Tag Archive: maureen o’hara

Christmas Hope and Faith

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Every year on Thanksgiving day or soon after, there is one movie I must watch. It is a movie full of sentimental feelings, of earnestness and faith.

It is not a favorite with most of my family but slowly they are all around watching the movie right down to the bitter end.

Miracle Parade SantaOf course I am talking about Miracle on 34th Street. And as far as I am concerned the best version is from 1947 in the original black and white.

Edmund Gwenn won an Oscar for his performance as a man named Kris Kringle. He looks like a real-life Santa who knows more about the North Pole elf than even the most dedicated Santa-geek.

In the movie, we meet Kris as he discovers a drunken Santa on the float of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City. He becomes the Macy store Santa who brings his own costume and charm along with a customer service attitude that surprises both customers and store leadership.

Miracle on 34th StreetHis grace and actual interest in others makes friends with many of his co-workers including Mr. Macy. Mrs. Walker who organizes the parade each year works to find a home for Kris. Meanwhile, Kris sees this as an opportunity to teach Mrs. Walker and her daughter, Susan, how to trust and have faith.

But when an incompetent psychologist is offended by Kris and works to have him committed, it takes Mrs. Walker’s lawyer neighbor, Fred Gaily, to keep Kris from being sent away forever.

This is a movie I have known by heart since I was in my teens. I know every scene, maybe not word by wordt, but certainly by how it all feels. Every time I watch it I notice something different. Maybe it is the way Kris and Albert talk to each other or how the rooms are decorated.

What never fails to catch my attention is how hope and faith are the focus of the story although we are never told if the Walker family are Christians or non-religious. These two parts of the story, the bedrock, depends on how we interact with others. They depend on how we treat others, what we expect, and what we expect to get back. In this case, we come to realize that Kris is motivated by the joy he sees in others when he gives them presents that have real meaning.

Edmund Gween Miracle IMDb com

Image from IMDb.com

This movie reveals the true meaning of the holiday, even for non-believers. It was a sentiment needed after a long war that was hard on many families. Hope, faith, joy. It’s all there.

The movie was an instant hit when it was released in June of 1947 and stayed in theater till the holiday season of that year. People needed, wanted the emotions displayed in this movie. And I think we are looking for all of that today. The question is how do we make this happen in our lives?

After all, not all of us can find a Kris Kringle for a Christmas intervention. Sometimes we have to create the intervention for ourselves.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

After the Feasting…

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


Do you have thanksgiving traditions that must be honored?


For us it is the green bean casserole. The husband loves it and feels it must be on the table in order for the meal to be complete. The kids must have jellied cranberry sauce although one year I picked up whole berry by mistake. Kids hated it, the adults loved it.


I try to change things up a little every year. I might make a different side dish, put something a little different on the relish plate, or try a cheesecake instead of pie.


But this year I have no such plans. It will be our favorites all the way.


I feel the same way about the movies we will watch. I really want to keep it to the old favorites this year.


Image from IMDb.comThe husband and I will probably stay up to watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles which stars the late John Candy and Steve Martin. These two men are trying to get home for the holiday after a snowstorm takes down their plane from NYC, sends them on a train south of where they need to be before finally getting home. Martin plays the persnickety advertising agency guy while Candy is the likable traveling salesman.


That these guys are an odd couple who do not get along is a part of the usual plot. But they are relying on each other to get home to the ones that they love and that can make for different dynamics. I am also taken by the differences in their personalities. A guy can be pretty prickly when his home is all it needs to be and the outside world cannot compare. Another guy can be friendly and maybe a bit annoying when his home is missing the one he loves the most.


This movie is more adult in context and there are a few scenes that have innuendos that may not be appropriate for the younger kids.


Image from IMDb.com

For whole family watching, there is always Miracle on 34th Street about an old man who is considered crazy because he says he is Santa Claus. A new version with Richard Attenborough exists although I prefer the 1947 film with Edmund Gwynn as Kris Kringle. It is a movie I love and probably know the script by heart.


But let’s say you want something a little different with lots of noise, gun fights, and explosions. The other week our family finally watched Cowboys and Aliens. The movie follows a tradition western set up. A lone man comes to a town, manages to get into a fight with the son of the richest man in

Poster Image from IMDb.com

town and becomes a target.


Then the alien ships show up and steal some of the town’s people, including the rich man’s son. This is not going to be your usual posse and you may not believe how it all works out.

I found it was a good movie for pre-teens and up, although my 8-year-old watched it without any ill effects. And did I mention that Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford are in this movie? Their performances really make it worthwhile.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


This is the week  everyone will be wearing green in the spirit of the Irish. Those who are not better be good at avoiding the dreaded pinch.

I cannot claim any Irish in my heritage. While the rosacea on my face claims differently, all I am aware of is a strong English bent. When your great-great grandfather is named Proctor, it is pretty certain you have English blood.

In recent years though, Irish cinema has really made some breakthroughs. This past Oscar season saw The Secret of the Kells make it into the Best Animation category. The story is about a young boy who discovers the magic an illuminator can have when it comes to the written word back in the middle ages. The knowledge he carries through the forest is threatened by the barbarians who are chasing him.

With Brendan Gleeson doing voice work as the stern abbot, it is a fantastical story with wonderful animation. At this time the movie is back in the theaters and is scheduled to be released on DVD sometime in August.

Another Irish movie that was given Oscar acclaim is Once (2006). It stars virtual unknowns Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova as two musicians who meet, write music together, record a CD and fall in love in one week’s time. The constant movement of the camera might make you a little queasy but it is worth it for the fully realized soundtrack. Plus these are characters you want to get to know.  It is better suited for adults than kids under the age of 13.

One of my favorite Irish movies of all time is The Secret of Roan Inish (1994). Directed by John Sayles, this is the story of a girl who lives with her grandparents after the death of her mother and loss of her brother. The family had to move off of their island and 10-year-old Fiona wants to know more. Slowly she finds out the history of their family and why her brother might have been taken, not simply lost at sea. This is a family friendly movie that can be slow moving but worth the outcome.

One movie that many people associate with Ireland is The Quiet Man (1952) starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. It tells the story of an American boxer who moves back to his family hometown in Ireland. He meets Maureen and they fall in love. But her brother gets into a snoot fit and will not release her dowry money.

The last 15 minutes of the movie features an epic fight between Wayne and Victor McLagen as they go across the countryside and make stops in the pubs for a pint or two.  Is it family friendly? Yes, it is. And then the family can go explore Wayne, O’Hara and director John Ford on the internet.

My last suggestion is another family friendly flick call Into the West (1992).  This movie stars Gabriel Byrne as a widower with two boys to raise. They are travelers who live in the slums of Dublin. Byrne is more interested in drinking to forget his late wife. But then the boys’ grandfather finds a white stallion who can only seem to be controlled by the younger boy and they keep the horse in their apartment.

All sorts of things that can go wrong do, including the police and a wealthy industrialist colluding to get the magnificent beast. The boys end up stealing their horse back and traveling across the country. It is a grand adventure as the dad tries to get back to his boys while they manage to hide from the police. For those people who cry easily, this movie will get you going.

I know there are others that people like but I might have missed.  Write in the comment section what is a great movie, set and made in Ireland, that I did not write about.

Until next week, see you in the movie aisle.

Let the world, or at least St. Anne, know your family’s recent selection by dropping a line to momgoestothemovies@sbcglobal.net. You can also ‘friend’ me on Facebook.