In the same way that I adore a bit of holiday kitsch in my reading, I am a sucker for a good black-and-white seasonal film. (I’m also completely powerless over the Hallmark holiday movies and I’m probably sunk in a torpor in front of Netflix as you’re reading this.) Here are some of my must-views of December:
*HOLIDAY. Not the Kate Winslet/Cameron Diaz/Jude Law thing but the utterly fabulous Katharine Hepburn/Cary Grant film. Worth watching for Hepburn’s affinity for a stuffed giraffe alone. It’s not as sweet as you’d think; it’s like my favorite chocolate cookies which are spiced with cayenne–it has an edge that makes the sweetness all the tastier.
*CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT. The original with Barbara Stanwyck. Enchanting in so very many ways. It even has a COW.
*THE LION IN WINTER. I’ve mentioned before that this is my go-to film when I’m wrapping presents. I start with Eleanor of Aquitaine’s arrival at the Christmas court and wrap all the way through the climactic dungeon scene. Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn are unspeakably glorious in this, and whatever your family difficulties, hey, at least y’all aren’t trying to stab each other, right?
*THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL. The definitive version, in my opinion. No one else will give you singing cabbages, of which I think Dickens himself would have heartily approved.
*BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: THE ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS. I raised a Disney child, so I make no apologies for this. But the songs are hideously catchy–you’ll be humming them through Epiphany.
*TUNA CHRISTMAS. Never shown on TV, available only through a spendy DVD, this is the follow-up to GREATER TUNA, a tale of small-town life in rural Texas. This is the filmed stage show, and the gimmick is that two actors play all of the parts, to tremendous and hilarious effect. I never watch it without a pang of homesickness for all things Texan.