- December 14th -
Great Christmas films, I mean truly great Christmas films, can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
We all have our favourites, the ones that warm the cockles of our hearts, and have been warming them for many a Christmastide. The ones that we love to watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon on the run-up to the festive time, or on a cold Boxing Day night, if there’s nothing else on.
But the ones we hold dear to our hearts aren’t necessarily the ones that are critical or even commercial successes - in fact, we are probably the only ones that actually like them, truth be told. Every one else thinks they’re rubbish!
My mother, for example, loves the film Scrooged - that odd, Bill Murray vehicle that purports to be a modern retelling of A Christmas Carol. Personally, I can’t really stand it. But I love the fact that my mother likes it so much. It’s something that she adores watching every Christmas - and coming from someone who really detests Christmas, that’s saying something.
It’s A Wonderful Life is another favourite. A film that just about everyone loves.
I wouldn’t say I ‘love’ it (it’s a great film, don’t get me wrong) it’s just always sat a little uneasily with me - in the Christmas film stakes, that is. For a film that is held up as the ‘Ultimate Christmas Film’ there’s surprising little of any actual Christmassyness in it. Only about a third of the film is actually set at Christmas.
Personally, my festive viewing usually comprises of such seasonal cheer as Scrooge (the Alastair Sim version), National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Miracle on 34th Street (the 1947 version) and a certain Muppet retelling of a Charles Dickens classic (hey, it’s wonderful, and you know it!!)
And that’s before we even get to the ‘non-Christmassy’ Christmas films - The Man Who Would Be King, The Great Escape, Great Expectations (David Lean version) or anything by the Hammer Films or the Carry On team!
Yes, you can count the number of truly great Christmas films on the fingers of one hand, but the Christmas films we love, that we hold dear, and that warm our cockles each and every year since we were young…there are loads of ‘em.
And we should be thankful for it!