Welcome to my 12 Days of Christmas series! I thought I'd introduce some of my favorite anti-Christmas-spirit movies and a few proper Christmassy ones to celebrate what is actually my favorite holiday. (Food, pretty lights, and it lasts practically all month! It's really just the, um, people I don't like much.)
Although the "message" of "The House on Trubnaya" (1928) (aka "The House on Trubnaya Square" aka "The House on Trubnaya Street") is, predictably, that the Soviet state is just super, the film does not throw its hands up in the air, in classic Russian fatalism. "The House on Trubnaya" is a hoot.
The Brackett-Wilder team have all the parts of a perfect screwball comedy in "Bluebeard"—formal wear, cocktails, witty wordplay, and a married couple slapping, spanking, and biting each other. Nicole De Loisel (Colbert), daughter of Edward Everett Horton’s penniless Marquis, and Michael Brandon (Cooper), capitalist extraordinaire, are meant to be together, like all screwball couples.
It’s hard to imagine Ernst Lubitsch making something that isn’t a classy, urbane romantic comedy. "Heaven Can Wait" (1943) is an odd duck, though. For example, not many romantic comedies begin in Hell. Yet, it is here that we, and His Excellency, played by the devilish Laird Cregar, meet Henry Van Cleve (smoothie Don Ameche).
The film is a fantastic example of the work women were doing in Hollywood before it became such an old boys’ club. It is based on a story by “Madame” Elinor Glyn, as she’s credited here, with a screenplay co-written by Hope Loring, a writer with 63 credits to her name, and Louis. D. Lighton.