Dec. 16, 2021

Classic Holiday Romance

Classic Holiday Romance

'Tis the season for my much-loved, annual classic holiday movie marathon. For me, film is richer in B&W, and you can't beat classic holiday movies for stirring inspirational monologues and heartwarming affection, love and romance. (CW: for a few mentions of suicide).

Music in this episode: 

Jazzy Bells by Dee Yan-Key is used courtesy of a Creative Commons license from the Free Music Archives. The sleigh bells sound effect is courtesy of a Creative Commons license from


Christmas in Connecticut has so many funny and charming moments.

The Man Who Came to Dinner is stagey and delightfully over-the-top. Here's the Christmas Eve scene when Lorraine Sheldon discovers that she's been pranked and didn't actually get engaged to a lord.

Here's the whole sequence leading up to That Phone Call in It's a Wonderful Life. The rotary phones! The 78 records! People looking dignified and dressing up! Plus the sweet authentic sentiment--this movie represents pure love to me, and I never tire of it, no matter how many times I see it.

Another delightful Jimmy Stewart holiday classic is The Shop Around the Corner. I've talked about this movie a few times,  because the rom com You've Got Mail is based on this charming story (see my Intimate Worlds episode).

In Bell, Book and Candle,  Jimmy falls under the spell of Kim Novak on Christmas Eve.  I mean, who wouldn't?

The lesser known Frank Capra holiday classic, Meet John Doe, is now in the public domain--watch the full movie here.

Frank Capra intended to direct It Happened on 5th Avenue but it didn't happen--it still ends up being the most charming and affectionate holiday film he never directed. When a tramp squats in a 5th Avenue mansion around Christmastime, he changes the post-war lives of many other people--including the billionaire who owns the mansion.

Cary Grant plays the charismatic angel Dudley who comes to earth at Christmas to help a struggling bishop in The Bishop's Wife. Dudley realizes if he wants to help the bishop, he needs to show him how to cherish and value his wife. There are many beautiful moments and scenes in this film, including this one performed by The Mitchell Boychoir. Heavenly.

Janet Leigh plays a young war widow with an adorable son who works as a secret shopper at Christmas in Holiday Affair. After she meets a handsome salesman (Robert Mitchum) in the toy department, her whole world is turned upside down and she starts to reconsider marrying her steady boyfriend.

The hopeful post-war sentiment of White Christmas moves me, no matter how many times I've seen it. The lush romance, music, gorgeous costumes and wintery Technicolor sets turn this movie into a holiday fever dream.

Remember the Night is about a beautiful shoplifter (Barbara Stanwyck) taken home to Indiana for Christmas by a handsome district attorney (Fred MacMurray) who feels bad that she'll sit in jail over the holiday. It has everything you want in a holiday movie: redemption, forgiveness, a close-knit family, found family, small-town charm and warm romance.