spotlight

Our favourite festive film posters

Some films never get old. From the musical fantasy ‘The Wizard of Oz’ to the war adventure ‘The Great Escape’, we take a closer look at some of the festive film classics that make it onto everyone’s watch list this time of year. 

It's A Wonderful Life, Theatrical release poster, 1946

Wizard of Oz, 1939

Swept away from her home in Kansas along with her trusted companion Toto, Dorothy (Julie Garland) wakes to find herself in the colourful land of Oz.

The set was reportedly a much less magical experience for its stars than their performance’s led us to believe. From asbestos snow, to aluminium poisoning, the actors in this early Hollywood production were certainly closer to hazards that would thankfully not be tolerated in the industry today. 

Though the relatively new use of Technicolor film received widespread critical acclaim, the lights were so bright that they caused cast members to faint, with some even needing to be carried off the set. 

As history has shown though, such extreme lengths to bring the ‘Wizard of Oz’ to our screens have not been in vain. Enlivening the spirits of children and adults alike since its release 83 years ago, today it is considered the most influential film of all time.

This vibrant print of a photo taken on set captures Dorothy with her new friends, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and the Tin Man as they meet the mysteriously eccentric wizard. 

It’s A Wonderful Life, 1946

Set in the pleasant fictional town of Bedford Falls, New York, George Bailey (James Stewart) contemplates suicide, when a guardian angel named Clarence (Henry Tavers) shows him what life would be like if he had never been born. 

Loosely based on Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, George realises that his love for his family and his fellow townspeople are what makes him the richest man in the world. 

Though it is considered a classic festive film, it was actually shot in the height of Californian summer on a large outdoor film set in Culver City. To make the streets look wintery, head of special effects Russell Shearman created a new kind of ‘chemical snow’ for the film, which included water, soap and sugar as its key ingredients. 

The film's director and screenwriter Frank Capra is said to have encouraged pigeons, cats and dogs to roam the large set to give the town a ‘lived in’ feel.

Joyous and exuberant, this theatrical poster captures the spirit of the Christmas classic. 

Some Like It Hot, 1959

The fun crime-caper starring the iconic Marilyn Monroe, makes for perfect viewing on cosy days around the Christmas tree. 

When jazz musicians Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) witness a murder by mafia boss ‘Spats’ and his gang, the pair find themselves on the run for their lives. After seeing an ad for a touring women’s band, they disguise themselves as women – Josephine and Daphne – and befriend band vocalist and ukulele player Sugar Kane (Monroe) on board a train to Miami. 

Groundbreaking in its portrayal of homosexuality and cross-dressing, ‘Some Like It Hot’ was produced without seeking Motion Pictures approval. An instant box office hit, the film pathed the way for more openness and acceptance in Hollywood. 

The Great Escape, 1963

Instantly recognisable, the film’s musical score composed by Elmer Bernstein is one of the most influential soundtracks of all time. 

An avid racer, Steve McQueen performed most of his own stunts in the film. Not only did he perform the chase scene as his own character, Hilts, he even performed as the soldiers who were chasing him. 

There was one stunt however, that McQueen wasn’t allowed to perform in the film for insurance reasons. Considered one of the greatest stunts in film history, the iconic jump over the barbed-wire fence was performed by stuntman Bud Ekins. However, McQueen did still land the jump in front of the camera, just for fun. 

This captivating photo features McQueen riding a 1962 Triumph TR6 650 Special while on location for the now Christmas staple.

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