Tag Archives: Danny Kaye

Great Christmas Films To Watch This Season

Hey everybody! Christmas is coming up on us fast, which means it is time to deck the halls and set up the Nativity scenes. To spread a little more Christmas cheer, I thought a list of Christmas films was in order.

Here’s a look at the movies I like to watch to get in the Christmas spirit:

Related imageThe Muppet Christmas Carol

This is the Christmas film I have watched since I was a tyke. Christmas is never complete for me without at least one viewing of The Muppet Christmas Carol. It is a fun movie all around – and it is best viewed, in my ‘umble opinion, in the lead up to Christmas Day.

Related imageRise of the Guardians

Okay, technically, the story in Rise of the Guardians is set three days before Easter. It has nothing to do with Christmas except for snow, Santa Claus (North in the film), and a lot of presents.

Still, this is a great movie, and it is well within the spirit of Christmas. It may not be truly seasonal, but I feel I can recommend curling up with the family to watch this movie during the Christmas season – before or after Christmas Day. Either time in December works.

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The Polar Express

Now this film has a much stronger claim to the Christmas season than Rise of the Guardians. It is perfect Christmas fare. The songs for this film are also really good. My personal favorite is When Christmas Comes to Town.

Of course, children will not be the only ones to get a kick out of the The Polar Express. It is a pity they do not make musicals in live action films the way they used to; now, one has to look for great song and dance sequences in animated films. Do not misunderstand – I like the animated routines just fine. But what is wrong with live actors and actresses dancing and singing on screen?

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A Charlie Brown Christmas

My best memory of this show is when the Peanuts gang re-decorates Charlie Brown’s pathetic little fir tree. When Charlie Brown returns, the gang shouts “Merry Christmas!” and sings one of the best renditions of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing ever recorded. This is probably one of the reasons why that particular carol has always been one of my favorites. A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of the best films ever made for this season. But you needn’t take my word for it – just watch it yourself!

Image result for frozenFrozen

Yes, I know. Disney’s Frozen has an even slighter claim to the Christmas season than Rise of the Guardians. It takes place in the middle of summer, for cryin’ out loud! And everybody has already written practically everything there is to write about it!

All true, readers, but the fact is that I promised a friend I would list this film with my Christmas favorites. And Frozen is a great family film, so it will also be on many a Christmas entertainment menu this year and beyond.

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White Christmas

 I suppose it is no surprise that Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye’s White Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas films of all time. The movie follows Crosby and Kaye, whose characters are World War II veterans turned successful song and dance performers. The two meet a sister act who also have a song and dance routine and are headed to a Vermont hotel to work for the proprietor.

Almost right away, Crosby and Rosemary Clooney’s character fall for each other. But when the four reach Vermont, they find everything warm and sunny when everyone was expecting – naturally – snow!

At the hotel, Crosby and Kaye find their former general from World War II is the owner. What is more, the lack of snow has led to no customers for the former general, who is on the verge of losing his establishment.

I will avoid spoiling the rest of the film for you, readers. All I will say is that this is a fun Christmas movie, with great songs performed by some of the best singers from a golden era. White Christmas is essential viewing for the season, in this writer’s view. If you get a chance to see it, give it a try. I doubt it will disappoint!

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It’s a Wonderful Life

Anyone who has watched NCIS from the beginning knows that a viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life was a Christmas tradition in Very Special Agent Tony DiNozzo’s immediate family. I have only seen this film (all the way through, at least) once in recent memory.

Starring one of my favorite actors from Hollywood’s “old guard,” Jimmy Stewart, It’s a Wonderful Life tells how the owner of a small-town savings and loan company runs into severe financial trouble. At this crisis, the worst Stewart’s character has ever faced, the audience is shown just how much difference one life can make in the world. While Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a reminder to the well-off and comfortable to use their gifts for the good of others, It’s a Wonderful Life reminds viewers of the importance of living, period.

Image result for Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol and The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe, with Matt Smith as The Doctor

Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol and The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe, with Matt Smith as The Doctor

Doctor Who is not among the top ten of my favorite shows to watch. However, I did develop a fondness for Matt Smith’s Doctor through these two Christmas specials. The first, Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol, retells Dickens’ classic as only the loony writers for The Doctor’s series can, while the next Christmas special, The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe, takes its name from the famous second book of C.S. Lewis’ Narnian ChroniclesImage result for Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol and The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe, with Matt Smith as The Doctor

Of the two, The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe has more laughs in it than A Christmas Carol. I definitely recommend you find and watch these shows, even if you are not a Doctor Who fan. I was not, and am not, a Whovian but I enjoy these particular shows no end!

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We’re No Angels

The original We’re No Angels with Peter Ustinov, Humphrey Bogart, and Aldo Ray is great fun. I will avoid giving you spoilers on this film, readers. Suffice it to say, do not buy or borrow the remake this Christmas. When it comes to this film, it ought to be the original or bust!

Well, there you have it, readers. These are some of my favorite films to view during the Christmas season. I have left out some great tales in this list, but I do not want to overwhelm anyone! It is a short list full of the Spirit of Christmas – small, and seemingly insignificant, but more beautiful than any jewel, and true as the Star that guides us all.

Merry Christmas, readers!

The Mithril Guardian

A Jest

The Court Jester

The film I am writing about today is called The Court Jester.  The movie is, by today’s standards, a very old film.  But, as I have probably made clear by now, my tastes are free-ranging in the entertainment world.  If I like something, I like it.

In other cases, as with certain genres or comics – I mean, books – I simply go overboard, which anyone who has read my blog can say with surety.

The Court Jester is a 1950’s comedy based on the Robin Hood legend.  The film stars actor Danny Kaye as Hawkins, an entertainer for the Black Fox’s band of ‘merry men.’  The Black Fox, like Robin Hood, is fighting a man who has usurped the throne of the true King of England.

However, unlike Robin Hood, the Black Fox appears to be in for a long wait before the rightful king can return to take the throne.  You see, the rightful king of England is an infant in the keeping of the Black Fox and his Sherwood Forest-style friends.  When Hawkins is not entertaining the rebels with his song and dance routines (which are a lot of fun, and occur throughout the film), he is stuck playing nanny to the infant King.

This is very awkward for him for two reasons.  One, it makes him look silly in front of the Black Fox’s right-hand woman, Maid Jean (played by Glynis Johns, the mother in Disney’s Mary Poppins).  Hawkins, as you may have guessed, is desperately in love with Maid Jean.  But since he is nothing but a humble entertainer and she a tough, sword swinging rebel, it does not appear that he has any hope of winning her hand in marriage.

The other embarrassing thing about being delegated to caregiver of the baby King is that the true king can only be recognized by the royal family birthmark, called the Purple Pimpernel.  And guess where that is located on the infant King.

Yup.  Underneath his royal diaper!

The Court Jester also stars Basil Rathbone as the Usurper King’s right-hand man, similar to Count Rugen’s position in relation to Prince Humperdink in The Princess Bride.  Except that Rathbone’s character has more sway over the Usurper King than Count Rugen had over Humperdink.  Another great name in the film is Angela Lansbury, who plays the Usurper’s daughter.  While her father is trying to have her marry a nobleman whom she wants nothing to do with, Miss Lansbury’s character is determined to become betrothed to a different man.

So when her old witch-nurse decides to snare Hawkins for her princess – Holy High Jinks, Batman!  Step back, because the ceiling on your laughter is about to get a raise!

The larks never stop in this movie, which has to be one of the best films of the 1950’s era.  Even though I have seen the movie several times now, by the end, my face hurts because I have been smiling and laughing from start to finish!  The Court Jester is a great film “for kids, from one to ninety-two.”  If you can, find a copy, plug it in, sit back, and enjoy!

  Later,

The Mithril Guardian