Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My Favorite Christmas Movies & Writing

Ever since I researched 1940s Hollywood for Stars in the Night, I've been a bigger fan than ever of classic movies. Growing up, my favorite movies were from the 30s and 40s...that hasn't changed. There's something I love about the simplicity of that time that shines through in movies that make me laugh and feel. So today I thought I'd share a few of my favorites.

Movies are a great way to learn how to write great dialogue and chacterization. Watching these actually counts as writing research!
  1. White Christmas: I adore this relatively simple story set during the post WWII years. I love the theme of honoring those we admire...even at great cost to ourselves. The ending scene with the general makes me tear up every time. And hearing Bing Crosby croon White Christmas? And Danny Kaye is the perfect comedic foil. Sing with me "Sisters, Sisters...." Perfection! My family adores this movie.
  2. Holiday Inn: This is more than a Christmas movie because it features 13 Irving Berlin songs that are set around the holidays. Fred Astaire's fire cracker dance has always been a favorite of mine, but I love the theme of letting a loved one go so they can chase their dream. Happy sigh.
  3. It Happened on 5th Avenue: I shocked some folks last year, because I'd never seen this movie. Oh my! They were all right. I love it! It's the story of a rich girl who stumbles on some homeless men who are living in her father's seasonally abandoned mansion in NYC. She joins them and their friends, and before long her dad and mom have joined them -- while pretending to be people other than they are. This is a story of realizing the hold things and money can have on us and turning instead to the value of people. A beautiful story.
  4. It's a Wonderful Life: I have to admit that I watched this so many times growing up, it lost some of its appeal. But my husband loves this movie, and it's growing on me again. Who hasn't felt like their dreams died and in the process their life didn't matter. I love the way this story shows the long-lasting impact we can have on people without realizing it. The imagining what life would be like without us. It's a definite keeper and one to watch each year for the reminders that we do matter -- even when we feel like our story has no meaning or value.
Is there a favorite holiday go-to movie in your family?
By the way, have you met The Grove? We're doing a massive giveaway and I'd love to have you join us! You can learn more about the giveaway here. Merry Christmas!


An award-winning author of twenty books, Cara is a lecturer on business and employment law to graduate students at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Putman also practices law and is a second-generation homeschooling mom. She lives with her husband and four children in Indiana.


Jeanne Takenaka said...

Cara, I see we have similar tastes in movies. I love three of the four you mentioned, and i haven't seen, "It Happened on Fifth Avenue," yet. :) I watched Holiday Inn and White Christmas this past week. The dialogue si wonderful. I always laugh at "Shortcut to the shortcut," from Gus in Holiday Inn, and when Linda Mason drives Lilah into the swamp. :)

Our family watches two movies every year; "The Muppets Christmas Carol" and "The Nativity Story."

If you haven't seen, "Going My Way," yet with Bing Crosby, you need to. :)

Have a wonderful CHRISTmas, Cara!

Cara Putman said...

It Happened on Fifth Avenue was one of our happy discoveries a couple years ago. It's a new favorite.

Anonymous said...

I love White Christmas & It's a Wonderful Life. They are staples here--White Christmas is what we watch Black Friday night after decorating the house for Christmas.
A few other staples for us are all those old-time clay-mation holiday specials like Rudolph, The Year without a Santa Claus, Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, etc.