Monday, December 05, 2011

The Bishop's Wife

Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child's cry. A blazing star hung over a stable and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven't forgotten that night down the centuries; we celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, the sound of bells and with gifts. But especially with gifts. You give me a book; I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer, and Uncle Henry could do with a new pipe. We forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled - all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger. It's his birthday we are celebrating. Don't ever let us forget that. Let us ask ourselves what he would wish for most, and then let each put in his share. Loving kindness, warm hearts and the stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth. -from The Bishop's Wife

The Bishop's Wife is a delightful lesser-known Christmas film from 1947. Cary Grant makes a perfect angel, and David Niven as the worried bishop trying to flatter wealthy parishioners into donating money enough to build a cathedral and Loretta Young as his neglected wife are also perfect. Elsa Lancaster plays the housekeeper. I always like her. We've seen this movie several times and enjoy it anew every year. The Husband gets a particular kick out of it, laughing aloud at some parts.


TCM has an overview. The New York Times review says "it comes very close to being the most enchanting picture of the year" and calls it a "warm and winning fable".

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