Memento Mori Monday - Holiday Edition
Ah, even then: a penchant for leopardskin print. I was a few months shy of 5 and we were living in Las Vegas, in one of our long line of crappy trailers.
I've been playing holiday movies lately at home. Below is a run down:
The Three Lives of Thomasina (1964)
First off, you Disney decriers - back off. As a kid, I was always a sucker for movies with animals - and that really hasn't changed, except I find I have a less than zero capacity for any harming of or otherwise distressing of said animals, so more often than not, I just give them a miss these days. And there's something about pivotal scenes involving cats and rain (see: Breakfast at Tiffany's) that lays me to waste. Did then, still does. The film stars Patrick McGoohan and I wouldn't say it's his finest hour, acting wise - during the aforementioned pivotal scene, he imbues the character with a lip-twitching itchy bugginess that is really distracting. But love prevails and the common thread is Thomasina, a big Ginger cat, and her three lives. Not technically a holiday movie, but still perfect. 3 out of 5 stars
Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962)
This still holds up remarkably well. This was a tradition in my house until I left it in 1970. The conceit: Magoo is starring in a version of The Christmas Carol, on Broadway, and begins with 'It's Great to be Back - Back - Back - on Broadway!' The animation, especially in the opening sequence with all of the flashing signage, is great. And all of the songs are strong. My penultimate moment is the number sung by the riffraff that are robbing his corpse. La! 4 stars
The President's Analyst (1967)
While the last scene is at Christmas, this is technically not a holiday movie, but just one that I recently ordered. It is not without it's flaws: there is a surplus of flower child fluffery that just seems stupid at this end of the lens of time, but James Coburn is a joy, as always, with his storky carriage and 3,000 teeth. The plot involves Coburn being tapped to assume the titular position and his descent into - justifiable - paranoia. 2 stars
Bell, Book & Candle (1958)
Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak's second pairing - after Vertigo. She plays a witch in New York who sets her sights on Stewart's rather straight-laced publisher character after finding out he's due to wed an odious woman who was her nemesis in college. The casting is marvelous: Jack Lemmon as her brother, Elsa Lanchester as her aunt, Hermoine Gingold as the witch who makes him drink a horrible and chunky brew to break the spell and even Ernie Kovaks. My favorite holiday movie, and just one of my favorites, period. 5 jumbo stars

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