Monday, December 17, 2007

A Christmas Story

Winston Churchill once requested that the eminent sage and philosopher, Isaiah Berlin, be invited to dine with him. By chance, the equally eminent and not much less philosophical songwriter, Irving Berlin, happened to be in town at the same time. In one of those mix-ups so familiar to the present British government, Irving got the invitation.
Predictably, the meal was not a great success. After receiving a few baffling responses to his questions, Winston asked Berlin what he considered to be his greatest success.
After some consideration he replied, “I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas,” at which the Prime Minister relapsed into a puzzled and moody silence.
On being informed of the confusion later, he found it hilarious, which is probably more than poor old Irving did.
But “White Christmas” became for many years the de facto compulsory viewing for the family at Christmas time in the US.
In 1983 however, a film director by the name of Bob Clark, whose previous cinematic efforts had been marked by a singular lack of good taste, made a movie about a boy's wish to receive a BB gun as a Christmas present and the various ploys he used to get around the standard adult objection, “You'll shoot your eye out.”
Set in the late 1930's, it was about as far removed from a Hollywood epic as could be imagined and was, in fact, shot on a low budget in Cleveland and Toronto.
Poorly received initially, it lingered almost unnoticed until released upon tape and later DVD for home consumption when it achieved cult status.
For my money, “A Christmas Story” is one of the most appealing Christmas films ever made and, when we lived in the US, was a much loved feature of the holiday.
For reasons best known to the movie moguls it was never, as far as I know, released in Europe and the only DVD's available are coded for Region One, the US and Canada. Why this should be, I have no idea, in fact I fail to understand the coding business altogether except that it is a means of adjusting the price for the various markets to maximise profits.
If you are lucky enough to have a DVD player that is an “All Region” model, the movie is available from Amazon etc. and, if you're a geek, it is possible to change the region on many models.
The film is well worth viewing if only to see how much of the wonder of Christmas that used to be such a part of children's lives has now been lost.


Post a Comment

<< Home