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Bless you, TCM, for showing "The Bishop's Wife" this holiday season


crock1960
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I first saw this movie on TCM in December 2008 and, for whatever reason, I didn't notice it at all last holiday season. I don't know if TCM didn't include it in its holiday playlist, or if I just missed it. But I'm so happy to see that this movie will run on both December 12 and on Christmas Eve. When I first saw this movie nearly two years ago, it became an instant favorite of mine, ranked right up there with the 1938 version of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" with Alistair Sim

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*I first saw this movie on TCM in December 2008 and, for whatever reason, I didn't notice it at all last holiday season. I don't know if TCM didn't include it in its holiday playlist, or if I just missed it.*

 

Crock,

 

Holiday movies are very popular and there are many channels vying to rent them. TCM has to rent every movie they broadcast.

 

*The Bishop's Wife* may have run on another channel last year (I don't recall seeing it on the schedule but I am mid-century modern and my memory is not what it used to be) but the good news is that it on the schedule next month, not once but twice.

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Well, the 1960 in my handle refers to the year of my birth, so I'm not exactly a spring chicken either. Didn't realize that TCM doesn't have exclusive access to the movies it shows. I thought when Ted (don't call me Jane Fonda's husband) Turner bought the MGM catalogue, that every movie TCM played was owned by them. I stand corrected.

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This is a wonderful and very touching movie. I feel it works on many levels. It is light-hearted fantasy and touching love story. It makes a new angle on romantic triangle. :) I did not think of it but a person pointed out it shows true spirit of charity by all memory of the angel disappears with him leaving behind only the good he had done. That adds wonderful element even if you do not consciously recognize it.

 

They did not show it last year but did show it in distant past.

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You're correct. I should have written Reginald Owen. That is definitely my favorite version, followed by the '51 version with Sim. Surprisingly, my third favorite might be the George C. Scott TV version. It is definitely not the "Beavis and Butthead" version!

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You may not feel like a spring chicken but I have a scar from a knife wound older than you are. :)

 

I am sure others will be quick to provide detailed information but the quick version is that TCM's library of movies was split from TCM when Time Warner/AOL bought the system some years ago. It is just shuffling money from one department to another department in the same corporation but TCM does have to pay to rent any movie it wishes to show.

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Which brings up another question I've had about TCM for a long while: since they are commercial free, just how do they cover their expenses? Is it all from cable subscriber fees? From TCM Shop proceeds? Or are they simply subsidized by their sister networks? However they do it, I'm not complaining. Who wants to watch more commercials?

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Well, THE BISHOP'S WIFE is on DVD...so one doesn't have to rely solely on TCM to view it. It is nice, however, to have it seen on this channel.

 

I enjoyed Penny Marshall's remake with an African American cast, THE PREACHER'S WIFE. Loretta Young is a better actress, but Whitney Houston's musical scenes are must-see and give the remake a special quality.

 

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> {quote:title=crock1960 wrote:}{quote}

> You're correct. I should have written Reginald Owen. That is definitely my favorite version, followed by the '51 version with Sim. Surprisingly, my third favorite might be the George C. Scott TV version. It is definitely not the "Beavis and Butthead" version!

 

Crock, I too love the George C. Scott version! I remember thinking he can't do accents, can he?? Ah, but he did a passable British accent, and it's the longest version(I think) put on film(video??) so that adds to the pleasure as well...

 

And even though I have the Bishop's Wife, I might watch it on TCM just for the R.O. intro...I kinda wish it got the treatment that NBC gives It's a Wonderful Life, a prime time showing, but it's a near miracle of the the big 4 runs a B&W film as it is...

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Count me as another big fan of "The Bishop's Wife" -- the message of generosity is really quite beautiful. The first time I saw it, about 25 years ago, it brought tears to my eyes when the angel's story about David, being told to the bishop's young daughter, leads into "The Lord is my shepherd...." And I always love Cary's line when he and Loretta get out of the taxi driven by Sylvester (James Gleason), about how Sylvester's children and his children's children will consider him blessed. And the very last lines, from the bishop's Christmas Eve sermon, are words to live by. (And I say this as someone whose religious views are probably more similar to Monty Woolley's old professor than those of the angel or the bishop.)

 

Besides being beautifully written, the movie's performances are outstanding -- Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven, and Monty Woolley are all excellent, as are supporting players like James Gleason, Elsa Lanchester, Gladys Cooper, and Sara Haden. You'll probably recognize a couple of the kids, too: the bishop's daughter was played by Karolyn Grimes, Zuzu Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life," and the main older kid in the snowfight scene is Bobby Anderson, who played young George Bailey in the same movie.

 

Speaking of Cary Grant in the Christmas context, I just heard, for the first time, his recording "Christmas Lullaby" -- it was played on Sirius/XM satellite radio this morning (and can be heard at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6sXdhWiMsU). As a huge Cary Grant fan (my wife and I had tickets to see him in person the night he died in 1986), I'm surprised that I hadn't heard sooner about this charming performance. From what I've read, he recorded the song for his newborn daughter in 1967. As you'll hear if you listen to it, he performs it in the "talk/sing" style that Rex Harrison used in "My Fair Lady." A very sweet record. (Does anyone know if it's available on CD? I'd love to have it.)

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*"Which brings up another question I've had about TCM for a long while: since they are commercial free, just how do they cover their expenses? Is it all from cable subscriber fees? "* - crock1960

 

Yes. That is where TCM derives the vast majority of its income. TCM does benefit from having "sister networks" with which it can share certain costs and overhead (which is a very economical and advantageous arrangement) but those networks are not providing financial subsidies to TCM.

 

Kyle In Hollywood

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I know I'm going to get into big trouble for this, but anyway... Why must everyone now refer to "Christmas" as "holiday" ? I know, I know, it's supposed to be politically correct to call it anything other than "Christmas", what about all the non-Christians who might feel left out and offended, etc.

 

The word "Christmas" has long since taken on a secondary meaning from the religious one. Yes, those who are Christians can celebrate December 25th and the time around it as a religious occasion. Yes, that is where the word originated. But gradually, over the years, the term "Christmas" has taken on a second connotation: the secular one. Many people -and that includes many people who do not consider themselves as "Christian", nor do they practise any other faith, many agnostics and atheists celebrate Christmas for a fun time with decorations, a tree, music, food, family gatherings etc. You don't have to be Christian to observe and celebrate "Christmas". It no longer has just the religious meaning. And most people I know from other cultures and religions have no objection to calling this special time of year "Christmas". whether they celebrate it themselves or not. It's mostly those who grew up in this culture who have decided that the word is offensive and should no longer be used.

 

*The Bishop's Wife* is a Christmas movie, it's about Christmas . For God's sake (no pun intended ) it's about an angel, a church minister, and a church. It makes me sad that everyone has mutually agreed to no longer refer to December 25 and the period leading up to it as "Christmas".

 

( I myself do not belong to any faith group, by the way, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or anything else. So I'm not some religious Christian fundamentalist who wants to "put Christ back into Christmas" or anything like that. For me, it's not a religious issue, it's a language issue. A word that was part of our common parlance is being carefully removed, and is now considered inappropriate to use in everyday speech. Must replace it with the meaningless "holiday". )

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I tend to agree, but only in part, about the use of "Christmas" and "holiday."

 

I agree that Christmas, both as a day and as a season, has enough of a secular tradition that it should be possible to use the term in a fairly neutral sense without intending any offense to those who don't celebrate Christmas. And it's certainly true that there are non-Christians who voluntarily and even enthusiastically celebrate Christmas (including some in my own extended family). Of course, this secular use of "Christmas" is exactly what offends people who contend that Christmas is, or should be, exclusively a religious holiday.

 

But I do disagree that the term "holiday" is meaningless. Christmas is a "holiday," so as a descriptive matter, it's accurate to describe "The Bishop's Wife" as a "holiday movie," to bring the discussion back around to our topic, although calling it a "Christmas movie" might be more specific. Similarly, it's accurate to refer to the time around Christmas as the "holiday season."

 

I also think it's OK, and even more accurate, to use the plural "holidays" if you're referring to the group of year-end holidays -- Christmas isn't the only one, since there are also Thanksgiving, New Year's, as well as other religious and cultural holidays.

 

As a personal matter, I've chosen to use "Happy Holidays" if I know that the person I'm talking to may not celebrate Christmas, but not because I'm afraid that they'll take offense at the mention of Christmas -- most people don't seem to -- but because I want to say something meaningful to that person. There are other holidays besides Christmas that I want to wish as "happy," so why not be inclusive?

 

That's just my point of view, as someone who loves almost everything about the Christmas tradition. I realize that others may differ.

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I am Jewish and certainly do not celebrate Christmas in a secular way or not and I am not offended in the least if someone says Merry Christmas to me instead of Happy Holidays. In fact I like many things about Christmas. I don't celebrate it in my home but I like Christmas music and movies. And I do love seeing the lights on my street. I also know that even though I don't celebrate Christmas the person is being kind and I appreciate the thought when they say Merry Christmas to me.

 

Of course Happy Holidays would include me also who celebrates Hanukkah. That is the nice things about Happy Holidays. It includes everyone. People who celebrate Christmas and those who don't. So for me it's not about being offensive it's just about including everyone. And not just me who celebrates Hanukkah but also those who celebrate Kwanza, Chinese New Years, or not anything specific.

 

 

On another note there is something about The Bishop's Wife but I just don't like it even though I adore Cary.

 

Edited by: Kinokima on Nov 17, 2010 5:37 PM

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}

> Why must everyone now refer to "Christmas" as "holiday" ?

 

I am very sorry but I will call it holiday in America because it does not feel like true Christmas. It is two weeks early and is all about selling toys. At home it was more quiet joy. I have photograph of when I was 12 dressed as Snowflake Girl. I was adorable! ;)

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I actually have no objection to people saying "Happy Holidays", or referring to "the holidays" or "the holiday season". And yes, that more general term can apply to (the American) Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, New Year's Day etc. And naturally I've no problem with the notion of being inclusive.

 

i guess what I was talking about is when people actually substitute the word "Holiday" when they formerly would have used "Christmas" . For example, "holiday" tree, "holiday shopping", "holiday" presents. Say what you like about other special days and occasions at this time of year, but I know that until about 5 -10 years ago, the word "Christmas" prefaced all the examples I gave above. And there is no question in my mind that people have become uncomfortable about using the word, and have taken to using the more generic "holiday" to get around it.

 

BingTan, it's true that some practising Christians are the opposite, offended when Christmas is referred to in any sense other than a religious one.

You wrote: "...this secular use of "Christmas" is exactly what offends people who contend that Christmas is, or should be, exclusively a religious holiday."

 

"Damned it we do, damned it we don't." But I think those "practising Christians " who object to the term being used in a secular way have lost the battle. It is because "Christmas" is as much a secular as a religious holiday that I think non-Christians need not be offended by the use of the word.

 

Anyway...*The Bishop's Wife* is a fine Christmas movie. I first saw it a few years ago, and remember being surprised that it wasn't as well-known as *It's a Wonderful Life* or *A Christmas Carol* (any version you like.) It's got a great cast, Loretta Young was never lovelier, the setting is deliciously wintry and Christmassy, and of course it's got a beautiful Christmas message (without being cloyingly sappy about it.) I like the way Cary Grant waves his hand over that tree he miraculously decorates, and suddenly it's sparkling with tinsel. Also fun is how he uses his angel powers to get David Niven to stay stuck to that chair.

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Well okay Holiday Tree is just silly. But I could argue that it could be Holiday shopping depending on what Holiday you are shopping for. I am definitely not offended by the word Christmas. It is the holiday that most people celebrate in the Winter. :)

 

I also would call Bishop's Wife a Christmas Movie. That's definitely the winter Holiday being celebrated. Just like I think of another Cary Grant film Holiday a New Year's film.

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Don't be embarrassed I honestly can't recall any good Hanukkah movies either. I mean there were cartoons/specials but those never seemed to be as good as the Christmas ones.

 

Actually I sort of identify with Christmas Story because that is what we do on many Christmas Eves. Go out for Chinese food. :)

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}

> Also fun is how he uses his angel powers to get David Niven to stay stuck to that chair.

 

I love that scene! It makes him much more human to think he can do such a peevish thing and yet he does it with angel's style in subtle manner.

 

I also love the scene where he makes the professor's glass refill with gentle wave of his hand and then he does very subtle trick of making bottle refill while professor watches glass intently. :)

 

I have little experience with putting tinsel on Christmas tree but I think the true fun is getting into tinsel fight.

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I apologize if my use of the words "holiday season" offended anyone. To me, that phrase aptly summarizes the "troika" of holidays that begin next week with Thanksgiving. It was not my intention to minimize the importance of Christ's birth in any way.

 

But frankly, we've been fighting this same battle for several decades. I can recall as a kid my mom's hide being chapped whenever she saw "Xmas" painted across a store window. "Don't take the Christ out of Christmas," she always said. It was several years later in college when I learned that "X" in the original Greek referred to Christ. So, in essence, they never took the Christ out of Christmas!

 

What offends me more than the words "Happy Holidays" are the luxury car companies who tell me I should have a Mercedes Benz or Lexus parked in my driveway on Christmas morning. In a time when many families can't even afford the necessities of life, let alone a little Christmas cheer, I find these ads to be a blasphemy not only to Christ, but to the whole spirit of Christmas.

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> {quote:title=crock1960 wrote:}{quote} Didn't realize that TCM doesn't have exclusive access to the movies it shows. I thought when Ted (don't call me Jane Fonda's husband) Turner bought the MGM catalogue, that every movie TCM played was owned by them. I stand corrected.

 

Well, when Ted Turner owned TCM he also owned about 5000 films which TCM could pretty well show whenever it wanted to. However, and many folks don't realize this, in the mid 1990s, Ted sold his company to media giant Time-Warner and all those film are now under the control of Warner Bros. As a result, TCM now has to lease every film it shows including those that may have been run many, many times before. Sometimes TCM is even forced to bid against other channels for those same films.

 

Regarding your other question about how TCM pays the bills, Cable systems and satellite services pay TCM a very small amount per subscriber to carry the network. It really amazes me how much TCM does with so little.

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