Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Christmas in the Movies by Jeremy Arnold

Christmas in the Movies
35 Classics to Celebrate the Season
Revised and Expanded Edition
by Jeremy Arnold
TCM and Running Press
Hardcover ISBN: 9780762481040
280 pages
October 2023

"When we view [Christmas movies], we journey back to our childhoods, laugh at our quirks, and lose ourselves in tales of love and compassion. There's nostalgia in many of these stories and even in the simple act of watching them: they stir our memories of having seen them in earlier times, with earlier loved ones." — Jeremy Arnold

While you can't watch 35 Christmas movies in one day, you CAN read about 35 in one day with Christmas in the Movies: 35 Classics to Celebrate the Season by Jeremy Arnold. This is a newly updated, revised and expanded edition of Christmas in the Movies: 30 Classics to Celebrate the Season published in 2018 (read my review here).

This new edition has, of course, 5 additional Christmas movies. Each movie is presented with an essay that gives background, synopsis, a little analysis and an exploration of the Christmas elements as well as poster art and photographs from the movie. Some notable movies covered include Christmas in Connecticut, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas, Holiday Inn, etc. I particularly enjoyed the pieces on Remember the Night, Beyond Tomorrow, Cheaters, Holiday Affair, and Elf.

This new edition also boasts 70 pages of additional content including several really great thematic essays. These include:  Christmas movies of 1947,  Christmas and Film Noir, Disney Christmas Cartoons, essays on different adaptations of Little Women, A Christmas Carol, Three Godfathers, etc.

I was particularly taken with the Christmas and Film Noir piece and how it explored the dichotomy of the two very different movie styles and how they come together. 

“Film Noir is a visual style and storytelling attitude that stresses fatalism, cynicism, and sinister undercurrents of society that pull characters into a sordid world from which there is usually no escape. Christmas movies guide characters up, toward their better, positive natures; noir pulls them down, toward the depths of their own destructive impulses.” — Jeremy Arnold

interior spread courtesy of Running Press
source: Edelweiss

interior spread courtesy of Running Press
source: Edelweiss

interior spread courtesy of Running Press
source: Edelweiss

A worthy upgrade for those who already own the original book. It's a larger format with a new cover and so much more reading material that makes this book even more valuable for Christmas movie enthusiasts. Pick this one up for this season (or for the next!)

Thank you to Running Press for sending me a copy of Christmas in the Movies to review!

I share more thoughts about the book on episode #7 of The Classic Movie Roundup on YouTube. Watch here:

Monday, December 21, 2020

Podcast: Going My Way and The Bells of St. Mary's


Here's a holiday treat! Listen to the latest episode of The Movie Palace Podcast where host Carl Sweeney and I discuss two classics: Going My Way (1944) and The Bells of St. Mary's (1945).

Happy holidays!

Listen to "Going My Way/The Bells of St. Mary's" on Spreaker.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Christmas in the Movies: 30 Classics to Celebrate the Season by Jeremy Arnold

Christmas in the Movies
30 Classics to Celebrate the Season
by Jeremy Arnold
Turner Classic Movies/Running Press
Hardcover ISBN: 97807624924801
October 2018
208 pages

Amazon — Barnes and Noble — Powell's— TCM Shop

You can’t watch 30 Christmas movies in one day. But you can experience them all in one afternoon with Jeremy Arnold’s new book Christmas in the Movies: 30 Classics to Celebrate the Season. Starting with Miracle on Main Street (1939) and ending with Love, Actually (2003), this new genre book from Turner Classic Movies’ joint imprint with Running Press captures the spirit of the holiday with the most beloved of the beloved Christmas classics.

Each of the 30 films gets a 5-6 page treatment with photos, credits, an overview of the plot, and information on how the movie came to be made and how it uses the holiday to tell its story. There is also a Holiday Moment aside which describes a particularly Christmassy scene from the film. All the classics are here including Remember the Night (1940), Holiday Inn (1942), Meet Me In St. Louis (1944), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), The Bishop’s Wife (1947), White Christmas (1954), etc . And my personal favorites Christmas in Connecticut (1945) and Holiday Affair (1949) are in here too. Arnold spotlights films that either completely framed within the holiday or they feature Christmas in a significant way. Some of the latter include The Apartment (1960), Gremlins (1984), and Die Hard (1988) (which people love to proclaim is or is not a Christmas movie). Modern classics featured in the book include Little Women (1994), Elf (2003) and Love, Actually (2003) among others.

Why are Christmas movies so enduring? Arnold explains that they conjure up feelings of nostalgia, they focus on family dynamics, they lend themselves to the rituals of the holiday and their feel-good vibes and happy endings make them utterly enjoyable to movie going audiences.

Reading about each of these movies taps into the pleasure that the films themselves. I really enjoyed Arnold’s narrative voice which is very welcoming. The book goes down easy like a cup of hot cocoa with extra marshmallows. While the articles featured are not ground-breaking, I found some nugget of information to take away from almost every single one. You may know everything there is to know about Christmas movies (or can easily Google the information you need) but I don’t think that will hamper your appreciation of this book. I learned the most from the Love, Actually article, a film I used to adore but have grown to dislike over the years and have been meaning to revisit, and was interested in the background of how the story came to be. And there are a few films I had never seen before, including Miracle on Main Street and The Holly and the Ivy (1952) that I bookmarked for future viewing.

Some interesting tidbits include:

  • The original and final lyrics for “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", the song written for Meet Me In St. Louis, are presented side by side in the book. I’m glad they were changed because the original song was quite dark.
  • There was a backlash against Alastair Sim starring as Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1951 adaptation of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge
  • Warner Bros. threw a parade in Norwalk, CT for the premiere of Christmas in Connecticut.
  • I got a newfound appreciation for how TV was instrumental in making so many overlooked Christmas movies into widely appreciated classics.
  • The idea for The Apartment came to Billy Wilder after he saw one particular scene in Brief Encounter (1945)

Christmas in the Movies is a keepsake treasure perfect for gift giving. And it’s very likely that if your loved one doesn’t watch classic movies that they’ve seen several of the classic Christmas films listed in the book. It’s beautifully designed and I particularly liked its more compact size. If you’re looking for a coffee table type book this is not it. It’s better suited on your mantle next to your Elf on the shelf and above your Christmas stocking.

Thank you to Jeremy Arnold and Running Press for sending me a copy of Christmas in the Movies for review.

Monday, November 20, 2017

2017 Classic Film Holiday Gift Guide

I'm proud to present my Holiday Gift Guide for 2017. In my guide you'll find a wide variety of gift ideas for the classic film lover in your life. These are also great products that you can buy for yourself with gift cards or holiday cash.

I split the guide into two sections. First is recommendations. These are products that I've come to love over the past year. The second section is my wish list. These are the products I have my eyes on for future purchase. 

I hope you enjoy the guide. Remember when you use my buy links to do your holiday shopping you help support this site. Thanks!

In the comment section below, tell me what's on your holiday wish list and what you would recommend for a classic movie fan.

Get started on your holiday card mailing list with these beauties. They'd also make amazing To:/From: cards to attach to presents. I love how Kate Gabrielle matches hilarious puns with her amazing designs.


Other items from Kate Gabrielle's shop:

Give the gift of my all-time favorite movie.

Shop Warner Bros.

Further reading:

I have so much love for this documentary and its subjects. If your loved one is fascinated by the movie industry and always wanting for a good love story, look no further than Harold and Lillian.

Further reading:

Warner Archive Collection DVD-MODs

My Warner Archive Wednesday reviews are the most popular posts on this blog and for good reason! The folks at Warner Archive collection dig deep into their salt mines to uncover hidden gems for us to enjoy. I found many new-to-me favorites thanks to WAC. Here are a few DVDs I've enjoyed:

Gentleman Jim (1942)
Shop – Review

Hotel (1967)
Shop – Review

Beauty for the Asking (1939)
Shop – Review

Sorority House (1939)
Shop – Review

Warner Archive Collection Blu-Rays

In addition to their vast collection of DVD-MODs, Warner Archive has also been releasing Blu-Rays. They put a lot of care and attention to the restoration of these films. Each disc is a collector's item. Here are two of my favorite WAC Blu-Rays:

Where the Boys Are (1960)
Shop – Review

Bells are Ringing (1960)

Kino Lorber Blu-Rays

This year I've been watching a lot of Kino Lorber releases. I love the variety of films they release; everything from classic films, documentaries and independent movies. Kino has released lots of great classic films on Blu-Ray this year. Here are a few recent releases I recommend:

The High Commissioner (1968)

Since You Went Away (1944)

Zaza (1923)

Hangover Square (1945)

King of Jazz: Paul Whiteman's Technicolor Revue 
by James Layton and David Pierce

Does the classic film nut in your life have a super early cut off date for movies they watch? Like nothing past 1934? If they haven't already invested in Layton and Pierce's new book all about the early talkie musical King of Jazz (1930), then you need to fix that situation right away.

Other recommendation:
The Dawn of Technicolor: 1915-1935
Amazon – Barnes and Noble – Powells Review

I recently subscribed to FilmStruck and it's been a great resource especially for independent and foreign cinema. FilmStruck is offering a free Roku stick when you buy a year's gift subscription.

Also recommended:

Classic Film Books

For classic film devotees it's not enough just to watch the movies. They need to read about them too. What better gift than to give a biography, memoir or new classic film book? Visit my latest New & Upcoming Classic Film Book Round-Up for more ideas.

Anne Bancroft: A Life by Douglas K. Daniel
Amazon – Barnes and Noble – Powells

Hank & Jim : The Fifty-Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart by Scott Eyman
Amazon – Barnes and Noble – Powells

 Reviews for these coming soon!

Other recommendations:
Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War by Mark Harris
Amazon – Barnes and Noble – Powells Review

Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood 
by Kirk and Anne Douglas with Marcia Newberger
Amazon – Barnes and Noble – Powells Review

Mary Astor's Purple Diary by Edward Sorel
Amazon – Barnes and Noble – PowellsReview

The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson Sets from Time Life

Chances are the classic film fanatic in your life also really loves classic TV. A lot of their favorite classic stars were also special guests on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. These sets are great fun.  You get complete episodes of the show, not clips, as well as commercials from the era.

Johnny Carson and Friends

The Tonight Show Vault Series Vol 1.

Further reading:

Other recommendations:

Martin & Rowan Laugh-In
AmazonBarnes and Noble Best BuyTime Life

Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts
AmazonBarnes and Noble Best BuyTime Life

Fritz Lang: The Silent Films Set from Kino Lorber

Fritz Lang is my favorite director. A Blu-Ray collection of his silent films? Yes please!

Amazon – Barnes and Noble Kino Lorber

100 Years of  Olympic Films from Criterion

When Criterion announced this 53 film set I knew I had to have it. Owning it is definitely a pipe dream but we all need something to aspire to.

Amazon – Barnes and Noble – Best Buy – Criterion

More Books!

One can never have too many books. Here are two I have my eye on.

Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film  by Alan K. Rode

Must-See Musicals: 50 Show-Stopping Movies We Can’t Forget 
by Richard Barrios
Amazon Barnes and NoblePowells

Fandango Gift Cards

I just want more excuses to see new movies at my local cinemas. A gift card to the rescue!

Other options:
AMC Gift Card
Showcase Gift Card

What's on your holiday wish list?

Friday, November 25, 2016

2016 Classic Film Holiday Gift Guide

Is your loved one a bonafide classic film nut? Do you have absolutely no idea what to get them for the holidays? Look no further! I have some excellent ideas for you. These gifts range in price and fit any budget and will be guaranteed to please.

For the classic film fan who thinks they've seen it all but still wants to see more...

FilmStruck is a new streaming service created by the folks at Turner Classic Movies in collaboration with Criterion. Available on a multitude of devices this service streams a variety of indie and foreign films that will appeal to the film buff with sophisticated tastes. There is no gift membership option yet but you could always offer to purchase one of the plans for your loved one. $6.99 a month gets you the FilmStruck channel, $10.99 a month gets you FilmStruck and the Criterion Channel and you can buy a year's membership for both channels for a one time fee of $99.

For the time traveler...

Fitzpatrick Traveltalks

Take an armchair trip around the world with James Fitzpatrick "The Voice of the Globe". Warner Archive collects 186 of the Fitzpatrick TravelTalks shorts presented in glorious Technicolor. Fitzpatrick traveled the world capturing images of far off lands and familiar terrain here as well. These MGM shorts are from the 1930s to the early 1950s and are narrated by Fitzpatrick. Chances are your beloved has seen some of these on TCM but this is the first time they've all been made available on DVD-MOD and the newest Volume 3 completes the set. These are so much fun to watch and if your loved one is like me and adores time traveling with the help of movies and documentaries they'll love these! Each volume retails at $29.99 (the first two are on sale right now at 30% off!)

For the ultimate TCM fan...

Me at the Francis Ford Coppola Imprint Ceremony TCMFF 2016

You're buying them a trip of a lifetime with this pass. The 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival will be held in Hollywood April 6 to the 9th. The Essential Pass is sold out but other passes are still available. The Classic Pass is your best deal at $649. It gets you into everything except for the opening night movie and gala. I've been to this festival four times and each one was life changing. Read my extensive coverage of TCMFF for some ideas of what to expect.

For art lovers...

Many classic film fans are familiar with Kate Gabrielle's work. We've worn her fan club pins everywhere, especially at #TCMFF. Beyond her pins she's got great art prints, brooches, patches, pocket mirrors, greeting cards and more. My favorite piece from her collection is this fabulous Gene Tierney art print ($15) inspired by a scene from Leave Her to Heaven (1945). Add a frame to this and you have a fantastic holiday gift.

For the classic film fan on the go...

My TCM tote bags come in handy. I take them with me everywhere. I even have a TCM gym bag for my exercise gear. Tote bags are a great way to express your passion in simple and efficient manner.

For classic film enthusiasts who enjoy new movies too...

Fandango Gift Cards

Need to pad a holiday present with something extra? A Fandango gift card would help get your movie lover to the theatre to see some future classics. 

For Boston area classic film fans...

Membership to a repertory theatre

If the recipient of your gift is Boston based you could do no wrong by getting them a membership to one of our fine repertory theatres. These show classic movies on the big screen regularly and a membership supports their love for old movies and helps keep these wonder theatres in business. The Harvard Film Archive screens foreign and obscure classics and an individual membership is $55 and includes discounts, free screenings, special access and a subscription to their program calendar. The Brattle Theatre in Harvard has a wide variety of classic, cult and indie screenings as well as other events and special programming. A basic membership is $80 is includes 12 free passes plus concession stand coupons, discounts at several local shops and eateries and more. The Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline is an art house theatre with new and classic film screenings. A Film Buff membership is $75 a year (and tax deductible!) and includes free passes, member only benefits, discounts at the concession, on tickets and on merchandise and more. Not in Boston? Check if your classic film lover has a local repertory house with a membership option.

For bookish classic film fans...

If your movie lover is also big on reading, classic film books are a must. You can buy a set of titles as a nice bundle or add one to a package you're putting together. You can find a list of the most recently released titles on my latest New & Upcoming Classic Film Books round-up. Above titles include:

Retail $22.00
Not available until just after Christmas so you'd need an IOU.
by Shawn Levy
Retail $27.99
Calling all classic film fans! What present would you absolutely love to receive during the holidays? Tell me in the comments below.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

2013 Classic Film Holiday Gift Guide

This year's holiday gift guide is exclusively made up of items that I own and love plus a couple of extras. I think these will make great gifts for classic film lovers of all kinds. My guide does include some affiliate links. You don't have to shop with them but if you do thank you! And now on to the gifts...

For the Patriotic film buff who loves WWII history…

Warner Bros. And The Homefront Dvd from Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. and the Homefront DVD Collection contains three WWII musicals boasting an incredible array of talent including Bette Davis, John Garfield Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, S.Z. Sakall, Humphrey Bogart, the Andrews Sisters, Ida Lupino, Eddie Cantor, Joan Leslie, Ronald Reagan, Olivia de Havilland and more. It's a great set of entertaining movies which demonstrate how Hollywood used their talents and resources to support the war effort.

For the Gone With the Wind (1939) devotee…

Kendra Bean's book Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait is a labor of love and a great tribute to the actress best known for her role as Scarlett O'Hara. Many Gone With the Wind fans are enamored with Vivien Leigh and would love to have this gorgeous book as part of their library. This book details the actress' life and career and showcases many never-before-seen photographs. It's a collector's item as well as an informative read.

For the serious student of film history…

Room 1219: The Life of Fatty Arbuckle, the Mysterious Death of Virginia Rappe, and the Scandal That Changed Hollywood is one of my favorite books from 2013. Author Greg Merritt carefully examines the scandal that shook up Hollywood and changed film history forever. This makes the perfect gift for the studious film scholar who wants to learn everything there is to know about the early history of Hollywood. Read my full review of the book here.

For the movie musical fan who wants to grow their collection...

Introduce them to the wonders of movie musicals with this Best of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection: Musicals set. It includes various WB and MGM musicals from The Jazz Singer (1927) to Hairspray (1988).  Read my full review of this boxed set here. This is a fun set for a musical movie marathon. You wont be able to watch them all in one day but it would be ideal for a (really) long weekend or staycation.

For the parent who wants to introduce their child to old movies...

Bluffton: My Summer with Buster Keaton by Matt Phelan. This graphic novel takes place in Bluffton, a small neighborhood in Muskegon, Michigan. A young Buster Keaton travels with his family to Bluffton each year to spend the summer. Keaton meets a local boy and the story is told from that boy's perspective. A little bit from my review:

Bluffton is intended for children ages 9-12... It's a great way to introduce children to an important figure in film history and to show them a time before electronic devices in which work and play were exclusively physical. Adults will revel in the nostalgia and the history and everyone will be transfixed by the amazing illustrations. This is a great choice for reluctant readers because of the accessibility of the illustrations, the story and the text.

For the very generous gift giver who wants to treat someone to something extra special…

Best Of Warner Bros. 50 Film Collection (Blu-ray) Blu-Ray from Warner Bros.

Best of Warner Bros. 50 Film Collection (Blu-ray) Blu-Ray from Warner Bros. This set is amazing and one of the treasures in my home library. It retails at just under $600 (you can probably find a good deal online) so this is definitely for the gift giver who has some room in his or her wallet. It contains 50 movies plus extras on 52 Blu-Ray discs. Two flip-books holding the discs are inside and the movies are organized in chronological order. There are extra goodies including a fold-out poster and collectible postcards. The entire folds out and holds together with a magnetic closure. I've been meaning to review this one for a long time and I will soon! Movies include: Grand Hotel, Gone with the Wind, Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane, The Maltese Falcon, Singin' in the Rain, A Streetcar Named Desire, Casablanca, Ben-Hur, North By Northwest and plenty more . Years covered are from 1932 to 2010.

For the frugal gift giver who wants their dollars to go the extra mile…

Give the gift of a TCM Greatest Classic Films or Greatest Classic Legends collection is a great way to treat a classic film fan to something special without breaking the bank. The Greatest Classic Film sets are by theme, director or pairing and include Literary Romance, Busby Berkeley Musicals , Family, Holiday, Astaire and Rogers , Hitchcock Thrillers, Murder Mysteries and more. The Greatest Classic Legends feature four films starring one classic film actor or actress. I own the Jean Harlow and Kirk Douglas sets! Some out-of-print titles can be found in these sets too making them even more valuable. You can usually find these for 30-50% off the retail price at Barnes and Noble or at the TCM Shop. Walmart has an exclusive line with 2 films instead of 4 which is even less expensive.

For the TCM fanatic…

TCM Bistro Mug - Green . I don't have this one yet but thanks to a kind friend who gave me a TCM gift certificate for my recent birthday, there is one on it's way to me! For a gift recipient who loves hot beverages and watching classic movies, there is no better way to show off their TCM pride than with a branded mug.

You could kick things up a notch and upgrade your gift to the Classic Cocoa Gift Set which includes the Bistro Mug, a blanket and hot cocoa mix.

For the film buff who lives for extras…
Lawrence Of Arabia: 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition Blu-ray  PLUS Exclusive Gift with Purchase!
Lawrence of Arabia: 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition Blu-ray. I asked Carlos if he wanted to suggest something he owned for my holiday gift guide and he picked this. It's one of his most treasured possessions. It's a stunning boxed complete with a coffee table book, an individually numbered 70mm mounted film frame, a soundtrack CD and three Blu-Rays with the film and enough extras to keep you busy for several hours. If you buy the set at TCM's shop, they offer a set of magnets and a gift with purchase.

For the film trivia expert who thinks they know everything…

The Man Who Seduced Hollywood The Life and Loves of Greg Bautzer, Tinseltown's Most Powerful Lawyer by B. James Gladstone. Maybe your loved one and friend has read every book about every major movie star and director? Well, have they heard about Greg Bautzer the legendary lawyer whose list of Hollywood romances was as impressive as his list of elite clients. Read my full review of the book here. (Stay tuned as I'll be posting an interview with the author on this blog soon!)

For the discriminating classic film fan who is impossible to shop for…

A rental or streaming service! I have subscriptions to Netflix (streaming and 2 DVDs at a time) and Classicflix (1 DVD at a time). There is also the Warner Archive streaming service which is growing in leaps and bounds. I love having services like these available to me for random projects and for quick access to new-to-me films I learn about. Netflix offers gift subscriptions. If your recipient already has any of these services, you can always offer to pay for a few months on their behalf.

Now here are some of my favorites from Warner Archive...

For the lover of American nostalgia…

Andy Hardy Collection, The: Volume 1 from Warner Bros.

Andy Hardy Film Collection, The: Volume 2 from Warner Bros.

Spend some time with the Hardy family. There is Andy Hardy (Mickey Rooney), he's got energy to burn and skirts to chase, Judge Hardy (Lewis Stone) who is the voice of reason even if he sometimes gets sidetracked and who can forget Mrs. Hardy (Fay Holden), Aunt Milly and Marian Hardy. The series evolved over time but many things stayed constant. Andy Hardy's many romances gave some young starlets including Lana Turner, Judy Garland, Esther Williams and two of my personal favorites: Bonita Granville and Susan Peters a chance to shine.

For the B-movie detective enthusiast

Falcon Mystery Movie Collection, The Volume 1 from Warner Bros.

The Falcon Mystery Movie Collection, Volume 2 from Warner Bros.

Spend some time with the Falcon as he solves murders and makes the ladies swoon. Actor George Sanders plays Falcon in the first three films until his brother Tom Conway takes over in the fourth film and in the ones that followed. Both Sanders and Conway are excellent in these B-murder mysteries and these films are great for rainy days.

For the Robert Benchley fan or lover of film shorts…

Robert Benchley Shorts from Warner Bros.

These are hilarious! Robert Benchley was the quintessential humorist of the early 20th Century. This three disc set includes 30 of his humorous miniatures from 1935 to 1944. Some of my favorites include How to Sleep, How to Train a Dog, A Night at the Movies and How to Read. You might not love them all but you'll find plenty in this set to enjoy. Fans of Robert Benchley's brand of humor will love to have this set in their home library.

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