Sunday, December 25, 2011
Starring Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Jack Wardeb, Peter Gallagher, Peter Boyle, Glynis Johns, Micole Mercurio, and Ally Walker. Directed by Jon Turteltaub. Lucy Moderatz is a lonely token collector on the Chicago Transit Authority who has a secret crush on a handsome commuter named Peter Callaghan. On Christmas day, she rescues him from an oncoming train after a mugger pushes him onto the tracks. He falls into a coma, and she accompanies him to the hospital, where a nurse overhears her musing aloud, "I was going to marry him." Misinterpreting her, the nurse tells his family that she is his fiancée. At first she is too caught up in the panic to explain the truth. She winds up keeping the secret for a number of reasons: she is embarrassed, Peter's grandmother has a heart condition, and she quickly comes to love being a part of Peter's big and loving family.
Starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Catherine O'Hara, John Candy, and Roberts Blossom. Directed by Chris Columbus. An eight-year-old boy is mistakenly left behind when his family flies to Paris for their Christmas vacation. While initially relishing time by himself, he is later greeted by two would-be burglars who he eventually manages to outwit with a series of booby traps.
Starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid, John Randolph, Diane Ladd, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Doris Roberts, E.G. Marshall, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, Brian Doyle-Murray, William Hickey, and Mae Questel. Directed by Jeremiah Checkik. Clark Griswold has really got the Christmas spirit this year and his wife Ellen, son Rusty, and daughter Audrey have noticed that. On a quest for "The Griswold Family Christmas Tree," Clark has planned a "good, old-fashioned family Christmas." His family is wary of his plans, but Clark is oblivious. Clark has invited Ellen's parents, his own parents, and his elderly aunt and uncle to spend the holidays at the Griswold house in Chicago. But in spite of all his good intentions and careful planning, Clark's Christmas plans start to go awry.
Starring Jim Varney, Gailard Sartain, Billie Bird, Oliver Clark, Douglas Seale, and Noelle Parker. Directed by John R. Cherry III. Obnoxious and bumbling but well-meaning Ernest P. Worrell attempts to help Santa Claus find a successor. Failure would mean that there would be no Christmas.
Starring Peter Billingsley, Darren McGavin, and Melinda Dillon. Directed by Bob Clark. Nine-year-old Ralphie Parker wants only one thing for Christmas: a Red Ryder BB Gun with a compass in the stock, and "this thing which tells time" (a sundial). While using various schemes to convince his parents to get him this gift he continually bumps into objections from others saying, "You'll shoot your eye out."
Starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen, Dean Jagger, and Mary Wickes. Directed by Michael Curtiz. Nightclub entertainers Bob and Phil and singing-sister act Betty and Judy travel to Vermont to visit Bob and Phil's WII commanding officer, General Waverly, who now runs a rustic old inn. Discovering that the general is in dire financial straits, the four entertainers secretly make plans to bail him out with a big musical show, enlisting the aid of Bob and Phil's army buddies.
Starring Maureen O'Hara, Natalie Wood, Edmund Gwenn, John Payne, William Frawley, Gene Lockhart, Jerome Cowan, Thelma Ritter, Percy Helton, and Porter Hall. Directed by George Seaton. Kris Kringle is indignant to find that the person assigned to play Santa in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is intoxicated. When he complains to event director Doris Walker, she persuades Kris to take his place. He does such a fine job that he is hired to be the Santa for Macy's flagship New York City store on 34th Street. Ignoring instructions to steer parents to goods that Macy's sells, Kris directs one shopper to another store for a fire engine for her son that Macy's does not have. She is so impressed she tells the head of the toy department that she will become a loyal customer. Kris later informs another mother that archrival Gimbels has better skates for her daughter. Fred Gailey, an attorney and neighbor of Doris, is babysitting the young divorcee's six-year-old daughter Susan and takes her to see Kris. When Doris finds out, she asks Kris to tell Susan that he is not really Santa Claus, but Kris surprises her by insisting he is.
Starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Henry Travers, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Ward Bond, Beulah Bondi, Gloria Grahame, H.B. Warner, Frank Faylen, Charles Lane, Jimmy Hawkins, and Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer. Directed by Frank Capra. Attempting to commit suicide on Christmas Eve, a man is rescued by a guardian angel and shown what his hometown would be like had he never lived.
Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Sydney Greenstreet, S.Z. Sakall, Reginald Gardiner, and Dick Elliott. Directed by Peter Godfrey. Desperate for some real food, the survivor of a U-boat sinking pretends to be in love with his nurse, and it works. In fact, it works so well that she is prepared to marry him. As a way of escaping her attention, the soldier tells her that he's never really known what a real home is like. Determined to see the engagement through, the nurse reads an article in a housekeeping magazine by Elizabeth Lane, who writes about her life on a Connecticut farm with her husband and baby. She is a model of domesticity — a gourmet cook admired by housewives across the country. Mary decides to write to the publishing magnate, Alexander Yardley, asking if her fiance can spend Christmas on Mrs. Lane's Connecticut farm, and Mr. Yardley, sensing a public relations boon, supports the idea wholeheartedly. There is only one problem with the idea: Elizabeth Lane is not what she appears to be. In reality, she lives in a small apartment in New York City, is unmarried, and cannot cook.
Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beaulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, and Sterling Holloway. Directed by Mitchell Leisen. A young woman is arrested during the Christmas holidays for trying to shoplift a bracelet from a New York jewelry shop. The Assistant District Attorney assigned to prosecute herhe has the trial postponed until after the holidays and generously posts her bail so she does not have to spend Christmas in jail. Discovering that she is a fellow Hoosier from Indiana, he offers to drop her off on his way to visit his mother.
Starring Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart, June Lockhart, Ann Rutherford, and Leo G. Carroll. Directed by Edwin L. Marin. Elderly miser Ebenezer Scrooge learns the error of his ways on Christmas Eve when he reflects on his past, present and future collectively, whereupon the mean old miser undergoes a radical change of heart and is awakened on Christmas morning a changed man.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Character actor Harry Morgan, best known for playing Colonel Potter in the long-running television series “M*A*S*H”, died on Wednesday morning at his home in Los Angeles. He was 96. In more than 100 movies, he played Western bad guys, characters with names like Rocky and Shorty, loyal sidekicks, judges, sheriffs, soldiers, thugs and police chiefs.
On television, he played Officer Bill Gannon who provided a light touch to Jack Webb’s always-by-the-book Sgt. Joe Friday in the updated “Dragnet,” from 1967 to 1970. He starred as Pete Porter, a harried husband, in the situation comedy “Pete and Gladys” (1960-62), reprising a role he had played on “December Bride” (1954-59). He was also a regular on “The Richard Boone Show” (1963-64), “Kentucky Jones” (1964-65), “The D.A.” (1971-72), “Hec Ramsey” (1972-74) and “Blacke’s Magic” (1986).
But to many fans he was first and foremost Col. Sherman T. Potter, commander of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital unit in Korea. With a wry smile, flat voice and sharp humor, Harry Morgan played Colonel Potter from 1975 to 1983, when “M*A*S*H” went off the air. He replaced McLean Stevenson , who had quit the series, moving into the role on the strength of his performance as a crazed major general in an early episode.