Are any of our Vintage HQ fans already dusting off their Christmas movies to start watching? We know we are! And, on that note, today our vintage flick of choice to review will, of course, be a classic Christmas movie!
Though a good Vintage HQ staffer will ALWAYS stop whatever they’re doing if any of our favorite, well-known, classic Christmas movies come on the telly (White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street we’re looking at you), we feel that most Vintage HQ fans are well-versed in those Christmas classics (if you’re not PLEASE do yourself a favor and check those titles out…you’re welcome). Today, therefore, we would like to bring to your attention a wonderful albeit lesser known classic Christmas movie It Happened on 5th Avenue from 1947.
It Happened on 5th Avenue is about a unlikely group of strangers that cross paths during the Christmas season. When the movie opens we meet a homeless man and his dog walking the streets of New York. He enters a wealthy neighborhood and, as a tour bus drives by describing one of the mansions on the block, we see this homeless man enter the property through a spot in the fence. He enters the house and makes himself at home. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, young army veteran Jim Bullock is being evicted from his New York apartment so the building can be torn down and replaced by an 80-story office building. When he’s forced to sleep on a park bench Jim meets Aloysius T. McKeever, a well-dressed man with a dog, who offers him a place to stay. Little does Jim know that the man is actually homeless and the mansion he has been invited to stay in is, in fact, someone else’s. The more people that get invited to stay (and some uninvited including, of course, a love interest) and the more identities that get mistaken lead to an absolute mess but one that, thankfully, gets untangled with the spirit of Christmas in everyone’s hearts.
This movie doesn’t have all the more well-known “Old Hollywood” names and that’s exactly what we like about it. We here at Vintage HQ think it’s important to acknowledge and appreciate the work of other talents of the time and introduce our readers to some lesser-known classic movie jewels! Victor Moore (our homeless man, Aloysius T. McKeever) was born in 1876 and, though he got a late start in the movie business, was in an impressive number of movies including Swing Time with the fantastic duo Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire and The Seven Year Itch with Marilyn Monroe. Don DeFore (our young vet, Jim Bullock) may be one of the better known actors in this movie. If you’ve watched Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis movies you’ll know him from My Friend Irma. If classic 1950s/1960s tv series are more your thing you may know him from Hazel or The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Charles Ruggles (our industrial tycoon, Michael O’Connor) has a Vintage HQ fan base from him being in the Hayley Mills/Maureen O’Hara/Brian Keith Disney classic Parent Trap. Finally, we can’t forget Ann Harding (another great addition to the mansion, Mrs. O’Connor), the dazzling and talented Gale Storm (Jim’s love interest, Trudy) and Alan Hale Jr. (Jim’s old war buddy, Whitey Temple) who had a small part in a Vintage HQ favorite classic Disney family movie The North Avenue Irregulars but is known best as the Skipper on the classic tv series Gilligan’s Island.
This wonderful, Oscar-nominated movie holds up right alongside the favorite classic Christmas movies we all know and love so much and we HIGHLY recommend you watching it! Who knows? It might become one of your new holiday favorites! Enjoy!