Backstory: Nominated for a Best Writing, Original Story Academy Award.
The Man Who Came To Dinner—1942 Radio personality Sheridan Whiteside (Monty Woolley) slips on the ice-covered steps of the home of Ernest and Daisy Stanley (Grant Mitchell and Billie Burke), a prominent Ohio family. Temporarily incapacitated, he’s forced to recuperate at the Stanleys’s home during Christmas. The cast is perfect: Woolley recreates the role he played on Broadway, a subdued Bette Davis plays Whiteside’s secretary Maggie Cutler, and Ann Sheridan, in a scene-stealing performance, is vain Broadway actress Lorraine Sheldon. The self-centered and egotistical Whiteside makes everyone’s life miserable, with his impossible demands to make his stay more comfortable. The rest of the supporting cast is memorable, including the wonderful Mary Wickes (also recreating her Broadway role) as Nurse Preen, Reginald Gardiner as playwright Beverly Carlton, and Jimmy Durante as Banjo. The beginning of the film is a little slow, but once the situation and the characters are established, it’s fast and furious all the way.
Backstory: Charles Laughton and Orson Welles campaigned hard for the role of Whiteside.
Backstory: The film introduced the song “I’ll Be Seeing You” which became a big hit and is played throughout the film.
Backstory: Flip calls her father Robin Hood, one of Flynn’s most famous film roles. Flynn does a physical impersonation of Humphrey Bogart, but Bogart’s voice is dubbed for Flynn’s.
|Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge|
A Christmas Carol—1951 This is the definitive version of the Charles Dickens classic. Alastair Sim, the great British character actor makes a wonderful Ebenezer Scrooge. Even though most critics consider this one of the best versions of the Dickens novela, it does take some liberties with the original text. However, the film managers to capture the soul of the story, making Scrooge’s transformation both believable and touching. If you’ve never seen this version, you’re in for a treat.
Backstory: Released as Scrooge in the U.K. it was set to debut in the U.S. at Radio City Music Hall, but considered too downbeat for family viewing by theatre management.
Backstory: White Christmas is a loose remake of Holiday Inn (1942), which introduced the number one selling Christmas song of all time, “White Christmas.”
For a list of some other Christmas favorites check out the lists from 2010 and 2011.