Thursday, December 18, 2008
Above we have a scene from “A Summer Place” (1959) in which Constance Ford remarks with satisfaction upon decorating her little Christmas tree, “It’s solid plastic. It ought to last ten years.” I love her delivery, and it is the funniest line in an otherwise rather dour movie. Really puts you in the Christmas mood. Oh, yeah.
Here’s a few more movie Christmas trees: Another artificial specimen, the white tree in the dressing room of Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire in “Holiday Inn” (1942).
Another really artificial, and makeshift, specimen on board ship in “So Proudly We Hail” (1943).
Among live trees, tabletop size seems to be popular in the movies. Here we have Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotten, Tom Tully, Spring Byington, and Shirley Temple exchanging gifts in “I’ll Be Seeing You” (1944).
Shirley MacLaine laments her circumstances, not the size of the tree, in “The Apartment” (1960).
Marjorie Reynolds acts on a movie set that looks just the inn, with a tree that looks just like the inn’s tree -- but wait, that’s a set, too. “Holiday Inn” (1942).
Here’s a shot of Bing knocking off a bell solo in “Holiday Inn”, hitting all the right notes.
Nothing represents the abundance of the Christmas season like a full-size tree. Here Mary Astor, Leon Ames and family decide they’re not going to New York in “Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944).
Little Natalie Wood searches the presents under the big tree in “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947) for the two-story suburban colonial home Edmund Gwenn promised her.
Peggy Ann Garner and Ted Donaldson from “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” (1945) drag their tree home after some street vendor, who can’t sell it because it’s already late Christmas Eve, throws it at them. It turns out, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” is not actually about a Christmas tree, but never mind. It could be.
Finally, the tree is up, and the family is assembled putting home-made paper ornaments on the hard-won tree. For what it represents, it’s probably the most poignant Christmas tree in the movies.
Trees do represent the homes in which we see them. They illustrate frugality and opulence, poverty and wealth. Here is wealthy, powerful, and lonely Edward Arnold pondering how to further crush Gary Cooper, as he gazes upon an enormous tree the servants decorated in “Meet John Doe” (1941).
Finally, here’s Barbara Stanwyck decorating the homey tree in the homey home that isn’t really hers in “Christmas in Connecticut” (1945) while Dennis Morgan serenades her on the piano. And to all a good night.