical and bold, Thornton is reminiscent of W.C.
Fields, only more drunk and worse to children. Partner and elf Tony Cox is the perfect
foil. Featuring the late, great John Ritter, Bernie Mac and Brett Kelly as
Sunday, December 23 7:30 PM
ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE,
1946, Paramount, 130 min. Director Frank Capras inspiring tale balances both
pathos and joy. The legendary James Stewart is at his finest as the distraught
George Baily, a man about to commit suicide on Christmas Eve until he runs into the
helpful, elderly Angel Clarence (Henry Travers). Lionel Barrymore is
at his Snidely Whiplash best as avaricious banker Mr. Potter, a man who would foreclose on
the whole town if he had the chance. Featuring Donna Reed as the love of
Georges life, in the role that launched her to stardom, and a young, charming Gloria
Grahame. You have seen it before, now see it on the big screen.