Three cowboys riding across the desert with gifts for no particular recipient, see a distant bright light and find it comes from the Star Auto Court sign where the owners and guests work together to help a young pregnant wife and husband.
It's Christmas Eve. Three cowboys have just bought out a store of items as Christmas presents, despite not having anyone to give the presents to. While two of them admit to wanting to impress the pretty sales clerk, the third just felt good buying gifts to give to someone. Riding through the dark desert on horseback, they see a flashing star off in the distance, which they ride over to investigate. The newly purchased second hand star is a sign just erected by Nick Catapoli for his business, the Star Auto Court. Nick has no Christmas spirit, especially as he deals with the problems of customers, this despite his wife Rosa serving all their customers with a smile and warm heart. He believes most people are hypocrites in that they espouse this spirit at this one time of the year while not having it any other time. As such, he does not want to extend his lobby as shelter for a drifter who just wants to come in from the cold for a little while. Although the drifter tries to explain the ...Written by
J. CARROL NAISH gives his standard Italian accent a real workout in this story about a bitter man fed up with Christmas, attracting patrons to his hotel/diner by putting a big electric star outside. Some of his crusty customers gradually change their ways when a woman named Maria and a man called Jose arrive seeking shelter. There's no room at the inn so Naish gives them shelter in the barn.
Meanwhile, watching all of this unfold, is a humble traveler, DONALD WOODS, who gives the most sincere performance of all as a man who urges Naish to accept the Christmas message of good will toward men.
When, at midnight, a baby is born to the young woman, everyone pitches in to do what they can for the young couple. Even three stragglers, symbolizing the Three Wise Men, are eager to offer gifts.
Simplistic fable is a bit obvious by today's standards, the kind of sentimental tale that only a Frank Capra could really pull off, but Don Siegel does a good job of getting believable performances from Naish and Woods, especially.
Won an Oscar for the year's Best Short Subject.
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