This week in our E-newsletter we featured a very special Christmas giveaway to tonight’s splendid double bill – Shop Around The Corner and It’s A Wonderful Life.
And because we love to hear from you so much we asked for your favourite Christmas film and why. Thank you to everyone who entered (sorry but not everyone could win!) and congratulations to our 10 winners whose answers were so wonderful we just had to publish them here for everyone to read (in no particular order).
1. Anthony – It’s A Wonderful Life
“My favourite Christmas film of all time is, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Not because it’s showing at The Astor Theatre but it has a great meaning & significance not just in the Christmas sense but life in general. George Bailey being a generous person who has spent most of his life helping other people. The message is clearly evident at the end of the film that Christmas isn’t only a time for giving but appreciating life & the people who are close to us. As human beings, we tend to have a grouch on the world because we’re having a bad day or something isn’t going right in our lives but when we stop to think about it, life isn’t so bad at all because if we’re still alive, able to achive our goals & willing to assist those who are less fortunate than us then we have performed miracles by bringing happiness & joy the lives of other people.”
2. Konrad McCarthy – It’s A Wonderful Life
“My favourite Christmas film: “It’s A Wonderful Life” is because it’s often a tough time of year, it drives some people turn to drink, meds and/or illicit substances, but I find the best cure is to be reminded people, there can be good things too by taking a dose or two of Capra.”
3. Mary Kenneally -It’s A Wonderful Life
” You just can’t beat “It’s a Wonderful Life”, because it does tackle very serious issues – the despair that George Bailey feels when his life of self sacrifice seems meaningless in the face of the power and success of the unrelentingly selfish and cruel Potter.
[There are echoes in "Back to the Future 11" when Biff takes over Hill Valley and turns it into a nightmare place riven with selfishness and nastiness, similar to the way Bedford Falls deteriorates due to the unfettered power of Potter, unchecked by the good deeds of George.] James Stewart expresses the explosive anger that often accompanies depression, and the emotions he portrays are razor sharp. The happy ending is well and truly worked towards, and hence completely satisfying.
[The anti- capitalistic message is rare in American films after this time. Had Stewart been in "We got Mail", the little book shop would have won.] I can’t help feeling that knowing the real life Stewart’s heroic career in WW2 also feeds into my attraction to the nobility of the character he creates in George Bailey. “
4. Eve Urban
” My favourite Christmas film is “It’s a wonderful life” and the reasons why are mulitple:
* Jimmy Stewart
* Frank Capra
* Even when I feel cynical and feel the film feeds humans overwhelming need for significance, I still love it!”
5. Jeannie Rae – It’s A Wonderful Life
“I have to admit that I am very fond of It’s a Wonderful Life, because despite it being a cliché, the values of caring and recognising your and others’ worth is so fundamental. Maybe also it reminds us that it is self-centred to think only of yourself and not how important you are to others – rather than such an attitude being humble when it is actually indulgent.”
6. Pat Plum -Marvin’s Room
“Not your standard Christmas movie, but when my four children were young teenagers, Marvin’s Room became our traditional Christmas Eve movie. The story of a very real family comprising of a man bedridden by a stroke, his self focused daughter who estranged herself from the family twenty years earlier, her two troubled sons – the elder of whom had been admitted to a mental institution for setting their family home alight, and the man’s other daughter-caregiver who had been diagnosed with leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant, was a refreshing change from the sugar-coated offerings that seemed to abound at this time of year. The family’s journey to reconnection (without any ‘happily ever after’ ending) helped me significantly, over the years, to teach my children what Christmas is really about. Additionally, the superb acting by a stellar cast – Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Robert De Nero and Leonardo DiCaprio – also helped me to teach my children about quality independent films!
…And Boxing Day always, of course, included Ben Hur! Thanks for such a fun competition that has given me cause to think about the place movies have in our Christmas celebrations!”
7. Jenny Krohn – Gremlins
“My favourite Christmas movie is Gremlins, because it’s got everything a Christmas movie needs:
A fight to the finish
A happy ending
What more could you ask for! Season’s Greetings!”
8. Jordan Dautovic – Die Hard
“Die Hard. It’s totally a christmas film. Except with machine guns (ho ho ho) and a badass German bad guy.”
9. Adam Pietrzak – “Pere Noel est une ordure”
“…and my French isn’t even that great – absolutely hilarious – and any movie with a title that translates as “Father Christmas Is Crap” has got to be brilliant!”
10. Gaylene Carbis – Meet Me In St Louis
“Although not necessarily classified as a ‘Christmas film’, Christmas features significantly in this beautiful, moving film. This film is about a family facing change – facing leaving their beloved hometown of St Louis to ‘move up in the world’ as their father has been offered a new job. The family, however, love their hometown – something I deeply relate to, having lived in Carnegie for most of my life and having a deep and passionate love for where I live and reluctance to live anywhere else.
The scene in which the young, beautiful, heartbreakingly poignant Judy Garland sings “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” to her little sister (Margaret O’Brien) is one of the most moving scenes in cinematic history. Judy and Margaret look out the window onto lawns covered in snow, treetops of snow, a winter wonderland, while Judy – singing along to a tinkling music box, to console her little sister who is filled with fear and apprehension – is gorgeous in a sumptuous red gown. Never has Judy been more filled with heart and compassion and tenderness.
“Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more
Someday soon we all will be together
If the fate’s allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bow
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now”
Judy singing this breaks my heart every time – it’s heartbreakingly sad and yet at the same time, filled with love and hope. And the best that family can be.”
Please note that winners selected for Astor Theatre giveaways are always at the discretion of the judging panel at the Astor Theatre. The panel usually consists of a ticket seller in consultation with Marzipan, The Astor Cat.