Christmas and the Movies: Frames of Mind

John Mundy

in Christmas, Ideology and Popular Culture

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780748628087
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653065 | DOI:
Christmas and the Movies: Frames of Mind

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This chapter describes how the commercial viability and dominant aesthetic sensibility of Christmas movies were established in Hollywood in the 1940s with films such as Holiday Inn, It's A Wonderful Life (1946), and Miracle on 34th Street. An examination of two family entertainment-orientated films, All I Want For Christmas and Jingle All The Way, reveals that Hollywood remains supremely efficient at both acknowledging and resolving ideological contradictions that characterise the experience of the modern Christmas. As both these films show, Hollywood's simultaneous acknowledgement yet containment of the ambiguities that modern Christmas entails are often expressed as much by what is heard on the soundtrack as what is seen on screen. Jingle All The Way suggests that, whilst the anxieties about getting modern Christmas ‘right’ need to be acknowledged, one can also mark out and overcome the antisocial potential of materialism.

Keywords: Holiday Inn; films; materialism; Hollywood

Chapter.  5937 words. 

Subjects: Cultural Studies

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