Francis Xavier Cross is a cynical, mean spirited television executive, he treats his loyal assistant with contempt. He just sacked a member of staff on Christmas Eve for simply disagreeing with him, and he’s alienated himself from his brother who still insists on inviting Frank to Christmas dinner despite him refusing to go every year. However, Frank is forced to learn the true meaning of Christmas when he’s visited by three ghosts. (IMDb)
This was on the CBC last night. We watched it all the way through. I cannot believe that a 30-year-old movie can still make me cry: now that’s powerful, in my opinion.
I think we are shown Frank’s full name at least twice during the movie. It got me to thinking: X and † together make a star and this movie made a star of Bill Murray.
Like Charles Dickens before him, the director, Richard Donner (and Blitzen?) wanted to highlight some social issues in this story. Here is a sampling.
Frank’s former girlfriend, Claire (clear!) runs a homeless shelter for the down and outs of society. She acts as Frank’s conscience.
Frank’s father brings him a present of veal when he’s four years old. Then he tells him that if he wants something better, he’d better get a job.
Precursor of the “Times Up” Movement
Frank gets to visit a Christmas party put on by his boss, Lew Hayward, who is a womanizer. Examples of sexist behaviour are rife at this party from the early 70’s.
Network Television Packaging
There are so many cameos in this movie, I wasn’t sure I caught them all (including Robert Goulet, remember him?) — even in 1988, the networks were trying to be all things to all people, while hopefully scaring them enough to make them afraid of missing something.
Does life imitate art or is it the other way around? Eliot Loudermilk, the fired employee, comes back with a shotgun to take his revenge on Frank. (I don’t remember this to be so common way back when…)
Put a Little Love in Your Heart
When Grace Cooley’s silent little boy finally speaks, and says the line, “God bless us everyone,” the tears flowed again.
If nothing else, this movie reminds us to “think of our fellow man, lend him a helping hand.”
So, may the Spirits of Christmas help you to do the same, to “make the World a better place, for you and me, you just wait and see…”