It’s that time of year

I don’t like Christmas. Too much pressure. I dread it every year. I do, however, love Christmas movies. That may seem weird, but really, the stressful situations I hate dealing with in reality are exactly the sort of situations that create entertaining tension in a movie. Also, while in life snow is nothing but a huge annoyance, it looks pretty on film. Expect a fair amount of discussion of Christmas movies as we head into December.

shoparndcorner-9849.jpgFirst up: a fantastic movie that’s not exactly little known, but that does get overshadowed–The Shop Around the Corner. This is that other Jimmy Stewart Christmas movie, the one that’s not It’s a Wonderful Life. In Ernst Lubitsch’s definitive version of the familiar tale, Stewart and Margaret Sullavan can’t stand each other in real life, but don’t realize that they are each other’s anonymous pen pals, and are falling in love through the mail. Besides the charming love story, the movie pays great attention to a strong cast of supporting characters, including the boss who is distraught as he realizes his wife is having an affair, the delivery boy desperate for a promotion, and the resident store suck-up. While watching this movie, it is easy to tell that it was made with love, and great attention to detail. The end product is near flawless and deserves to be remembered as a great film, not just a good romantic comedy or Christmas movie.

The Shop Around the Corner airs Sunday December 2nd at 5:00 Pacific time on Turner Classic Movies. No excuses now, set your appropriate recording device immediately. It’s followed by a 1949 musical version of the same stage play starring Judy Garland, called In the Good Old Summertime. I’ve never seen it but look forward to checking it out, as any movie starring Judy is worth a look.


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Other projects:

Downton Gabby: podcasting about Downton Abbey from a funny, foul-mouthed, feminist perspective

Quick Lit: reading one short story a day in 2015

Grand Dames: collecting sundry achievements of admirable women

The MacGuffin: archive of my days as a film critic

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