Lately I’ve been quite content on a cold winter day to find a quiet place by the fireplace, cuddle up with a fuzzy blanket, a cup of tea, and a book. Or more likely these days, for some reason, I’ve been watching movies, which is not something I used to do very often. I guess I couldn’t slow down long enough to watch a whole movie (I still prefer to find a series that has lots of shorter episodes so I can still get the fun of movie watching without investing so much time all at once . . . that is unless I decide to watch the WHOLE series in one day!). Recently we’ve had quite a few really, really cold days when snuggling up in a warm blanket and watching a movies was the perfect way to spend an afternoon. So when I was looking for a few snow day ideas for the Home Matters Linky Party #171, the first thing that came to mind was finding a few great movies to share with you. #SnowDayIdeas #HomeMattersParty
I also love to work on some of my creative projects on snow days, but when it is SO crazy cold that all you want to do is cover up and try to stay warm, a good movie is the perfect pick for me! My favorite kind of movies are the rather old fashioned ones – you know the kind, where life is pretty much boring, with moments of danger, excitement, drama, mystery, and eventually love in all its glorious wonder. I also like to watch historical fiction, or even historical non-fiction, but a good story from days gone by will capture my interest right away. Here are a few of my favorites, along with a couple that I haven’t seen yet, but they are on my Snow Day Movie List for the very near future!
The Doctor Blake Mysteries
Australian TV / ABC (available on Netflix and Amazon Prime)
Accompanied by haunting memories of his service time in World War II, Dr Lucian Blake returns home to Australia after 30 years to take over his deceased father’s medical practice. As he deals with his own personal loss and changed by his war experiences, the wry, personable doctor performs his other role as police surgeon with gusto. His unconventional and unpredictable manner unnerve some, but it becomes clear Dr Blake is ahead of his time in his use of forensic science, and in his own understanding of the human heart, to help solve murder mysteries in the country town of Ballarat.
I don’t remember how I first came upon this series, but it has got to be one of my all-time favorites!
The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler
Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie
Using forged identification to present herself as a nurse to guards at the entrance to the enclave where the Jewish population has been sequestered, Irena tries to convince the parents of young children to allow her to smuggle them out to safety. Many fear they will never see them again, and she assures them she will document where each child is sent to facilitate their reunion with their parents once the war is over. Others bemoan the fact their children will be raised in a faith other than their own and forget their religious beliefs and traditions, but Irena convinces them this is a small price to pay in exchange for keeping them alive.
Among those helping Irena is Stefan, a Jewish friend from her university days. He is aware of a few overlooked exits from the ghetto and uses this knowledge to help Irena and others involved with the underground organization Żegota plan their strategies and devise routes to smuggle the children, some in boxes hidden under bricks on wheelbarrows, others through sewer systems, and still others brazenly escorted through the front door of the city hall hand-in-hand with their savior.
Eventually Irena is arrested by the Gestapo and placed in captivity, where she undergoes interrogation accompanied by torture. However, she refuses to name those who helped her. She is sentenced to death by firing squad, but at the last moment a guard, bribed by the Polish Home Army resistance movement, frees her. After briefly visiting her ailing mother, Irena is taken to a remote rural farm, where she is reunited with Stefan.
The Love Letter
Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie
In 1959, Jake Belknap, a young, lonely, single man in Brooklyn, New York is looking for used furniture to furnish his recently acquired apartment. Walking in a section of the borough that contains very large, ancient, magnificent mansions about to be torn down, he finds a yard sale of antique furniture from a mansion about to be demolished, and is fascinated by an antique roll-top desk from the 1800s, which he purchases.
After getting the desk home, he opens a drawer and finds original stationery from the previous century, along with several old stamps from that period. He also finds a love letter from a woman named Helen Elizabeth Worley, who lived in the Brooklyn of the 1880s, to a man whom she dreams about, although she is about to be engaged to a man she doesn’t love.
Enchanted with the letter, he feels compelled to answer Helen, by writing to her using the old stationery, pen and ink, and putting an 1869 stamp on the letter (from his collection) and mailing it at the old “Wister” post office, which has been around since the 19th century in Brooklyn, unchanged by time.
He returns home and opens the second drawer, to find to his shock, that Helen has received his letter, and she wishes to know who he is and why he has written to her. He writes her another letter, describing who he is, and the fact that he lived in the year 1959 and although they have fallen in love with each other, to meet is impossible because of the years between them. Expecting to receive a final, long love letter from her, he is surprised to find in the bottom drawer, only her picture and the inscription “I will never forget”.
After doing research on her whereabouts, he finally finds her grave in a local cemetery, and on her tombstone is engraved, “I never forgot”. Miss Worley had died in 1934.
In Love and War
Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie
After being released from an Italian prison, British officer Eric Newby (Blue) must find his way out of Italy before the Germans come. However, he is injured on the way and is left behind from his fellow soldiers. He is helped out by the local Italians, and he meets Wanda (Bobulova), a beautiful local girl who helps him learn Italian so that he can escape. Their friendship slowly blossoms into quite a strong and close genuine romance. But with the Germans looking for Eric, they are kept apart from one another, not knowing what will happen to them.
Scottish TV / BBC (available on Amazon Prime)
Dr. John Finlay returns from WWII to find the home front in Tannochbrae, Scotland riddled with more battles than when he fought the enemy. Determined to heal his community and himself, he proceeds with a kind and gentle heart and a renewed hope.
When Calls the Heart
Hallmark Hall of Fame (available on Amazon Prime)
Elizabeth Thatcher is a young teacher accustomed to high society, so she experiences culture shock when she gets her first classroom assignment in Coal Valley. Life in the small mining town is filled with challenges. A recent explosion has killed more than a dozen of the town’s miners, compelling the widows of those men to work in the mines to earn money. One of them — Abigail Stanton, whose husband was foreman at the site of the tragedy — welcomes Thatcher and tries to help her adjust to frontier customs. Constable Jack Thornton, also a newcomer, is not as welcoming, because he believes Thatcher’s wealthy father doomed his career by assigning him to Coal Valley so he could protect Elizabeth. Over time, though, Elizabeth and Jack become closer and begin a relationship. Janette Oke’s books about the Canadian West inspired the series.
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