Once again Aurora over at Once Upon a Screen is challenging everyone to pay it forward this Christmas by choosing classic film recommendations utilizing the Twelve Days of Christmas theme.
I’ve decided to stick as close to that theme as possible by creatively interpreting the lyrics of the song. I didn’t have as much time as I would like to elaborate on all the films and actors who are named in this post. But hopefully, they will pique your interest enough to discover them for yourself.
1 Partridge in a Pear Tree
A partridge is a bird that will sacrifice its life to save its children. What film better portrays the action of sacrifice than Gunga Din? The Indian man Gunga Din idolizes the men in the British military stationed in his country. He desires nothing more than the honor of joining their ranks. In the end he earns his place by risking his life to warn his adopted comrades of an approaching attack and is killed, proving he is a better man than the rest of them.
2 Turtle Doves
Doves are often considered a symbol of peace. These two films portray people who believe in peace over violence. It’s mere coincidence that they both feature Quakers.
3 French Hens
French cinema has a respected tradition of experimentation and excellence. I’ve chosen three famous French films as examples of this.
4 Calling Birds
I present to you four pictures with the name of a bird in their title.
5 Golden Rings
I mean gold rings are pretty much the same as an Oscar, right? They are both gold, a symbol of something great and highly coveted. Here are my five favorite winners.
- You Can’t Take It With You – It’s rare for a comedy to win. Plus, this has an excellent cast with so many of my favorite character actors.
- On The Waterfront – This is the film that made me a Brando fan.
- My Fair Lady – Not only my favorite musical, but one of my favorite films. Period.
- The Sting – You can’t get much better than Robert Redford and Paul Newman teaming up onscreen.
- Casablanca – I put off watching this for years, convinced it couldn’t match its’ hype. Wrong, I was so wrong.
6 Geese a Laying
Sometimes a picture doesn’t live up to its’ hype and bombs. These films originally went over like a bad egg, but in time they grew into their full potential.
7 Swans a Swimming
Swans are known for their grace, serenity and poise and so are these women.
8 Maids a Milking
Well, I don’t know that I can find eight of anything having to do with milking. So how about eight film maids?
9 Ladies Dancing
These dancing ladies were all respected for their talent. Some were trained dancers, others worked hard to develop that skill for the screen.
10 Lords a Leaping
Though not necessarily lords, these ten British men made the leap across the pond and into Hollywood history.
11 Pipers Piping
Films and music have had a long and successful partnership. Hollywood has utilized music to its’ best advantage in many ways. Musicals even have their own genre. Popular musicians often appear in films. And music scores and soundtracks can be money makers in their own right. These eleven films feature characters who are musicians of some kind. Some of these are based on real people and some are fictional. Two of these titles even refer to musical terms. I’ll let you guess which ones.
- Humoresque – John Garfield plays a violinist who gets mixed up in toxic relationship.
- The Glenn Miller Story -A biographical film about the popular big band leader.
- Man With a Horn – Kirk Douglas is a horn player who chooses the wrong woman.
- Alexander’s Ragtime Band – This one was written by the great Irving Berlin and includes a love triangle between Tyrone Power, Alice Faye and Don Ameche.
- Night and Day – A very loosely based biopic on the life of songwriter and composer Cole Porter. But hey, it stars Cary Grant.
- Song of Love – Speaking of love triangles, this is based on a real one between Robert Schumann, his wife Clara and his student Robert Brahms.
- Night Song – A bitter blind pianist is helped by a mysterious and wealthy benefactress. I like this lesser known Dana Andrews film.
- Yankee Doodle Dandy – James Cagney stars as Broadway impresario George M. Cohan.
- The Eddy Duchin Story – Another biopic film. This one tells the story of band leader and pianist Duchin. And bonus, another appearance by Tyrone Power.
- Rhapsody – Beautiful heiress Elizabeth Taylor falls in love with a musician who loves his music more than her!
- Intermezzo – Ingrid Bergman’s Hollywood debut features Leslie Howard as a married violin virtuoso who makes her his accompanist and then falls for her.
12 Drummers Drumming
The drum has become associated with the military in a couple of ways. There is a saying about following the drum that refers to the women (wives, prostitutes and others) who followed behind the Army. And of course, drums have been used for other purposes as well “including military communications, as well as drill, honors music and military ceremonies” Here are twelve movies that honor our military.