I've never been a fan the saccharin sweetness of most Christmas movies. Sure, I'll cop to watching Frank Capra's, It's A Wonderful Life plenty of times. Ditto Miracle on 34th Street. But, most 'em leave me wanting more than smiling faces singing Silent Night around a tree.
I like my holiday films with a little edge. My modern favorite - Bill Murray's Scrooged, ditches the traditional Christmas carols and ends with a nice rendition of Jackie DeShannon's, Put A Little Love in Your Heart. Now THAT's what I'm talking about.
If you're a fan of The Boomer Brief, you know that Charlotte and I love movies. Over the years, we've refined our Christmas list to some vintage films that always seem to satisfy. Here are three we'll be watching between now and when Santa slides down our gas-burning chimney.
1944 - This Christmas classic stars Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotten and a grown up Shirley Temple. It's a strangers-on-a-train tale of a wounded soldier and convict on Christmas furlough. The pair meet and their mutual loneliness turns to romance at the worst possible time of their lives. It's a story about compassion and second chances and never knowing what burden is carried by the "other guy". The non-Hollywood ending will leave you satisfied and teary-eyed (at least it has that effect on Charlotte).
1947 - Here's a great Cary Grant movie you may have overlooked. A bishop (David Niven) trying to get a cathedral built prays for guidance and gets a whole lot more. Loretta Young is his wife and she has her hands full between coddling benefactors, keeping the bishop from going off the rails and figuring out Cary Grant's angle. It's great fun, with a BIG heart and yes, a message that resonates 68 years later.
1947 - This one pokes fun at fat cat industrialists as only the fat cats in Hollywood could do. Every winter a tycoon and his family leave their Fifth Avenue mansion to spend the holidays enjoying the Florida sun. What they DON'T know that when they leave, a homeless man sneaks in and wears the fat cat's clothes, eats his food and opens up the house to his homeless friends to enjoy at Christmas. Yeah, the story's got more holes than my Christmas stocking but it's great fun. The brilliant cast includes Victor Moore (The Seven Year Itch), Ann Harding (Holiday) and Charles Ruggles (Bringing Up Baby). Warning: the last line in this film will leave you with a coal-sized lump in your throat.