It’s that time of year! Here are a few of my favourite Christmas movies from early Hollywood.
The Man Who Came To Dinner (1942)
Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan and Monty Woolley star in this light-hearted comedy set in the Ohio home of the prominent Stanley family. Woolley’s caustic New York radio host Sheridan Whiteside and his secretary Maggie Cutler (Davis) are stuck in the small mid-Western town after Sheridan slips on the steps of the house and injures himself. Whilst he is imposing himself on the Stanley’s hospitality, Maggie becomes acquainted with handsome newspaper man Bert Jefferson.
The Shop Around The Corner (1940)
This classic romantic comedy takes place in Mr. Matuschek’s department store in Budapest, and stars Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan as his employees, who despise one another. Each has been exchanging letters (and falling in love) with an anonymous pen pal, yet neither realises that they have really been corresponding with each other.
Christmas In Connecticut (1945)
Christmas In Connecticut stars Barbara Stanwyck as Elizabeth Lane, and Dennis Morgan as Jefferson Jones. Elizabeth is a New York writer, whose articles about her Connecticut family and farmhouse are entirely fictitious. Her publisher, unaware of this, insists she host a Christmas dinner for Jefferson, a returning war hero who became a fan of hers after reading her work during his recuperation in hospital.
The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
Cary Grant is an angel, Dudley, sent to help David Niven’s Bishop Henry Brougham with his problems – namely, the building of a new cathedral. However, Dudley finds himself falling in love with Julia (Loretta Young), Henry’s wife. Set around Christmastime, there is an excellent scene in which Dudley demonstrates his angelic tree decorating skills.