20 December 2017
Let Us Have a Happy Christmas Indeed, from Hollywood
I've written on It's a Wonderful Life in the past, but today I refer you to this wonderful piece by Taki Theodoracopulos on a few classic Hollywood Christmas films and just, the general, you know, wonderfulness of this wonderful time of year. Excerpts:
Is there anything not to like about Christmas? The answer is a resounding NO, and I include the secular sham that goes with it, expensive trees and cheap pink paper and maddening shopping. The birth of our Lord Jesus came in handy on his 1914th birthday, when the German and British troops called a halt to the slaughter and played football instead. (The high command should have followed the troops’ example, but they ordered the mayhem to continue from the warmth of their various castles.) Even Hollywood used to—I say used to—get into the spirit of Christmas and made films that warmed the heart and spread good cheer.
My favorite film about Christmas is the old classic Miracle on 34th Street. Eight-year-old Susan, played by the wonderful Natalie Wood—in 1947, when the movie was made, she was around 8 years old—has been brought up by a no-nonsense mother, the beautiful Maureen O’Hara, and the child is in deep need of a little Christmas magic. Well, you know the rest: A department-store Santa (played by Edmund Gwenn) whose real name is Kris Kringle incites the company to adopt his policy of directing customers to other stores when their needs cannot be met by Macy’s, the store that employs him.
The film is all about believing in magic, if you will. In the courtroom scene, R.H. Macy himself makes an appearance and proclaims that Kris Kringle is Santa Claus, no ifs or buts about it. The film got rave reviews, won three Oscars, and was praised for its ingenuity, humor, and spirit.
Magic and Christmas go together, as well they should. The films I mentioned appeal to all ages, because adults need magic in their dull lives as much as children do. I’ve never lost the feeling of excitement and expectation that comes with Christmas. I suppose it’s because of the nine years I spent in boarding school, when Christmas meant liberation from the drudgery of learning. This is why I hate modern movies with the passion that I do. Today, even cartoons from the Disney Channel with animated characters make crass and nasty comments. While parents try to instill principles of kindness, politeness, and respect to the little ones, movies give them a regular dose of horrible bloodshed, vulgar swearing, and unspeakable violence.
And with the advent of the internet, things have gotten far, far worse. Christmas offers a wonderful illusion of community and love of fellow man, and it’s been around for quite a long time. Let’s keep it this way. A very happy Christmas to you all.