— On the road with Suzz Cromwell in Texas —
Spending the week with my film-obsessed family in Houston has led to pretty much no sleep. While we take in the local food scene by day, the evenings are spent around a roaring fire watching whatever we can get our hands on, projected onto my brother’s living room wall. My father was a projectionist in the Air Force and his adoration for cinema has stayed with him all his life. Growing up, the family would gather in our living room to watch hours of 16 mm films, everything from Laurel & Hardy to Disney classics to Hollywood favorites (think Casablanca, Pal Joey, That’s Entertainment, Singin’ in the Rain, Tangier). It was a marvelous way to mature into adulthood, and this family tradition has obviously brought me to love everything about film.
Last night’s foray into movie viewing had the family re-living our Christmas film tradition of watching a collection of 16mm film shorts my dad creatively spliced together. Each of these shorts were mini-masterpieces, and are burned into my memory. Here is where I need to give total credit to a great site we discovered: Xmasflix.com. Give this cinefile some love, as they have assembled the cream of the crop of holiday favorites and incredible rarities. The site is a bit overwhelming, but if you feel like braving the pending storm by watching some great shorts on your laptop or home computer, this would be film-time well spent.
I give Xmasflix.com my personal thank you, as on their homepage is this amazing stop-motion 1940s gem called “A Christmas Dream.” It was indeed one of the holiday shorts we’d watch as kids in my family homestead. A Czech-produced piece, this Castle Films short is filled with the stop-motion antics of a curious rag doll that tries to win back the love of her little girl. It’s brilliant, and while that may be nostalgia talking, I invite you to spend the next 9 minutes experiencing it for yourself. If you’ve ever given love to a special childhood toy, this film will bring back that inexplicable human warmth.
Visit Xmasflix.com and watch “A Christmas Dream.”
Enjoy, and thank you for reading!