The third installment of our recommended Christmas viewing, Three more films that are what Christmas is all about.
Boudu Saved from Drowning
All the way back to 1932, for a movie that captures the spirit of Christmas without being a Christmas movie. Michel Simon gives one of the most memorable performances in screen history as Boudu, a Parisian tramp who takes a suicidal plunge into the Seine and is rescued by a well-to-do bookseller, Edouard Lestingois (Charles Granval). The Lestingois family decides to take in the irrepressible bum, and he shows his gratitude by shaking the household to its foundations. With BOUDU SAVED FROM DROWNING, legendary director Jean Renoir takes advantage of a host of Parisian locations and the anarchic charms of his lead actor to create an effervescent satire of the bourgeoisie. Lots of places seem to have trailers for the movie. For the whole film, the only place I’ve found so far in the UK is Mediaverse
The Shop Around the Corner
You Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan was a remake of the play that led to this film, but don’t let yourself be put off by that fact! Directed by Ernst Lubitsch, a man Billy Wilder admired, and starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan, it’s the story of two employees at a bookstore in Budapest who really don’t get on. Both of them have pen pals that make far better friends. It’s probably not too much of a plot spoiler to say who the pen pals turn out to be! This is a film with charm, a gentle but sly humour and some great performances. Plus, there’s Christmas scenes so you can count it as a Christmas film. Available on Prime Video
Is it a Christmas movie or isn’t it? It’s the subject of much debate, but whichever way you look at it, The Apartment is a great film to watch at Christmas. This is what the Independent has to say on it; ‘The Apartment is the perfect Christmas film. Not Christmas as we’d like it to be – roaring fires, jingle bells, snow – but Christmas as it is in reality. Sometimes joyful, sometimes mundane, sometimes lonely. The holiday season has always offered introspection: we hope for a moment of thankfulness, but life in its strange cruelty can, for some, feel like the knife is only being dug deeper, as hard as we may try to stifle the prospect. But even in the bleakest of Christmases, there’s always hope. It thrives on it. And it’s precisely hope that Billy Wilder’s beloved 1960 film offers the world.’
And it’s got Christmas scenes and New Year’s eve scenes, and superb performances from Jack Lemmon and Fran Shirley MacLaine. In short, it’s essential viewing for any Christmas. Watch it on Prime Video