A Film for Christmas – ‘The Holly and The Ivy’ 1952

I like this film very much and it has featured before on this site. It is from a stage play of the same name written by Wynyard Browne and one that had had a West End run in London at the time.

It is a play that is sometimes put on even now in small Theatres throughout the land – I have never seen any of the stage versions though but I have seen this film.

It is to be shown on Talking Pictures on 20th December 2021 and again on Christmas Eve morning – if it had been down to me, I would have shown it on Christmas Day at about 8 pm

Home for Christmas – and a view from the Vicarage Window of the Church

Ralph Richardson is the Vicar of Wyndenham – a small village in Norfolk – who has lost his wife and so, as Christmas arrives, he plans host to his grown up family – his children and other relatives

The Vicar’s eldest daughter, Jenny (played by Celia Johnson), lived with him at the Vicarage since his wife – and her mother’s death ad has cared for him. Jenny wants to marry her sweetheart, David Paterson (played by John Gregson), but she can’t leave her father alone. David is an engineer and will leave in a month for a five-year job in South America. Will she – can she – leave her father behind and go with him ?

Margaret Leighton plays the youngest daughter, Margaret. She works in the fashion industry in London and seems to have a busy nightlife. Her situation and her life gradually are revealed during the family gathering – it is indeed a tragic story that hits us, the audience right between the eyes

Denholm Elliott plays the Vicar’s son, Michael. He is serving a year in the Army. His father expects him to go to Cambridge, but Michael has no desire to. He plays out a wonderful scene with his father when they both stand around the Christmas tree and really talk to one another – the film Director cleverly uses the tree as a sort of hide-out for Michael from his feelings as their conversation deepens. I have never seen this done before or since.

Aunts Lydia and Gretchen have backgrounds that add meat to the story. And, cousin Richard Wyndham is an always present member of family gatherings.

All aspects of this film are superb. The screenplay, direction, technical production and acting all contribute to making this a wonderful drama about life – and, it is a most fitting story of family love for Christmas. Please watch it if you can

Wyndenham Post Office

The Opening sequences of the film as one member of the family drives home to the Vicarage at Wyndenham

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