Hohoho it’s almost Christmas and we’ve got some special articles about Christmas Movies for you.. This week we’ve got our special Conmose Christmas Week and we thought we’d start with highlighting two of my personal favorites...
It's a Wonderful Life
Let’s start with what is, in my opinion, one of the best Christmas Movies out there: “It’s Wonderful Life”. For me this is the ultimate feel good movie. The story revolves around George Bailey (James Stewart), a compassionate man who has sacrificed his whole life helping the less fortunate people of his home town: Bedford Falls. George has always dreamt of travelling the world and accomplishing great things, like building bridges and skyscrapers. Unfortunately he never got the chance to. His father and his uncle run a small Building and Loan Company that finances the mortgages for the people of Bedford Falls. They are in constant battle with the extremely rich and evil Mr. Potter. He owns almost everything in town and wants to put the Bailey Company out of business, so he can own the whole town. When George’s father dies of a stroke, he is has to take over the family business to prevent Mr. Potter from liquidating it, forcing him to give up his dreams of travelling to Europe. One thing after another keeps coming up and with each thing George has to sacrifice more and more of his dreams. He even has to give up his honeymoon, because of a banking crisis. He has to give up his honeymoon money to solve the problems. On the morning before Christmas, Uncle Billy leaves for the bank to make an $8000 deposit, but he loses the money. Mr. Potter finds the money and hides it. When George realizes what happened he knows the business will be bankrupt and he thinks he will go to jail. This drives him to think that his wife and kids are better off without him and he decides to commit suicide. At this moment guardian angel Clarence shows up to show George how the lives of his loved ones would be if George would never have been born…
It’s a great story and I must have watched this movie a million times and every time I do it gives me a great feeling. Here are some great quotes from “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Clarence: “No man is a failure who has friends”
George: You... you said... what'd you say a minute ago? They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait? Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they're so old and broken down that they... Do you know how long it takes a working man to save $5,000? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you're talking about... they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn't think so. People were human beings to him. But to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they're cattle. Well in my book, my father died a much richer man than you'll ever be!”
Mr. Potter: George, I am an old man, and most people hate me. But I don't like them either so that makes it all even.
Mr. Emil Gower: [George is whistling to himself] George! George!
Little George: Yes sir.
Mr. Emil Gower: You're not paid to be a canary!
Uncle Billy: Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! I feel so good I could spit in Potter's eye! I think I will, I think I will!
Zuzu Bailey: Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.
George Bailey: That's right, that's right.
George Bailey: [Looks up] Atta boy, Clarence
Clarence: Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?
Another one of my favorite Christmas movies is “Scrooged” (1988), starring the wonderful Bill Murray. I think almost everyone knows the classic (Charles Dickens) story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the three ghosts and the movie Scrooged tells this same story, but set in the New York of the 1980’s. Bill Murray plays Frank Cross, an immensely selfish, ruthless and cynical director of a TV station. The network is planning on airing an extremely extravagant live adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” on Christmas’ eve. Because of this he forces his employees to work on this evening, denying them the chance to spend it with their families. Since Frank hasn’t really had a pleasant childhood, he lacks the whole Christmas spirit. And then Frank gets a visit from three ghosts (Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future)…
I love this movie and I particularly like Bill Murray in the role of the arrogant Frank Cross. Just watch it and find out for yourselves. First let me tell you some fun facts about “Scrooged”.
- Director Richard Donner had his doubts about turning the classic “A Christmas Carol” into a comedy.
- All three of Bill Murray’s brothers play a role in the movie “Scrooged”. John Murray plays James Cross, Brian Doyle Murray plays Earl Cross and Joel Murray plays a small role as a guest.
- Danny Elfman’s soundtrack of the movie wasn’t released until 2011.
- Carol Kane plays the role of the Ghost of Christmas Present and she is pretty physically abusive towards Frank. At one point she had to grab Murray’s lip, but she was a little bit too enthusiastic. Kane tore the piece of skin that connects the gums to the lip. They had to stop filming, to give Murray time to heal.
- “Scrooged” was Murray’s first movie since “Ghostbusters” He had been living in Paris for some time and apparently seriously considered giving up acting. Richard Donner says Scrooged is the movie that made Murray an actor.
- During the restaurant scene there is a close up of Bill Murray’s watch. The date on it is November 23. This is pretty strange, because the story is set on Christmas Eve (December 24). November 23, however, is the date of the film’s US Theatrical release.
- The tagline of the movie is: "Bill Murray is back among the ghosts, only this time, it's three against one". This of course is a reference to “Ghostbusters”.
- In the end scene of the movie Frank shouts out the sentence “Feed me Seymour”, a reference to the giant man-eating plant in “Little Shop of Horrors”. This is one of Murray’s previous movies.