10 Underrated Christmas Movies You’ve Probably Never Seen

It’s holiday movie season and every year there seems to be a torrent of new Christmas movies coming from Hallmark and Netflix. But for many of us, it’s also the time of year to visit some classic favorites like It’s a great life or A Christmas Story. But what if you want something new for you, but with that same classic movie warmth? Put on your coziest sweater, get an egg yolk or hot buttered rum and get ready to fall in love with these little-known classics now streaming on HBO Max, Criterion Channel and for rent on digital platforms.

From sparkling romantic comedies to classic film noir to obscure animated family movies, there’s sure to be something for everyone on this list, whether they’ve been naughty or nice.

Read on for 10 of the lesser-known Christmas movies to watch on streaming services this holiday season.

Bachelor Mother

Polly Parrish is holding a doll

Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

A few days before Christmas, saleslady Polly Parrish (Ginger Rogers), hired as a temporary vacation helper, receives a letter of resignation from the John B. Merlin and Son department store in New York City. On her way home, she sees a woman leaving a baby on the steps of an orphanage and decides to take it home from the cold. Later, the owner’s son, David Merlin (David Niven), mistakenly believes Polly is an unwed mother. After getting her job back, he begins to fall in love. Meanwhile, his father believes David is the father of Polly’s child. With charming performances, this screwball comedy is as fizzy as a glass of champagne.

Bachelor Mother is for rent at Amazon, Apple, and other rental services.

Think of the night

Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray look romantic in Remember The Night

Image: Paramount Pictures

Written by Preston Sturges and directed by Mitchell Leisen, this romantic comedy stars Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray — four years before their iconic couple in Double compensation. Lee Leander (Stanwyck) is arrested for stealing a bracelet, but her trial has been postponed until after Christmas due to technical problems, because prosecutor Jack Sargeant (MacMurray) does not want a jury full of Christmas cheer. However, he also doesn’t want her to spend Christmas Eve in jail. On their way to Lee’s estranged mother, the two get stuck in rural Pennsylvania, and of course they fall in love. A film with a perfect balance between end-of-year melancholy and revelry.

Think of the night is available to cable subscribers at watch TCM and Spectrum on demand.

Lady in the Lake

Robert Montgomery held in a mirror by Audrey Totter in Lady in the Lake

Image: MGM

Based on Raymond Chandler’s novel of the same name, star Robert Montgomery not only takes on the role of private detective Phillip Marlowe in Los Angeles, but also directed the film. Filmed almost entirely from Marlowe’s point of view, characters speak directly to the camera. Montgomery’s Marlowe is mostly heard, his face only occasionally seen as a reflection in a mirror. When publisher Adrienne Fromsett (Audrey Totter) hires Marlowe a few days before Christmas, he finds himself caught up in a twisted mystery involving beautiful but devious women, unending greed and cold-blooded murder. While the camera gimmick can get a little nauseous at times, there isn’t really anything else quite like it.

Lady in the Lake is available to cable subscribers at Spectrum on demand, and to continue renting Amazon, Apple, vudu, and other rental services.

It happened on 5th Avenue

Gale Storm and Victor Moore sit on a bench in It Happened on 5th Avenue

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Released the same year as the original Miracle on 34th StreetRoy Del Ruth’s ensemble comedy follows homeless Aloysius T. McKeever (Victor Moore), who every Christmas season takes up residence in the boarded-up Fifth Avenue mansion of the world’s second-richest man (Charles Ruggles) while on vacation. . holidays. The good-hearted McKeever gets more than he bargained for when he meets ex-GI Jim Bullock (Don DeFore), his wartime friends Whitey (Alan Hale, Jr.) and Hank (Edward Ryan) and their families, plus 18-year-old Trudy “Smith” (Gale Storm) shares the mansion with him. Though it deals directly with the post-World War II housing crisis, Del Ruth’s interrogation of how America is failing its veterans resonates.

It happened on 5th Avenue is available to stream on HBO Max.

Holiday Affair (1949)

Robert Mitchum comes to Janet Leigh's house with presents in Holiday Affair

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Brimming with holiday cheer, against the type to mend his image after a marijuana raid, Robert Mitchum exudes charm as a bohemian seasonal saleswoman who has romances with Janet Leigh’s widowed single mother. They meet when comparison shopper Connie (Leigh) accidentally costs Mitchum his job after buying a toy train from him. The situation is further complicated by Connie’s wet blanket boyfriend Carl (Wendell Corey) and her precocious song Timmy (Gordon Gebert), who thinks the train is a present for him. The chemistry between Leigh and Mitchum is off the charts. Their first kiss is hot enough to roast chestnuts.

holiday affair is available to stream on HBO Max.

Susan slept here

Susan Slept Here cast is in their pajamas

Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Shot in glorious Technicolor, Susan slept here is one of those plots that only make sense in classic movies. Dick Powell (in his final film role) stars as Mark Christopher, a Hollywood screenwriter who suffers from writer’s block after winning an Academy Award. On Christmas Eve, his buddy, Sergeant Sam Hanlon, brings 17-year-old bum Susan Landis (a high-spirited Debbie Reynolds) to his luxurious bachelorette house so she doesn’t have to spend the night alone in jail. While it does give rise to an idea for a juvenile delinquency film, the situation also puts Mark in a difficult position with his longtime fiancée Isabella (a glamorous Anne Francis). Meanwhile, as Mark’s drunken secretary Maude, Glenda Farrell runs away for most of the movie.

Susan slept here is available to stream on HBO Max.

Bell, Book and Candle

Bell Book and Candle : Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart in a store

Photo: Columbia Pictures

Possibly the coolest Christmas movie ever made, this mid-century fantasy novel stars Kim Novak as a posh Greenwich Village home, a witch turned art dealer named Gillian, whose holiday blues are cured when she falls in love with her. publishing neighbor Shep (Jimmy Stewart). On Christmas Eve, Shep and his fiancée Merle (Janice Rule) visit the Zodiac Club, where they encounter Gillian, her aunt Queenie (Elsa Lanchester), and her bongo-playing wizard brother (Jack Lemmon). Determined to have Shep, Gillian uses her Siamese cat and familiar Pyewacket to enchant him. But eventually Gillian learns that human love isn’t so simple.

Bell, Book and Candle is available to cable subscribers at watch TCM.

peaceful

Plácido: Men gather around a Christmas car

Image: The Criterion Collection

In this pitch-black Spanish comedy from director Luis García Berlanga, a group of pious women in a small provincial town organize a Christmas campaign under the motto ‘Feed a poor man at your table’. As the film progresses, the rich people of the city compete to show off the poor person they helped, while barely hiding their disgust from them. At the center of the campaign is Plácido, a poor man who is dragged from one activity to another and thus unable to make the payments on his newly purchased motorcycle. This is the season for goodwill toward humanity, but this film serves to remind the privileged that many people struggle year-round and that performative charities do little more than soothe their own conscience.

peaceful is available to stream on Criterion channel.

Nestor the Christmas donkey with long ears

Nestor the Christmas donkey with long ears and an angel hug

Image: Warner Bros. Home video

This forgotten 1970s special produced by Rankin/Bass is the most depressing of them all. Based on a song written by Gene Autry, it follows Nestor, an abnormally long-eared donkey who lived during the Roman Empire. Avoided by their village, Nestor and his mother flee, but his mother dies protecting Nestor from a bitter cold. Later Nestor meets a cherub who tells him he is needed in Bethlehem. His long ears help him get Mary and Joseph to safety during a sandstorm. Like Rudolph the red nosed reindeerIt’s a story of an outcast who learns that his differences are only okay if they help others. Fa-la-la-la.

Nestor Christmas donkey with long ears is available to stream on fuboTV and AMC Plus

The silent partner

Santa is holding a gun in The Silent Partner

Image: Lionsgate

Written to spec by Curtis Hanson, who would later make the ultimate Christmas crime movie LA confidential, The silent partner follows listless bank teller Miles (Elliott Gould) as he finds himself drawn into a world of crime after discovering the bank is about to be robbed by a man dressed as Santa Claus at a shopping mall. Instead of informing his bosses, he starts hiding cash, assuming he can report everything missing when the robbery finally takes place. However, when the thief, a psychopath named Harry Reikle (Christopher Plummer), fathoms the plan, he becomes obsessed with Miles and determined to get all the money for himself. Gloomy and gory, this movie really understands that greed is the reason for the season.

The silent partner is available to stream on Canopy or rent on most digital platforms

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