LRPA After Dark feature is 'Christmas Holiday'

LACONIA—Join Lakes Region Public Access Television at 10:30 p.m. this Friday and Saturday night, Dec. 8 and 9, for the “LRPA After Dark” presentation of 1944’s noir-ish melodrama “Christmas Holiday,” starring Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly.

Before shipping out overseas, Lt. Charles Mason discovers, via a telegram, that his fiancée has married another man. He decides to go and confront her in person, but bad weather forces his plane to San Francisco to land in New Orleans. While in The Big Easy, Mason meets a man who takes him to a nightclub/brothel. Performing there is singer Jackie Lamont (Durbin). Mason offers to buy Jackie a drink, but instead she asks him to take her to midnight Mass, as it is Christmas Eve. Jackie becomes uncontrollably upset during Mass, after afterward tells Mason her story (through flashbacks). Her real name is Abigail, and she’s married to a man named Robert Manette (Kelly) who is serving a life sentence for murder. Robert came from a prominent New Orleans family where he lived with his domineering mother in the family estate. When he and Abigail met, they felt an instant connection. Robert warned Abigail that he was a gambler, but that he would give it up if she married him. They lived for several months in wedded bliss, but then Robert began staying out all night. One evening, Robert murders his bookie, and his mother covers up the crime, expecting Abigail to assist in this deception. The police catch Robert; he is convicted and sent to prison. Robert’s mother blames Abigail for not being supportive. Abigail changes her name to avoid being recognized, but stays in New Orleans to be near Robert, as, despite everything, she still loves him. Soon after telling Mason her story, Robert breaks out of jail and heads straight to find Abigail. Can a Christmas miracle save the day?

Despite the fact that its two leads, Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly, were both big Hollywood musical stars in their day, “Christmas Holiday” is a rarely seen film. It also casts both the actors completely against type: Durbin, usually the good girl, playing a “hostess” in a questionable “nightclub,” and Kelly, always the charming, affable hero, here playing anything but. Christmas is really only the background to this story, which is dark and complicated. If you’ve never seen Gene Kelly play a “bad guy,” this is the film for you. So grab your popcorn and join us after dark for this rare screen gem from the past.

Join LRPA After Dark as they celebrate the holidays all month long:
Dec. 15 & 16: 1980’s “A Christmas Without Snow”
Dec. 22 & 23: 1935’s “Scrooge” followed by Christmas cartoons
Dec. 29 & 30: 1941’s “Meet John Doe”
And on Monday, Dec. 25: a day of family-friendly holiday movies, shows and cartoons!

And mark your calendars for the annual Greater Lakes Region Children’s Auction presented by CruCon Cruise Outlet, Tuesday, Dec. 5 – Saturday, Dec. 9. This year the auction will be held at the Belknap Mall and they’d love for you to stop by all see all the action! The next best thing to being there is joining LRPA for minute-by-minute coverage on MetroCast Channels 12 and 25 and also on Live Stream at https://livestream.com/lrpatv/ca2017. This year you can watch the Auction live on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChildrensAuction/. Near a radio? Then tune into our radio partners 104.9 FM The Hawk and 101.5 FM WEEI.