Friday, November 26, 2010

Random Christmas

The Gathering (1977)

A crusty businessman, facing his last Christmas, makes an eleventh hour attempt to pull together the family which he shattered by allowing them to become second to his work and which he left years earlier. The Emmy-winner as Outstanding Special of 1977-78.
*Not out on DVD yet.

In The Good Old Summertime
102 min.

Musical remake of "Shop Around the Corner" involving two feuding store employees who are unknowingly engaged in a romantic relationship as anonymous pen pals.
(Movies like this: Shop Around the Corner, You've Go Mail, It Happened on 5th Avenue)

All Mine to Give
103 min.

This DVD's cover art, which is original to the movie's release over fifty years ago, has a tagline that reads: "Six kids on a true and wonderful adventure!" This is one of the most misleading teasers in cinematic public relations history. It has the reader imagining a sextuplet of young ones perhaps sledding on particularly icy mountains or facing down some Scrooge-like, anti-Christmas archnemesis. In fact, it's about children losing both parents to highly contagious diseases and having their family rent permanently asunder.

This tale is based on a true-life story set in Wisconsin. Robert and Mamie Eunson (Cameron Mitchell and Glynis Johns) are Scots who have just landed in America (the year is 1856), having been invited there by Mamie's uncle. They arrive in the tiny logging village of Eureka, only to be informed that both uncle and his cabin have been incinerated in a house fire. The Eunsons are assisted by the friendly locals in reconstructing the house and Robert takes to tipping timber. It should be noted Mamie is heavily pregnant upon their reaching Eureka; she delivers baby Robbie soon after the cabin is completed. Robert eventually starts a successful boat building business and Mamie gives birth to five more children: Jimmy, Kirk, Annabelle, Elizabeth, and Jane. The Eunsons are prospering and happy--until little Kirk is diagnosed with diptheria. Mamie and Kirk are quarantined while Robert takes the other children away. The boy recovers, but the goodbye kiss he gave Dadda before his departure proves fatal, and Mr. Eunson succumbs.

Mamie takes to working as a seamstress and Robbie becomes the man of the house. Things stabilize, but only briefly: tired and work-worn, Mamie contracts typhoid. Knowing she won't survive, she charges her eldest with finding good homes for his siblings. After her death, Robbie does exactly that, dispatching his brothers and sisters to kindly townsfolk. Stoic and resigned during the process, he does break down when he's alone and sees the tree outside the homestead where his father had carved the names of the children into the bark. Baby Jane is the last to be handed over--Robbie stands at the door of a house and asks the woman who answers, "Will you take my sister, ma'am?" Pathos, lachrymose, mourning, and gloom! (It reminds me that in Great Britain, this movie was released under the title The Day They Gave Babies Away...*gulp*!)

He then turns and trudges, solitary and struggling, up a hill in a snowstorm. You may ask, "What does this horribly sad tale have to do with Christmas?" Robbie is breaking up the clan on Christmas Eve, wisely thinking people are more likely to accept taking in an orphan while filled with the holiday spirit.
Thank you M. Thomas from Amazon for this very indepth synopsis.

A Holiday for Love
95 min.

Warm holiday drama in which an executive forced to cut the jobs of many people working at a small-town tractor factory gets a big surprise when he's mistaken as the savior of the local economy.

Holiday Affair (remake of 1949 movie)
93 min.

Story of a young single mom and her son. She's having a hard time getting over the death of her husband and has been dating a young attorney. She meets another young man who sells her a toy train for use in her job but her son thinks it's for him for Christmas.
Thank you Family Man from Amazon for the synopsis.
Said not to be on par with the original starring Robert Mitchum.

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