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The Christmas Wife (1988)
Makes you appreciate your mate
This short drama was satisfying to watch even though there wasn't much action. It was almost like a two-person play. Get yourself a cup of hot chocolate, relax and enjoy.
It is a surprisingly good drama for a lazy, frosty, Christmas-season evening. It's well-acted, well-written, and well-crafted -- definitely sentimental, but without being fluffy or soppy. The cast is led by veteran acting greats Jason Robards and Julie Harris, which in itself should make the movie worth a consideration. Robards portrays John Tanner, a recent widower (10 months) who doesn't quite know what to do with the changes imposed upon his life. He spends Thanksgiving in a diner, reading a book, and when the annual family trip to the cabin for Christmas is jeopardized (his son and family want them to visit their house), he attempts to rescue his traditions in a radical way: he finds an escort service, makes it very clear that there will be separate bedrooms, and "hires" a woman to be his companion and spend the Christmas weekend with him. Julie Harris is the sad, perceptive, and mysterious woman, Iris, who agrees to be his "Christmas wife" - but does not want any questions asked about herself.
Tanner turns out to be quite hospitable. He cooks (a candlelight dinner, nevertheless), trims a tree, and even brings a gift for his new friend, and himself, to exchange on Christmas day. It's sad that he doesn't believe in an afterlife, as the Lord Jesus Christ, the God of all comfort, died for our sins, was buried, and rose again so we could have forgiveness of sins, an eternal home in heaven, a taste of Heaven on this earth, and help for all of our problems.
This is a quality "G" movie. I enjoyed watching it with my wife (you never know how long you'll have them), and she thought it was good. Adults who have some experience with age or loneliness may discover a tale striking quite a responsive chord.
Home Town Story (1951)
A Good Family Film
Home Town Story, 61 minutes long, is about a defeated State Senator, Blake Washburn, (played by Jeffrey Lynn) who comes home with quite an electoral chip on his shoulder, to lick his wounds, feel sorry for himself, and wallow in his bitterness. His bitterness spreads to others. He's not above punching a guy for joking about the election, and even his old friends are likely to be met with a cold shoulder. He wants to get married along the way to long-suffering fiancé Janice Hunt(Marjorie Reynolds), if he can ever get his priorities right.
Washburn takes over his uncle's newspaper, and takes on big business as an enemy of the people, blaming corporations, and in particular, manufacturer MacFarland, for his political defeat. Slim Haskins, (a young Alan Hale, Jr. of Gilligan's Island fame, with his infectious laugh), his best friend and lead reporter, grows increasingly frustrated at Washburn's politicized agenda.
When tragedy strikes, and Washburn's little sister Katie (Melinda Plowman) enters an old mine to retrieve her new puppy and becomes the victim of a terrible cave-in, Washburn must re-examine his views. A valuable message benefits this film: if no one makes a profit, no one will be profited. Other lessons are obvious: kindness is a great trait; don't play the blame-game, and have the right priorities.
Fans will enjoy young Marilyn Monroe's presence in her supporting role as Iris Martin who works in the Herald newspaper office. In 1951 Home Town Story, she already exhibited all of the traits the world has become fascinated with: the breathless speech, the Monroe walk and those sweaters! Monroe has a small but very amusing and memorable role in the picture, but you'll find her picture on the cover. Out of 61 minutes, Marilyn is only present in approximately 1 minute and 40 seconds.
This film was never released commercially.
Love Is Forever (1983)
A Very Interesting Film
From back cover, "Based upon a true story, a foreign journalist returns to Laos to rescue the woman he loves, and was forced to leave behind. He had been in prison and tortured by the Communist regime one year earlier, and was convicted of being a spy. However, he was willing to risk his life to reunite with his one true love..."
I bought this DVD for a buck at the local dollar store, and it was worth it. Made by Westlake, it is very poorly produced. I had to increase my volume about 50% higher than normal. The color was not very sharp either. But if you like Michael Landon (Little Joe from Bonanza), you'll enjoy this flick. It's a real example of what folks will go through, because of love.
There's also a couple good roles by Mr. Edward Woodward (remember him in "The Equalizer") and Elvis Presley's first wife, Priscilla.