If you are looking for a unique combination of nostalgia, inspiration and holiday cheer for Christmas, look no further than Heavenly Christmas Film Classics, a two-hour compendium of six yuletide short films from the folks who gave us the highly praised Lost & Rare DVD programs.
The folks who put this together went way back into the archives to find these rarities. Both “Silent Night: Story of a Christmas Carol” (1953) and “Starlight Night” (1939) deal with the creation of the classic Christmas carol “Silent Night.” The former traces the song’s origins to Oberndorf, a small town in Austria, back in 1818. We learn that a priest named Father Joseph Mohr wrote the lyrics, while the music was composed by Fritz Gruber, an organist and schoolmaster from a neighboring village. The latter short uses the song to convey a story involving a father and his estranged daughter.
Children also play a key role in “The Young Kings” (1956), in which the journey made by a group of Latin American boys to a village, where they intend to bring gifts for poor children, starts a conflict in the community. “Star of Bethlehem” (1954), directed and presented by James Mason, features youngsters (including Jerry “The Beaver” Mathers and Portland Mason, James’ daughter) enacting the adult roles in the Nativity story.
Another short also called “Star of Bethlehem” (1956) is a color production, one of the last works of pioneering animator Lotte Reiniger (The Adventures of Prince Achmed). The film that uses cut-out animation to tell the story of the birth of Jesus.
Finally, “Christmas is Magic” (1953) stars Robert Hutton as a veteran with amnesia who is given comfort on Christmas Eve by a widow and her son.
For those seeking spiritual, family-friendly entertainment for the season to be jolly, Heavenly Christmas Film Classics should prove to bring joy, if not to the world, then to the viewer.
Now, take a peek for yourself with this preview comprised of a few snippets from Heavenly Christmas Film Classics: