The past few post-Christmas days we’ve been watching heaps of Christmas movies of all varieties, from Hallmark trash (that I totally love), to some truly golden oldies. Here’s three new old films for you to see!
Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
Oh man, this movie is a blast. A single newspaper writer, who knows nothing about cooking, pretends to be a domestic goddess living with her husband and baby on a farm – and then has to pretend its all true when her boss invites himself and a war-hero to her farm for Christmas. Many antics and mishaps of course ensue! Don’t be put off by the first 10 minutes of the movie – for some reason it’s very bad! But as soon as we meet our pants-wearing heroine, we’re away 🙂
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
This charming film is sort of just set at Christmas time, rather than being an all out Christmas movie, so if subtle Christmas is your jam, this is the one for you! You’ve Got Mail was loosely based off this one, and although most of it is pretty different, there are a couple of scenes where the parallels are definitely noticeable! Of course, our love-struck pen-pals are writing to eachother by post rather than by email, and rather than owning competing businesses, they are bickering employees at a small notions shop in Budapest. Quirky and offbeat, this film is a gorgeous slice of life.
It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947)
This gorgeous film is a little bit lesser known than all the previous Christmas films – but it holds its own with charm aplenty! When the second richest man in the world leaves his mansion every winter to go to his Florida home, a homeless man named Aloysius T. McKeever moves in. Mr McKeever has never been found out – but this winter, he’s about to get many many house guests – including the owners themselves in disguise! This one is heart-warming and jolly and the perfect post-Christmas watch 🙂
That’s it for now, I hope you enjoy! Do you have any vintage Christmas faves? ❤
My parents and I have been watching some old Christmas films this week! Three: White Christmas, Holiday Inn, and Miracle on 34th Street. Here’s some stuff I thought and learned!
White Christmas (1954)
Okay, so this film was definitely the weakest of the bunch. It takes about the first half of the movie to get to the plot, and there isn’t all that much plot to be had once you do get to it 😛 It also is not where the song “White Christmas” actually originates from – it was written by Irving Berlin, and first sung by Bing Crosby, but for an earlier film, Holiday Inn (that’s coming up next 😉 ). The saddest thing about this film is that the part played by Danny Kane was supposed to be played by Donald O’Connor, who got sick just before filming, and couldn’t play the role. The part is clearly written for him, and I think his sense of humour would have made the film a little bit more memorable.
In spite of the lack of story, the it’s actually still fairly enjoyable watching, because the music and dancing really is lovely. “Count Your Blessings” and “Blue Skies” are both gorgeous Berlin originals, and this routine with Vera Ellen (which I assume was intended for Donald O’Connor too!) knocked my socks off:
Holiday Inn (1942)
This is the one the song “White Christmas” actually came from, and it is a lot like the film White Christmas… but good! It’s about a quirky inn that only opens on public holidays. It’s mostly a Christmas film (Christmas rolls around three times) but it’s also a bit of a New Year’s film and an Easter film and a Valentine’s day film and a Fourth of July film… and there’s a weird racist Lincoln Day bit that the movie would be better off without 😛 But otherwise, it’s witty and charming, Bing sings, Fred dances, and there are many enjoyable antics in the name of love! I couldn’t find a good video of it, but watch out for the firecracker dance scene – some of the finest tap you’ll ever see.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
I absolutely loved this one. It was powerful, endearing, heart-warming, and everything a Christmas film should be. It was also amazingly timeless – aside from the fact that it’s in black and white, while watching you quickly forget that its an old film. This is helped I think by it’s strong female lead – a divorced, solo parent, who has a well-paying job as a corporate events planner. In fact, it’s so ahead of its time that at the time of release, its feminist stance was considered morally offensive! In spite of this, it won the Academy Awards for both best original story and best screen play that year, and it really has stood the test of time to this day.
Here’s a great post that talks about this more if you’re interested 🙂
I also watched the 1994 version for research purposes, so I can tell you that the 1947 version is a hundred times more magical and powerful!! The new one has added drama, which doesn’t really improve it. But it does still have some lovely moments – I especially loved the scene where Santa signs to the deaf child, it’s still worth watching just for that beautiful interchange! And the little girl (the one from Matilda!) is absolutely charming.
That’s it for this week! Hope you’re having a wonderful December lovelies 💖
Meet my camera! There she is!! I think she needs a name, don’t you? Maybe Buttercup 🙂 She looks like a Buttercup I think. I bought a cute brown faux leather case online, and it came with these *excitingggg* colourful lenses! So for this pack of film I took two photos using each lens: blue, red, yellow, green and the close up/selfie lens from top to bottom!
The photos using the red and green lenses seem to have come out quite dark, BUT that’s probably just random chance, since I’m quite capable of taking two underexposed photos in a row! 😅 So watch this space for further testing! Anyway, I quite like the red ones. They’re meant to be of the sky and of a rose… but they came out quite artsy HAHA 😛 The blue lens is really pretty and vibrant. And the yellow is so dreamy! The yellow lens is definitely my favourite. I love how it gave the lemon tree a sort of sepia look, and turned the beach sunset into liquid gold 🙂 Will definitely be doing more experimenting with these lenses, they’re super fun!
Mostly blunders, but a couple of good shots! And I kind of love the blunders, you know? There’s just something about such a tactile and unpredictable medium – even the bad shots have a sort of uniqueness about them. I’m starting a little album of “bad” photos – there’s so much to learn from them, and I think they’re fun to look back on 🙂
When I left Singapore to come home to New Zealand, I felt a bit flat. I wasn’t in a great place, and ending my exchange early because I got whammied with depression definitely wasn’t how I planned things!! It sort of felt like my lovely adventure was just fizzling out. The day before I came home, my lovely boyfriend took me out on a mystery adventure – which turned out to be to buy a Polaroid Instax 8 camera, in glorious pastel yellow 😊 I’ve been coveting one of these beauties for years, but always dismissed it as a luxury that I couldn’t really afford. But it turns out, it’s been much more than a luxury item. It’s given me something new to learn and a new lens to see my home environment through. It’s given me a sense of adventure in being at home.
I’m on to my third pack of film now, so I’m blogging these a bit belatedly, but I wanted to share these experiences with you. Both the pictures that turned out well, and the ones that we’ll just call learning experiences 😉
#1: This photo of the sky turned out so well! Beginner’s luck 😛
#2: Tried to take a mirror photo so that I could take a photo of the camera… But this camera has a flash that you can’t turn off! So this one was definitely a learning experience 😛
#3 & #4 are the beach on two different days… ahh exposure, you fickle friend. Still working on finding that inbetween! I’m learning that the late afternoon can be a little bit tricky. The rest of the day the automatic settings are pretty reliable, but towards late afternoon a slightly higher exposure than what the camera recommends seems to work a little better!
#5: I tried to take a photo of the pretty breakfast Mum made for me – but the focus ended up landing on a chair in the background! 😅 Still learning about distancing from objects and where the camera throws the focus!
#6: So happy with this one of some roses my Dad bought for me 🙂 They look so dramatic!
#7: This one of my Nana and Grandad is my absolute favourite so far ❤
#8: Another roses photo in which I attempted a close up. It’s arty? 🙂
#9: If you look reaaaally closely, you might be able to spot my bear Puds!
#10: Another beach shot full of learning!
And that’s all for now in adventures in instant photography with Sarah! Tune in next time for MONSTERS INC 😛
I recently found and fell completely in love with the for some reason little known Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor film, Down With Love. If you haven’t seen that movie, which you most likely haven’t, just go watch that like right now. Upon reading more about Down With Love, I found out that it was inspired by films from the 1960s in a genre called “sex comedies” which sounds TERRIBLY risque but DON’T WORRY they are just poorly labelled! The big stars of this genre were Doris Day (see! It’s okay!) and Rock Hudson, who starred in three big sex comedy hits together. I would fully recommend watching Down With Love and Pillow Talk in succession, cause it’s pretty cool to understand all the references! You will feel so knowledgeable! And also they are both very funny, so you will feel happy and have a good time 😄 Also FEMINISM, QUICK WIT, VERY FANCY INTERIOR DESIGN, and THE BEST hats and coats you ever did see!
Cool thing of note: Tony Randall, who plays the best friend in Pillow Talk, has a great cameo as the big boss in Down With Love 🙂
Add these rollicking gems to the top of your to-watch list, I promise you they will not disappoint!
Paris When It Sizzles (1964)
THIS FILM IS AN ABSOLUTE JOY 😍 I have no idea how I’d never seen this beauty of a film starring Audrey Hepburn and William Holden, but somehow I had not! It’s a deliciously joyful romp of a time about a film within a film, where imaginary escapades ensue involving master thieves, pet giraffes, vampires, the Eiffel Tower and parcheesi.
I’ve decided to go on a bit of a mission to watch more old films – cause there are SO MANY that I haven’t seen, and I feel like there are so many favourites out there that I just haven’t met yet! Old movies make me happy, and I am trying to actively cultivate happy things at the moment. Plus it feels like I am accomplishing something by learning about vintage fashions and culture and everything, and learning makes me happy! My parents and I watched FIVE old movies this last week! Pretty good start if you ask me 😉
Monkey Business (1952)
This was a hilarious romp of a time (Wikipedia says it’s genre is “screwball comedy” which seems to be to be a great genre) with cool people in it, and a monkey who does some very advanced science. It was very silly and fun! I didn’t really know Cary Grant before this movie, but he has a really cool accent and I enjoyed that a lot. Apparently this is called a transatlantic or mid-atlantic accent – a sort of British-American mixture that nobody really spoke unless they were very rich or in theatre. So everybody was kind of faking this accent to seem fancy, but Cary Grant spoke this way a tiny bit more naturally than most, because he was born in England and only moved to America when he was 16. Anyway, I discovered that Cary Grant is pretty cool, so most of the other movies we saw this week had Cary Grant in them 😛
You can read more about the weirdness of the trans-atlantic accent here if you’re super keen 😉
This one wasn’t really the best hahaha but it was still entertaining! There are multiple storylines but they all just play out in sequence rather than being interwoven in any way, so it’s sort of like many short stories, rather than a Love Actually situation. There is a lot of bickering. The best bit is when Marilyn is overjoyed not to be married! She’s just fabulous. Cary Grant is not in this movie.
Sophia Loren is charming, and Cary Grant plays a bit of an idiot, but he gets it together in the end. This movie was made fantastic by the hilarious youngest child, Robert, who is an absolute gem and tells everybody what is what. It’s worth watching just to see this kid in action. Sophia Loren also teaches us how to keep your cool when somebody buys you a tacky dress as a mean present: just take the giant flowers off it, and turn it into a knockout, and it will all backfire on them. Also in this film, Sophia Loren teaches us a great song called “Bing! Bang! Bong!”. So really, there is a lot to learn from this movie!
And here is the Bing! Bang! Bong! song:
Bringing up Baby (1938)
I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS MOVIE. Katherine Hepburn manages about a million words a minute, Cary Grant is a paleontologist, and Baby is actually the name of a very talented leopard actor who plays both a tame leopard and a mean leopard. It’s disastrous the entire way through and just very, very funny. According to wikipedia, this is another “screwball comedy”. Wikipedia has also informed me that one of the main features of screwball comedies is that they have strong female leads. I have decided I am a big fan.
At the time, this movie was totally dismissed. It was such a flop that Katherine Hepburn got labelled as “box office poison” until her later success with The Philadelphia Story, when she became all the rage again. In more recent times however, it has won many accolades and is now considered one of the all-time comedy greats.
I’ve been an enormous fan of the 1956 musical remake of this film, High Society, for a very long time, and have been meaning to get around to watching the original for quite a while! Watching Katherine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby reminded me to watch it… and to my surprise, on finding the movie, I realised it also starred Cary Grant! What an excellent coincidence.
This film is gorgeous, and High Society is a very very close remake, so it felt very familiar! Their scripts are almost identical. Although I think High Society is still my MOST favourite, it’s really a very very close call! I mean, Katherine Hepburn vs. Grace Kelly?! Cary Grant vs. Bing Crosby?! James Stewart vs. Frank Sinatra?! It’s really not possible to choose! High Society however also has the fabulous Louis Armstrong, and substitutes jazz music for alcoholism, so for me it justttt takes the cake 😉
Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn’s on-screen chemistry is magic, and their comedic timing stellar. Turns out they were in two more romantic comedies together – so those are definitely on my to watch list!
That’s it for this week in old movies!
tl;dr – screwball comedies are the TOPS; Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Sophia Loren and Marilyn are always ever amazing; go watch Bringing Up Baby, you will not regret it 😉