Warner Brothers Holiday Collection, Vol. 1 [4 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

The Singing Nun
Henry Koster directed this cloying family musical based on the true life story of Soeur Sourire, a Belgian nun whose recordings made her an overnight sensation on The Ed Sullivan Show. Debbie Reynolds stars as Sister Ann, a Belgian nun who likes to compose little tunes on her guitar. She writes the song "Dominique" for a lonely little boy, Dominic Arlien (Ricky Cordell), whose mother has died and whose father is an alcoholic. Father Clementi (Ricardo Montalban) tries to promote the song, getting help from his old friend Robert Gerarde (Chad Everett), a record producer. "Dominique" becomes an international hit, thanks to Robert's efforts, and Ed Sullivan appears on the scene to film Sister Ann for his television program. Unsure of how to handle her amazing success, Sister Ann seeks out Father Clementi for advice, unsure of whether to give up her singing and remain a nun or to continue on with her singing career and renounce her vows. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

A Christmas Carol
For a generation of radio fans, Lionel Barrymore was the definitive Ebeneezer Scrooge. Alas, Barrymore was crippled by arthritis by the time MGM got around to filming Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in 1938, so the Scrooge role went to contract player Reginald Owen - who, though hardly in the Barrymore league, does a splendid job. Hugo Butler's screenplay must make some adjustments from the source material. The Ghost of Christmas Past, for example, is played not by a robust middle-aged man but by a beautiful young woman (Ann Rutherford). Impeccably cast, the film includes such reliable character players as Leo G. Carroll (Marley's Ghost), Barry McKay (Scrooge's nephew Fred) and Gene and Kathleen Lockhart (Bob and Mrs. Cratchit). The Lockhart's teenaged daughter June makes her screen debut as one of the Cratchit children, while Terry Kilburn is a fine, non-sentimental Tiny Tim. Commendably short for a major production (69 minutes), MGM's Christmas Carol is one of the best adaptations of the oft-filmed Dickens Yuletide classic, and definitely on equal footing with the more famous 1951 Alastair Sim version. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Boys Town
Spencer Tracy won his second Oscar for his portrayal of Father Edward J. Flanagan--then promptly turned the statuette over to the real Father Flanagan out of gratitude. The priest's philosophy that no boy will grow up bad if given a chance in life culminates in his formation of Boys Town in Omaha, Nebraska. Unable to raise funds through "proper" channels, Flanagan finds that his staunchest supporters are the workaday folks who have faith in him; none is stauncher than Jewish pawnbroker Henry Hull, who digs deep into his pockets to help Flanagan realize his dream. The story of the struggle to get Boys Town on its feet paralleled with the regeneration of punkish Mickey Rooney, the younger brother of criminal Edward Norris. At first a wise-guy rebel, Rooney rises to a position of authority, responsibility and respect in Boys Town's self-maintained government. Boys Town, by the way, is the source of the classic line "He ain't heavy--he's my brother." ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Christmas in Connecticut
War hero Dennis Morgan becomes the object of a publicity stunt staged by magazine publisher Sidney Greenstreet. The corpulent print mogul announces that Morgan has won a Christmas dinner, to be prepared by the magazine's housekeeping expert Barbara Stanwyck in her own Connecticut home. The catch: Not only does Stanwyck not have a home in Connecticut, but she's never been in a kitchen in her life! She also doesn't have a husband (as her articles claim), so Stanwyck's erstwhile beau Reginald Gardiner is pressed into service as the hubby. As for the cooking, that will be handled by master chef S. Z. "Cuddles" Sakall. This solves everything, right? No way, Jose. Long dismissed as a lesser film farce, Christmas in Connecticut has its own irresistible charm, and has in recent years become a perennial Christmas TV attraction. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Men of Boys Town
In this sequel to the 1938 boxoffice hit Boys Town, Spencer Tracy repeats his Oscar-winning role of Father Flanagan, with Mickey Rooney likewise reprising his characterization of reformed hoodlum Whitey Marsh. Still operating on the theory that "No boy is bad, if given a chance", Father Flanagan has created Boys Town, a nondemoninational sanctuary for wayward and homeless youngsters in Omaha, Nebraska. Despite the success of his operation insofar as building the character of his charges, the good Father is confronted with ever-mounting debts, and this time not even his old pawnbroker pal Dave Morris (Lee J. Cobb) can come to the rescue. Meanwhile, Whitey Marsh is adopted by the Maitlands, a wealthy couple--a fact that disillusions a sullen, crippled youngster named Ted Martley (Larry Nunn), who'd hoped that the Maitlands would choose him. Upon leaving Boys Town, Whitey tries to pay a visit to his old pal Miles Fenley, who is an inmate in a crooked reform school, but is denied entrance. Driving away from the reformatory, Whitey discovers that a boy from the school, Flips (Darryl Hickman), has stowed away in his car. Whitey agrees not to turn Flip in--a decision he has reason to regret when he is arrested for a robbery committed by Flip. Sent to the same reform school as Miles Fenley, Whitey learns first-hand of the institution's corruption and brutality. He manages to get word to Father Flanagan, who despite his ongoing financial woes takes on the reformatory's unsavory officials and secures a release for Whitey and Flip. But there is still one problem to overcome: Convincing the resentful Ted Martley that the world isn't as bad as he thinks it is. Boasting enough plots for ten films, Men of Boys Town may not have been as good as its predecessor, but it proved to be another box-office bonanza for Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Debbie Reynolds
    Debbie Reynolds - Sister Ann
  • Ricardo Montalban
    Ricardo Montalban - Father Clementi
  • Greer Garson
    Greer Garson - Mother Prioress
  • Agnes Moorehead
    Agnes Moorehead - Sister Cluny
  • Chad Everett
    Chad Everett - Robert Gerarde
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.