Grahame N's Web Pages


A Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!


A music choice! Click on the tune you want to hear whilst you read these dreadful Christmas Cracker jokes:-

Silent Night ...... Hark the Herald Angels Sing ....... The First Noel ...... Oh Christmas Tree ...... Auld Lang Syne

Once In Royal David's City ....... Good King Wenceslas ....... O Come All Ye Faithfull ....... Away In A Manger

( If the Christmas tree stops twinkling when you start the music, just click 'Refresh'; and
if the 'new look' Windows Media player fills your whole screen, just click its 'Minimise' button)


 

Christmas Entertainment
Music

 

Over the years Christmas has been the time for music - originally Carols - mostly associated with the church. Later, music in general turned to themes about Christmas once that month of December had arrived.

So here goes - first a reminder of all those Christmas Carols:

"Away In A Manger"

"The First Noel"

"Good King Wenceslas"

"Hark The Herald Angels Sing"

"The Holly And The Ivy"

"Joy To The World"

"O Come All Ye Faithfull"

"O Little Town Of Bethlehem"

"Once In Royal David's City"

"Silent Night"

"While Shepherds Watched"

Now to the general Christmas music:

"White Christmas" 78rpm record

Tbe first song that came to mind was "White Christmas" - written by Irving Berlin for the 1942 American film "Holiday Inn" which featured Bing Crosby singing this number - and the scan above is a 1942 hit record release - a genuine 10 inch 78rpm (revs per minute) rather brittle shellac pressing, found in a box upstairs and no doubt purchased by my dad at the time. The tune topped the hit parade charts in October 1942 and stayed for an amazing eleven weeks! No doubt later on vinyl, then CD and now MP3 download!

"White Christmas" - (Irving Berlin - USA 1942) - Bing Crosby

"Blue Christmas" - (US 1957) - Elvis Presley

"The Christmas Song" (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)

"Do They Know It's Christmas?" - (UK 1964/1985/2007 ) - Band Aid

"Driving Home for Christmas" - (UK 1984) - Chris Rea

"Frosty the Snowman"- (Walter Rollins/Steve Nelson - US 1950) - Gene Autry

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - (Hugh Martin/Ralph Blane - US 1944) - Judy Garland

"I'll Be Home for Christmas" - (US 1943) - Bing Crosby

"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - (US 1953) - Jimmy Boyd

"Jingle Bell Rock" - (Joseph Carleton Beale/James Ross Booth - US 1957) - Bobby Helms

"Jingle Bells"

"Last Christmas" - (UK 1984) - Wham

"Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" -

"Little Donkey" - (UK 1960) - Nina & Frederick

"Mary's Boy Child" - (US 1957) - Harry Belafonte

"Mary's Boy Child" (Oh My Lord) - (US 1978) - Boney M

"Millennium Prayer (The)" - (UK 1999) - Cliff Richard

"Mistletoe And Wine" - (UK 1968) - Cliff Richard

"Pipes Of Peace" - (Paul McCartney - UK 1983) - Paul McCartney

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" - (US 1962 ) - Brenda Lee

"Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer"

"Santa Baby" - (US 1953) - Eartha Kitt

"Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" -

"Thank God It's Christmas" - (Roger Taylor/Brian May - UK 1984) - Queen

"Walking In the Air" - (UK 1985 ) - Aled Jones

"When A Child Is Born" - (US 1976 ) - Johnny Mathis

" Winter's Tale (A)" - (UK 1963) - David Essex

"Winter Wonderland" - (Felix Bernard/Richard B Smith - USA 1958) - Johnny Mathis

(Yes - alphabetical order - makes it easier - no favourites! If you need to hear them, just try YouTube! )
Dates are not when song was written or first recording, just when the artist shown had the big hit - most of these 'standards' have been recorded by many top names.


Christmas Entertainment
Films

All these titles should be available on DVD or Internet Download

CHARLES DICKENS' SCROOGE

B/W GB 1951 86m (also colourised version)
Alastair Sim, George Cole, Hattie Jacques, Kathleen Harrison, Mervyn Johns
Dir: Brian Desmond Hurst

Christmas just would not be the same without Alastair Sim giving the
performance of a lifetime as Scrooge in this truly wonderful British
adaptation of Charles Dickens immortal A Christmas Carol...

THE GHOST OF GREVILLE LODGE

Col GB 2000 88m
George Cole, Prunella Scales, Jon Newman, Marc Danbury, Kevin Howath
Dir: Niall Johnson

George Cole and Prunella Scales star in this cracker of a Christmas ghost
story for all the family. James, a young orphan, becomes enmeshed in a
chilling ghost mystery when he is invited to spend Christmas at Greville
Lodge with his long-lost Great Uncle. James finds himself being pulled
back to the long-hidden events of Christmas 1939.


HOLIDAY INN

B/W USA 1942 100m
Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Marjorie Reynolds,Virginia Dale, Walter Abel
Dir: Mark Sandrich

With music by Irving Berlin, songs by Bing Crosby and dancing by Fred Astaire,
Holiday Inn is one of the most delightful and memorable musicals of all time.
Crosby plays Jim Hardy, a song and dance man who leaves showbiz to open a
Connecticut Inn. Astaire plays Ted Hanover, Hardy’s former partner and rival in
love. And, of course there are girls (Marjorie Reynolds and Virginia Dale), an
agent (Walter Abel) and plenty of lavish song and dance routines with spectacular
production numbers. It contains all your favourite Irving Berlin hit songs, including
the one and only "White Christmas" .


MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET

B/W USA 1947 92m (also colourised)
Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, Natalie Wood
Dir: George Seaton

The original 1947 version of the Valentine Davies story Miracle on 34th Street
follows the misadventures of Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) as he gets a job
playing Santa Claus at Macy's department store in New York City. Natalie Wood
is the little girl who tells him she doesn't believe in Santa, and Maureen O'Hara
and John Payne are the couple who help Kris through a trial in which he must prove
he's the jolly fellow from the North Pole. A perennial Christmas favorite, this is one
of those movies that gets under your skin and must be revisited every so often


NUTCRACKER - THE MOTION PICTURE

Col GB 1986 89m 16:9
Pacific North West Ballet, London Symphony Orchestra
Dir: Carrol Ballard

The much-loved ballet for all the family is brought to the screen in this classic and
faithful adaptation, designed by author and artist Maurice Sendak (Where The
Wild Things Are). Never has this timeless Christmas story looked so magical.

It is Christmas Eve and guests are arriving at Stahlbaum home. When Clara's
godfather arrives he brings her a gift - an intriguing toy soldier nutcracker which
she instantly falls in love with. That night, as the house sleeps, she creeps downstairs
to take another look at her present. As the clock strikes midnight she suddenly finds
herself transported to an enchanted world.



WHITE CHRISTMAS

Col USA 1954 115m 1.78:1
(VG print) Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera Ellen, Dean Jagger
Dir: Michael Curtiz

This semi-remake of Holiday Inn (the first movie in which Irving Berlin's perennial,
Oscar-winning holiday anthem was featured) doesn't have much of a story, but what
it does have is choice: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, an all-Irving Berlin
song score, classy direction by Hollywood vet Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, The
Adventures of Robin Hood
), VistaVision (the very first feature ever shot in that widescreen
format), and ultra-festive Technicolor! Crosby and Kaye are song-and-dance men who
hook up, romantically and professionally, with a "sister" act (Clooney and Vera-Ellen)
to put on a Big Show to benefit the struggling ski-resort lodge run by the beloved old
retired general (Dean Jagger) of their WWII Army outfit. Crosby is cool, Clooney is warm,
Kaye is goofy, and Vera-Ellen is leggy. Songs include: "Sisters" (Crosby and Kaye do their
own drag version, too), "Snow", "We'll Follow the Old Man", "Mandy", "Count Your
Blessings Instead of Sheep" & more. Christmas would be unthinkable without White Christmas.


IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE

B/W USA 1947 130m
James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Henry Travers, Thomas Mitchell
Dir: Frank Capra

Now perhaps the most beloved American film, It's a Wonderful Life was largely forgotten
for years, due to a copyright quirk. Only in the late 1970s did it find its audience through
repeated TV showings. Frank Capra's masterwork deserves its status as a feel-good communal
event, but it is also one of the most fascinating films in the American cinema, a multilayered work
of Dickensian density. George Bailey (played superbly by James Stewart) grows up in the small
town of Bedford Falls, dreaming dreams of adventure and travel, but circumstances conspire to
keep him enslaved to his home turf. Frustrated by his life, and haunted by an impending scandal,
George prepares to commit suicide on Christmas Eve. A heavenly messenger (Henry Travers)
arrives to show him a vision: what the world would have been like if George had never been born.
The sequence is a vivid depiction of the American Dream gone bad, and probably the wildest thing
Capra ever shot (the director's optimistic vision may have darkened during his experiences making
military films in World War II). Capra's triumph is to acknowledge the difficulties and disappointments
of life, while affirming, in the teary-eyed final reel, his cherished values of friendship and individual
achievement. It's a Wonderful Life was not a big hit on its initial release, and it won no Oscars
(Capra and Stewart were nominated); but it continues to weave a special magic.

   

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SHORT FILMS

BIG BUSINESS - B/W US 1929 18 mins - Laurel & Hardy silent comedy

CHRISTMAS UNDER FIRE (MOI) - B/W GB 1941 10 mins - Doumentary

GINGER NUTT'S CHRISTMAS CIRCUS - Col GB 1949 8 mins - David Hand cartoon

MICKEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL - Col US 1983 26 mins - Disney Mickey Mouse cartoon

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS - Col US 1933 8 mins - Disney Silly Symphony cartoon

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS - Col US 1941 7 mins - Tom & Jerry cartoon

SANTA'S WORKSHOP - Col US 1932 7 mins - Disney Silly Symphoney cartoon

SEASIN'S GREETINKS - B/W US 1933 7 mins - Popeye cartoon

SNOWDRIFT AT BLEATH GILL - B/W GB 1955 10 mins - British Transport documentary

THE SNOWMAN / FATHER CHRISTMAS - Col GB 1982 50 mins - Raymond Briggs animation

 

These short films are almost all on DVD boxed sets or compilation discs, many can be found on Youtube


I'm adding more titles as they come to mind!
All contributions welcome! (Grahame N. Dec2017)



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Created 15Dec2015 ..... Last updated: 01 December 2017 ........ xmasentertainment.htm ........ Grahame Newnham's Web Pages
20Dec2015 - A few short films added / 01Dec2017 - The Snowman & Father Christmas shorts & a few more carols added