Lionel Barrymore

I Love Christmas Kitsch, And I’m Not Ashamed To Admit It
December 23, 2011

Down my street, one family is doing its best to pump up the Christmas spirit. They have filled their modest lawn with inflated ornaments, each about five-feet tall. On one side of the walkway stands a Frosty the Snowman and a Rudolph the Reindeer, both with scarves wrapped around their necks and big smiles on their faces, as well as a miniature Santa Claus and Rudolph waving from inside a snowdome.

TNR Film Classics: ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (January 6, 1947)
December 16, 2011

Frank Capra, Hollywood’s Horatio Alger, lights with more cinematic know-how and zeal than any other director to convince movie audiences that American life is exactly like the Saturday Evening Post covers of Norman Rockwell. It’s a Wonderful Life, the latest example of Capracorn, shows his art at a hysterical pitch. Capra’s moralizing, which is driven home in films packed with absurdly over-simplified characterizations and unbearable whimsy, is presented with great talent almost wholly through visual detail.

TNR Film Classics: 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' (January 26, 1938)
February 11, 2011

To say of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that it is among the genuine artistic achievements of this country takes no great daring. In fact, outside of Chaplin, Disney’s is the one Hollywood name that any corn doctor of art and culture dare mention without fear of losing face, or on the other hand of having to know too much about the subject. There is this to be said of Disney, however: he is appreciated by all ages, but he is granted the license and simplification of those who tell tales for children, because that is his elected medium to start with.