Here are 10 under-the-radar holiday movies that you might not have considered part of the Christmas movie canon. But each in their own unconventional way, whether with witchcraft, ice cream or Abe Vigoda, captures the holiday spirit.
” The apartment » (1959)
Unrequited office crushes are the worst, especially when she’s the mistress of the toxic boss you sold to for an office on the 27th.e floor. Billy Wilder’s Best Picture winner with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine has everything you didn’t know you wanted in a Christmas movie: office politics, adultery and attempted suicide. But in this cold, cynical world of takers versus takers, two lonely people come together, and it’s an uplifting holiday message. Available on TCM’s app, Watch TCM. Also available for rental of several places.
” Bell, Book & Candle » (1958)
Holidays are a great time to fall in love. James Stewart is bewitched by Kim Novak, which goes without saying because she is a witch. What’s heartening about this holiday rom-com is the revelation that witches also celebrate Christmas. Available on Criterion Channel.
“Comfort & Joy” (1984)
I take back what I said before: vacation breakups are the worst. Glasgow radio DJ Dickie Bird (Bill Paterson) is devastated when his free-spirited girlfriend walks out, but he gets a new lease on life when he insinuates himself into the middle of a rivalry between two ice cream companies . Bill Forsyth’s sequel to his beloved “Local Hero” has that movie’s off-center charms with a heartwarming Christmas message. It’s not available for streaming and out of print on home video, but you can find it on YouTube.
” The Lemon Drop Child” (1951)
Bob Hope stars as the titular racetrack tout who has just 23 days before Christmas to find the $10,000 he owes mobster Moose Moran by hook or twist. Based on the tale by Damon Runyan, one of Hope’s best comedies introduced the holiday standard, “Silver Bells.” If you can stare dry-eyed while block after block of Manhattan pedestrians sing, you’re done with a tougher thing than me. Available for rental on Prime Video.
” The Man Who Came to Dinner” (1942)
It was weeks before Christmas, and world-famous radio host Sheridan Whiteside is making life miserable for the unfortunate family in Ohio whose home he injured himself. In a wheelchair, he insults, thunders and makes impossible demands until finally, his pissed off nurse declares that she is quitting to find work in a munitions factory. “From now on,” she declares, “anything I can do to contribute to the extermination of the human race will fill me with the greatest pleasure. The classic George Kaufman and Moss Hart comedy is adapted for the screen with Monty Wooly recreating his iconic stage role (inspired by critic Alexander Wolcott), with Bette Davis as the long-suffering secretary and Jimmy Durante as his Marxist prankster (as in Harpo) buddy. Available on HBO Max.
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Ten Christmas Movies You Need to Add to Your Holiday Viewing List | TV/Streaming | Pretty Reel
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