Little Women—1933 The definitive version of the Louisa May Alcott novel stars Katharine Hepburn and
Joan Bennett as Jo and Amy March respectively. Set during and after the American Civil War, the story centers around the March sisters and their mother, Marmee. Their lives are turned upside down while Mr. March is away from home, fighting for the Union Army. Surviving without Mr. March is a challenge for Marmee and the girls who are beholden to their rich Aunt March, played by the always enjoyable, Edna May Oliver. During the Christmas season, the girls don’t receive much in the way of gifts, but they share a love and bond that make the spirit of the holiday rich and meaningful. A wonderful film to watch any time of the year, but it really glows around Christmas time. Little Women also features one of Hepburn’s best performances. Other standouts in the cast include, Bennett, Frances Dee as Meg, Jean Parker as the doomed Beth, Spring Byington as Marmee, and Paul Lukas as Professor Bhaer.
Backstory: Little Women has been remade several times for television and for theatrical release. After the 1933 version, the 1949 Little Women with June Allyson, Peter Lawford, Margaret O’Brien, Elizabeth Taylor, and Janet Leigh is worth watching too. Filmed in glorious M-G-M Technicolor, it looks like a Christmas postcard.
|Ching-Ching on Christmas morning|
Backstory: The New York Times reviewer thought Stowaway was Temple’s best film since Little Miss Marker (1934). Temple followed up this hit with two blockbusters in 1937: Wee Willie Winkie directed by John Ford and Heidi directed by Allan Dwan.
|Carole Lombard, Cary Grant, and Kay Francis make up|
the triangle In Name Only.
Backstory: Kay Francis was one of the biggest movie stars in the world in the early and mid 1930s. At the time this film was released, her career was on a downward spiral. Lombard who knew Francis from her Paramount contract days, offered Francis the plum role of Maida and gave her equal billing with herself and Cary Grant. The New York Times called the film “soap opera par excellence, blessed with a peerless cast.”
|Irena (Simone Simon) sings carols in the snow.|
Backstory: This was the first film to be directed by Robert Wise (West Side Story, The Sound of Music) who took over for the original director, Gunther von Fritsch. The New York Time’s Bosley Crowther called the film “a rare departure from the ordinary run of horror films [which] emerges as an oddly touching study of the working of a sensitive child’s mind.”
|The poster gives you an idea that all is not too, too serious!|
Backstory: Deanna Durbin married the French director, Charles David (her third husband). She abandoned her Hollywood career in 1948, married David in 1950 and together they relocated to France where she remained until her death in 2013.
There are so many great classic movies to watch during the holidays. The above are just a small sampling. For a list of some other classic Christmas movies, click on the links below.
Classic Movie Man's Favorite Christmas Movies
Classic Movie Man’s Favorite Christmas Movies: 2011 Edition
Classic Movie Man’s Favorite Christmas Movies: 2012 Edition