Happy Holidays

How many times can you watch Miracle on 34th Street? Settle down with one of these classics instead. (Click on the titles to read the full review)

NINOTCHKA

 

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French champagne. One sip and you’ll become a convert to capitalism. Trust me, it works.

There’s Greta Garbo’s humorless Soviet envoy, a model revolutionary if ever there was one. She believes in the righteousness of the cause and has nothing but contempt for the west. “The last mass trials were a great success,” she assures her three comrades.“There are going to be fewer but better Russians.”

Ah, but she is in Paris. Who can resist the charms of the city of light? Pour yourself a glass of bubbly and savor this delightful film.

IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT

 

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I read somewhere that Clark Gable’s talent was in playing himself. Fans lined up to see him, whatever the role, and they were never disappointed. Could he act? Ask me if I care. The version of himself he played in “It Happened One Night” was genuine, charming, and way too handsome for that control freak, Claudette Colbert.

“Cheerfully insolent” is the way a friend of mine describes Gable’s performance. Him I could imagine traveling with across the country or around the world. We’d probably end up going standby, and no doubt there’d be any number of mishaps along the way, but that would be part of the adventure. One thing for sure: we’d never be bored.

DOCTOR ZHIVAGO

 

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The soulful Egyptian heartthrob Omar Sharif plays a Russian and Doctor Zhivago was shot mostly in Spain by a British director, produced by an Italian. “Lara’s Theme,” the schmaltzy leitmotif that evokes the Julie Christie character, can still be heard in elevators today. But there’s lots of snow and that makes this a perfect Christmas epic in my book.