As much as I love Christmas, most of the holiday films I’ve seen have come from the 1980s or later. It’s only in the last year or so that I’ve discovered a number of great holiday films from many decades earlier. Some seem a bit forgotten and some certainly aren’t…
The Shop Around the Corner
1940, MGM Pictures
Six years before It’s a Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart co-starred in this holiday romantic-comedy. If you’ve ever seen You’ve Got Mail, well, that was a remake of this movie — two people who don’t get along in person end up corresponding with each other anonymously via letters and end up falling in love. The only difference is that this movie takes place during Christmastime in Budapest. It was also remade in 1946 as In the Good Old Summertime, which starred Judy Garland & Van Johnson.
Despite being inducted into the Library of Congress and being ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 romance movies of all-time, The Shop Around the Corner seems to take a backseat to many of Stewart’s better known films like It’s a Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Harvey, Vertigo, Rear Window and The Philadelphia Story.
I thought the final scene between Stewart and Sullavan was particularly great and touching. Definitely worth seeking out for anyone that’s a fan of holiday or romance movies.
Going My Way
1944, Paramount Pictures
Though the movie doesn’t take place solely around the holidays, it is often lumped into the holiday movie category because one of the film’s final scenes takes place on Christmas Eve and also due to performances of “Silent Night, Holy Night” and “Ave Maria”. The movie was released in May of 1944 though so the studio obviously wasn’t thinking about this being a holiday movie when they released.
In one of Bing’s best roles, he plays the young and unconventional Father O’Malley, who has just been appointed to a new parish. Old ideas and new ideas collide between O’Malley and the parish’s other more conservative pastor, Father Fitzgibbon.
This film really racked up at the Academy Awards. It was nominated for 10 awards and won 7, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Screenplay.