After all these years, would you believe that I’m still finding new (to me) Christmas movies courtesy of TCM?
This year there were three of them: Sun Valley Serenade, I’ll Be Seeing You, and Holiday. I can’t swear that I’ve never seen Holiday (after all, Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant!), but I don’t remember it so must have been really young if I did see it before.
Sun Valley Serenade (1941). IMDB logline: When Phil Corey’s band arrives at the Idaho ski resort its pianist Ted Scott is smitten with a Norwegian refugee he has sponsored, Karen Benson. When soloist Vivian Dawn quits, Karen stages an ice show as a substitute.
The best thing about this film besides seeing Sonja Henie ice skate (she plays Karen) is seeing Glenn Miller (Phil Corey) and his band. The film is beyond predictable, and Henie is an athlete not an actor, but I’m glad I saw it.
I’ll Be Seeing You (1944). IMDB logline: A soldier suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) meets a young woman on Christmas furlough from prison and their mutual loneliness blossoms into romance.
Though unlikely to replace my favorites (including Christmas in Connecticut, The Bishop’s Wife, It’s A Wonderful Life, Meet John Doe, and A Christmas Story), I will watch I’ll Be Seeing You Again because Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotten are great together. The film is surprisingly touching and captures the darker mood of the WWII era particularly well.
Holiday (1938). IMDB logline: A young man falls in love with a girl from a rich family. His unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life is met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée’s eccentric sister and long suffering brother.
George Cukor directs Cary Grant (he’s so young!) and Katharine Hepburn in this film two years before The Philadelphia Story, and this should be reason enough to watch it. I was also taken by how relevant this commentary on the very rich seems amid current discourse on the lack of connection and empathy the 1%-ers feel for the rest of us. I will definitely watch Holiday again.
The image I’ll close on is a provocative publicity still of Joseph Cotten and Ginger Rogers. I felt so moved by Cotten’s performance in I’ll Be Seeing You that I watched The Magnificent Ambersons” last night to prolong the feeling. If I didn’t have so much work to do, I might dip into The Third Man today. Gotta love Joseph Cotten.