Season of miracles
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 11/30/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The CHRISTMAS COLLECTION consists of two theatrical films and two made-for-TV movies.
BEYOND TOMORROW-- Three wealthy old misers drop wallets on the sidewalk outside their mansion to see if anyone honest will return them. A young woman and man each retrieve a wallet. They meet at the stately house and eventually fall in love. All five become good friends, with the tricksters learning a lesson about human nature. After they've passed on, the old mens' ghosts try to help the couple through marriage problems. A charming, underrated tale.
SCROOGE-- Not the famous Alastair Sim Scrooge from 1951, but the earlier British film. This one has some interesting minimalist photography in it and the script follows Dickens quite precisely. Sir Seymour Hicks as the title character isn't too robust as the bah humbugging miser, but his bouncing-on-heels enthusiasm once he awakens from the third ghostly encounter is most infectious.
A CHRISTMAS WITHOUT SNOW-- A made-for-TVer about a divorced woman and son who relocate to a new city and try to rebuild their lives. The mother joins a choir run by crotchety John Houseman that is busily preparing for a Christmas concert. This film tackles issues like racism, depression, the problems of aging, poverty and single parenting deftly. Stars THE WALTONS' Michael Learned.
THE MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET-- A 46 minute TV movie starring Thomas Mitchell as Kris Kringle. Although the story's been trimmed compared to the feature film, it works nonetheless and is very heartwarming.
This DVD is also one-third of ST. CLAIR's THE CHRISTMAS COLLECTION. Included on the 3-DVD set are 11 holiday-themed sitcom episodes and 21 cartoons and Christmas specials.
Parenthetical numbers preceding titles are 1 to 10 viewer poll ratings found at a film resource website.
(6.5) Beyond Tomorrow (1940) - Harry Carey/C. Aubrey Smith/Charles Winninger/Richard Carlson/Jean Parker
(6.3) Scrooge (UK-1935) - Seymour Hicks/Donald Calthrop/Mary Glynne/Philip Frost
(5.8) A Christmas Without Snow (TV-1980) - Michael Learned/John Houseman/Valerie Curtin
(5.5) The Miracle On 34th Street (TV-1955) - Thomas Mitchell/Teresa Wright/Macdonald Carey/Hans Conreid
BONUS FEATURE: Images of Christmas"
The Christmas Collection
Perservance Jane | Illinois | 01/14/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this collection, because I have been searching for the movie "Beyond Tomorrow". I first viewed it when I was a child in the 50's and all I can say is that it left an impression on me. When you find something that you have been looking for it is like finding an old friend. The other movies were also good, but I enjoyed the "Christmas Without Snow", it is neat to view something that doesn't make crude jokes or have sexual inuendos in it. Also trying to find a job in today's world is perhaps the most revelant issue. If you to need to find solace in yesterday's world buy it."
Four Christmas Classics Inexpensively Packaged
M. Hill | Colorado | 10/31/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The DVD contains Beyond Tomorrow, a 1940 feature film which opens on Christmas Eve but isn't a story about Christmas. It is a charming tale of three businessmen who, on Christmas Eve, after their dinner guests cancel, toss three wallets out onto the sidewalk in hopes of finding some honest people to dine with. Each wallet contains $10 and the card of one of the three businessmen. Two of the wallets are returned, one by a young man from Texas the other by a young woman on her way to the movies. They stay for dinner, become friends with the older gentlemen and fall in love with each other. Eventually the three gentleman meet their fate in an airplane crash but return as ghosts to help the couple. It is a wonderful old film.
The Scrooge that is included in this DVD is the 1935 version starring Seymour Hicks. Although not my favorite, I prefer the 1951 Alistair Sim version, this one is, although sparse, imaginative and I will certainly watch it again.
Miracle on 34th Street is the 1955 made for TV version. Some of the scenes we are all familiar with from the original movie are not included, clearly because of the time constraints required for an hour long TV program, including commercials, but it all fits together nicely. The actors are fine including MacDonald Carey and Thomas Mitchell although Hans Conried, not one of the main stars, still managed to steal every scene he could.
A Christmas Without Snow is the story of a recently divorced woman who leaves the mid-west and moves to San Francisco. She can't find teaching work so takes temporary office jobs. Since she left her son with her mother until she is settled, her main community becomes her church's choir. This is a lovely story of the importance of the relationships we build with others to help us through difficult periods. No easy answers or slick holiday miracles, it is a story with heart. My only complaint is that the print of this film actually had vertical hold problems as if it were filmed right from the TV, an old TV.
The Scenes of Christmas is nothing more than still shots of what appear to be reproductions of old Christmas cards with holiday music playing in the background. I wouldn't watch it again.
For the price this is a terrific little DVD and although these are not perfectly clean prints of the films, they are certainly watchable with minimal distractions from deterioration. This would make a good stocking-stuffer for a lover of holiday movies."