Happy Holidays! This month will ring in over a decade of blogging for 6 Degrees of Film. The blog was started in 2010, and has moved to its current home at 6 Degrees Writer just in the past year. Along the way, we have published the book: 6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village, in 2013 and have been on Flipboard in magazine format for the past eight years. We see that time flies and films are still changing and evolving, as we laid out in the 6 Degrees book. But we are happy to celebrate and invite all to join us on Facebook for the weekly round-ups as well as on Medium.com for our monthly reviews and quarterly newsletters.
Christmas Movies of a Different Kind on TCM in December
There has been recent discussion surrounding whether or not Die Hard was a genuine Christmas movie. I confess that it doesn’t come to mind when I begin to list and catalog Holiday films to watch and recommend. But there are several films that are playing on Turner Classic this month that may not fit the classic definition of a Christmas movie, and yet they do have a theme that fits with the holiday season of love and spiritual rebirth.
Some different kind of Christmas movies include the two 6 Degrees of Film examples of remakes of the same story: The Little Shop around the Corner is the original from 1940, and In the Good Old Summertime, is the musical version with Judy Garland. There is the medieval celebration of Christmas seen in The Lion in Winter with Peter O’ Toole, and the turn of the century holiday film called Meet Me in St. Louis, where Judy Garland sings “Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” And there’s even a western, Three Godfathers,(also a remake), with John Wayne. This film has a spiritual bent to it, but it’s not really a Christmas film.
Pioneers of #MeToo: The Women of Hollywood’s Golden Age on TCM
This month, there are several films that highlight the pioneering nature of women with strong characters and fearless personalities for film fans to appreciate this month. Films like The Big Sleep showcases a young Lauren Bacall going toe-to-toe with the iconic Humphrey Bogart character of Sam Spade. In Calamity Jane, Doris Day is a hard-riding, straight shooting and supremely fit character who boasts of being able to outshoot and outlast most men in the Old West.
In Rachel & the Stranger, a young Loretta Young overcomes adversity where she is sold into bondage and forced to marry William Holden, a stubborn and taciturn widower with a young son who basically hires her as a laborer to keep house in his wilderness homestead.
Myrna Loy plays the character of Nora Charles in several films with her husband Nick, played by William Powell. Myrna Loy not only holds her own with the wise-cracking detective Nick Charles, but she is also shown in another film with Cary Grant, (The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer), where she portrays a judge, which is an unusual character for any woman to play in that male-dominated era!
The other element to remember from these film roles is that some of the characters were based on real-life models. There really was an Eleanor of Aquitaine who went to war against her husband, the king Henry II, who subsequently locked her up in prison. But he did trot her out at Christmas just in time to celebrate with the family! And there was a real Calamity Jane also, who looked nothing like the supremely fit and healthy version portrayed by Doris Day.
This week 6 Degrees looks at some of the new movies to be released during the Holiday Season. West Side Story debuts to mostly good reviews from RogerEbert.com and the LA Times. The Times notes that some of the big musical numbers underwent major changes in the Spielberg version. Another big debut this week is Leonardo DiCaprio’s film, Don’t Look Up, with Jennifer Lawrence, which is described as an ‘unwieldy end-of-days satire.’
For the Holiday movie lovers, there’s ’25 Surprising Things about ‘White Christmas” that even Movie Buffs don’t know’ from Cosmopolitan magazine. And filmschoolrejects.com looks at the evolution of the classic, It’s a Wonderful Life through the 75 year history of the film.
Classic film lovers like myself will want to read the piece about Lauren Bacall. “Bacall Beyond Bogart,’ which focuses on her life & screen career after the death of Bogey. And finally, the New Yorker has a great piece describing and justifying the legacy of Greta Garbo. Her charismatic charm & distinctive beauty made Garbo one of Hollywood’s first mega-stars.