What’s in Your TV 'Must Watch List' This Xmas?

What’s in Your TV 'Must Watch List' This Xmas?

It’s about this time of year when I actually start getting quite excited about watching TV. I know it sounds quite sad, but I don’t get that much spare time to watch the box normally. Xmas is THE time when I indulge my secret passion for children’s tales and magical stories. The child in me is reawakened every year during that time, when I barely move out of the house – or off the sofa!

Here’s what will make it into my list this year.

Golden ‘Serious’ Classics
Well, no Xmas is complete without watching "Doctor Zhivago" - the original 1965 version by David Lean, and the only one worth watching. It is an absolute masterpiece. The story is gripping, the music haunting and it looks stunningly beautiful. Incidentally, if like me, you manage to get your hands on the DVD with the “making of” you will be amazed by how the whole thing was put together. Did you know that in the famous scene where he seeks refuge in his ice covered house in the country, the actual ice was made with wax and the whole set was made and shot in Spain? Honestly, watching the making of is almost as gripping as the film itself. It’s fascinating to see the ingenuity at play in times where they couldn't rely on CG to create magic. Still, I hope you’ll agree with me that the result is pretty impressive nonetheless.

Next will be “The Fiddler on the Roof”. This film has a lot of the same qualities as Doctor Zhivago. It’s haunting, funny and sad in equal measure and you’ll be singing the songs in your head for days after wards. A must watch.

Modern Fairy Tales
Stardust”: This one is a gem. Robert de Niro is absolutely hilarious, and it ticks all the boxes of Christmas magic; it has a princess (well sort of off), witches, a prince (well, again, sort of!), magical potions, goodies, baddies, and more. And it will have parents as well as children rolling on the floor with laughter.

The Chronicles of Narnia” will also be in my list (all three of them), in what promises to be a morning till night indulgence.

Older Fairy Tales
Christmas is not Christmas until I have watched this old French fairy tale. It’s called “Peau d'Ane”, which translates literally as “Donkey Skin”, and the story is absolutely bonkers! There’s a donkey that poos gems, a father in love with his daughter and the end involves a helicopter. I kid you not! The princess is the absolutely gorgeous Catherine Deneuve (one of the most beautiful women who ever walked this planet) and the king is Jean Marais, who in his youth was just as beautiful. I guess if he were English, you would refer to him as a ‘Shakespearian actor’ – anyway, I had a massive crush on him growing up, as did most French teenage girls.

I’ll also find time to watch “Beauty and Beast” – but not the Disney cartoon version. Oh no! I’ll be watching the 1946 version (in French) with Jean Marais (again!). I’ll concede that there’s a theme developing here… The screenplay for this version was written by no other than the famous Jean Cocteau. It is eerie, dark, and quite scary for most young children. The best way to watch that one is to pilfer a huge bed sheet, hang it on the wall and find an old projector.

CG Extravaganzas
Before you go off thinking that my watch list is only made of dusty VHS tapes, I would like to point out that there will be plenty of CG laden movies too. I have already bought myself the blu-ray version of “X-Men: First Class”, and I have been ‘saving it’ for Xmas.

And if I can drag myself out of the house to the cinema, then “Hugo” will be in my list, and so will “Puss in Boots”.

Now that I have revealed my list, I would love to know what you will be watching. Please share your thoughts here.

6 Comments Isabelle Duarte

Posted by
Isabelle Duarte
Thu 8 Dec 2011: 10:25am

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  • Isabelle Duarte:

    Nice choice Triet!

  • Triet:

    I must say, Bad Santa is my personal favourite. =)

  • Ali:

    In the States the entire month of December is filled with Holiday films. On Christmas eve it's 24 hours of "A Christmas Story" and "Elf". We've also got Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Scrooged and the classics Holiday Inn, The Wizard of Oz and It's A Wonderful Life. I personally enjoy The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol (the 1938 version)

  • Isabelle Duarte:

    Hi Alex,

    I totally get what you mean regarding what's on offer on satellite. Most of my favourites, I own on DVDs or Blu-Ray. Let me know how you get on with The Sony Google TV is you get your hands on one :-)

  • Alex:

    Nothing. TV on satellite is rubbish. I am looking forward to the numerous Blu Ray titles I've ordered (can't believe how cheap Blu Ray has become- Avatar for £8!!)
    Looking forward to the New Year for the Sony Google TV's though- they should be sweet. That's it. Merry Xmas!

  • Martyn Drake:

    I still have stuff from LAST Christmas I've not got around to watching. Even possibly last year's British Comedy Awards. Even after leaving the film industry back in 2008 and having only bought a TV back at the end of last year, I don't really watch that much.

    Stardust is an excellent film. I was honoured to have been invited to Neil Gaiman's own personal private screening before the film was even complete and even then, in it's unfinished state, was a beautiful piece of work. Also had the honour of interviewing Jane Goldman who co-wrote the screenplay (and has since gone on to write and co-produce wonderful films, the last one being X-Men:First Class - and despite not being a great fan of ghost stories, I want to see what she's done with The Woman in Black - looks genuinely creepy).

    Fiddler on the Roof was my first ever musical - and my parents took me to see it when Topol was appearing in stage. The film is okay, but not a patch on the original stage production in my eyes.

    Otherwise I'll probably just follow what my wife wants to watch - saves having arguments.

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