We all know about It's A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and A Christmas Story. Elf is quickly becoming a holiday favorite, and movies like Holiday Inn , Scrooge (with Albert Finney), and White Christmas are finally getting their due with new DVD releases prominently displayed in stores. But there are a few gems out there still relatively obscure and deserving of annual appreciation. Here are just a few I consider underrated classics:
Christmas In Connecticut
This Barbra Stanwyck film was remade a few years ago, but the original still holds up with that idyllic feeling of white Christmases from a simpler time. Of course what Stanwyck's character has to accomplish to get that picture perfect holiday is not so simple.
The Bishop's Wife
Another classic remade, but sorry Denzel Washington, there's only one Cary Grant! In the same vein that made It's A Wonderful Life a masterpiece- angel + Christmas = holiday magic. Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven make a good team in this one and it only gets better with repeated viewings.
The Shop Around The Corner
Sensing a theme yet? Yes, this was also remade as You've Got Mail or as I call it You've Got To Be Kidding, because the original is such a great film. Director Ernst Lubitsch who made many great films said this was his best, and most critics would agree. As a matter of fact some critics have said this is the greatest Christmas film ever made. Better than It's A Wonderful Life?...Sorry, don't think so. But still, like that other Jimmy Stewart classic, The Shop Around The Corner only gets better with age. Watch it every Christmas...and more!
Ernest Save Christmas
There's a certain sophistication and panache about Varney's slapstick which creates an ambient faux sense of Victorian Christmas deja vu and leaves the viewer entranced with a bittersweet pining for holidays remembered and hope to come. The comedic subtleties are nuanced so precariously on the precipice of lunacy you feel giddy with joy to the point that other senses create their own universe. I even thought I smelled holly berries and the crisp currants of whipped Christmas strudel.
I don't even remember watching that crap. I just couldn't think of any other underrated films since most Christmas movies suck!
Enjoy watching and Merry Christmas.