Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Christmas Memory

aka "Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory"

Filmed for ABC Stage 67, a one hour teleplay, 1968 (9.5*)
Directed by Frank Perry
Adapted by Eleanor Perry and Truman Capote
Emmy Award, Peabody Award
[Now available on dvd]

This story by Alabama author Truman Capote is largely autobiographical. The photo I used is the hardcover book edition's cover, a photo of Capote and his cousin.

In the 1930's a 7 year old boy named Buddy (Donny Melvin) is sent to live with his elderly cousin Sook, impeccably and unforgettably played by Emmy-winner Geraldine Page. The simple story relates how she saves her money all year to buy whiskey from an Indian named Haha Jones and collect pecans to make fruitcakes for everyone on her holiday list, which sometimes includes people they've never met, like Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The story is superficially about the joy of giving and thinking of others rather than ourselves, yet it also poignantly reveals a lot about loneliness and loss. Originally a story published in 1956 in Mademoiselle magazine, it reminds me a lot of Capote's first novel, written as a teen, Other Voices, Other Rooms. This is about growing up in the south, and manages to be quite touching without sentimentality, and paints an accurate portrait of the rural south and its simple beauties.

Geraldine Page, one of the greatest actresses ever and winner of 11 awards in her career, makes this tv film for ABC Stage 67 a minor masterpiece, winning one of her three Emmys for leading performance by an actress. The teleplay also won an Emmy, and a Peabody Award. The story is appropriately narrated by Capote himself, and can be rewatched annually without ever growing tiresome because it's never preachy or moralistic, it's like looking at a family photo album. It's hard to watch this film or read the story without being touched in some personal way, of being reminded of your own grandmother, or aunt, or someone that touched your childhood indelibly.

A Christmas Memory - the original short story

1 comments:

buy twitter followers December 15, 2010 at 1:57 AM  

Its insane, that is what i can say concerning this post. Because this def is what the whole thing is about right? Keep it up!

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.



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