As we're now in the midst of the holiday season, we asked our friend Mary Mallory - who co-wrote the book Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays: 1920-1970 with Karie Bible - to share her five favorite Christmas movies. Her list ranges from classic films to modern animation masterpieces. What are your favorite programs to watch during the holidays?
1) Meet Me in St. Louis (1944, above) - Though this beautiful classic film features holidays throughout the year, it culminates at Christmas time and pulls at the emotions with Judy Garland's sensitive, touching performance of the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Though the song is a tad melancholic, it reminds us of family gathering to celebrate the joy of the season.
2) It's a Wonderful Life (1946) - Another classic film that pulls at the emotions with its slightly dark nature, but it reminds us of the value of giving and serving others as well as the value we each bring to others' lives, highlighted by Jimmy Stewart's emotional, sensitive performance.
3) A Christmas Story (1983) - A nostalgic look at a kid's joyful anticipation of Christmas and the present he lovingly fantasizes about. It features goofy but touching humor with his inventive devious attempts to convince his parents to buy him the Red Ryder gun. And of course when his brother sticks his tongue to a pole on a dare, freezing to it as a result.
4) How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) - Though it's only a 30 minute television special, this 1966 show has always appealed to me with its creative animation, fun songs, especially the witty lyrics of "He's a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," sung by the inimitable Thurl Ravenscroft. And of course for Boris Karloff's rich, vocal performance as the Grinch.
5) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) - An inviting hybrid combining Tim Burton's anarchic design and Henry Selick's sweet spirit, this feature has lavish production design, entertaining and delightful Danny Elfman songs, in a fairy tale that takes a slight walk on the dark side before it reveals the joys of the season.