‘Tis the season… must be time for a holiday-themed post! For this year, I decided to select 5 movies from my previous holiday film round-up posts, and rate each movie based on their focus (or not) on reel librarians and/or library scenes as well as on their holiday spirit. In this highly unscientific post, can we reach the top of the Christmas tree with the ultimate holiday movie featuring reel librarians?
The Age of Adaline (2015)
Details: Dir. Lee Toland Krieger. Perf. Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn. Lionsgate, 2015.
Synopsis: Adaline (Blake Lively), a recent widow, gets into a car accident in the 1930s and stops aging as a result of the accident. After decades of living alone, she meets a man, Ellis (Michiel Huisman), who makes her question her life choices.
Reel librarian rating: Adaline works in the archives at the San Francisco Heritage Society library, and there are a few scenes set in the archives, including one in which Ellis donates a treasure trove of books to the collection. We also get to meet Adaline’s colleagues!
📖 📖 📖
(3 out of 5 library books)
Holiday rating: The setting is quite winter-y but not explicitly Christmas-y. The film is set more around the New Year’s holiday and features a New Year’s Eve party, and I included it on this list because why not extend the holiday season?!
(1 out of 5 Christmas trees)
Related post: A reel librarian for the ages in ‘The Age of Adaline’
My Side of the Mountain (1969)
Details: Dir. James B. Clark. Perf. Ted Eccles, Theodore Bikel, Tudi Wiggins. Paramount, 1969.
Synospis: A young boy, Sam (Ted Eccles), leaves home to spend a year in nature, like Thoreau.
Reel librarian rating: He goes to the public library in one scene, and librarian Miss Turner (Tudi Wiggins) helps him find information about peregrine falcons. We also see Miss Turner out of the library in a few outdoor scenes, including one in which she is bird-watching, and another scene in which Miss Turner helps save Sam after a snow storm.
📖 📖 📖
(3 out of 5 library books)
Holiday rating: Although it takes place over a year and different seasons, the movie features a scene that has to be unique amongst all reel librarian cinema: the librarian has Christmas dinner with Sam inside the base of a tree! “That was the best Christmas dinner I ever had.” Miss Turner even joins in singing Christmas carols!
🎄 🎄 1/2
(2.5 out of 5 Christmas trees)
Desk Set (1957)
Details: Dir. Walter Lang. Perf. Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Gig Young, Joan Blondell, Dina Merrill. 20th Century Fox, 1957. Based on the play by William Marchant.
Synopsis: An efficiency expert (Spencer Tracy) clashes with the librarians in a TV network’s research department, headed by Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn).
Reel librarian rating: Almost the entire movie is set in and around the TV research library. We get to know the assistant research librarians, Peg (Joan Blondell), Sylvia (Dina Merrill), and Ruthie (Sue Randall), plus we get to enjoy how Bunny mentors Ruthie, the newest librarian. In the source play, Bunny’s qualifications include a library science degree; in the film, this is watered down to a few college courses.
📖 📖 📖 📖 📖
(5 out of 5 library books)
Holiday rating: The film takes place around the holidays and includes a funny — and boozy — office Christmas party in the research library. We also get to see a few exchanges of Christmas gifts.
🎄 🎄 🎄
(3 out of 5 Christmas trees)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Details: Dir. Frank Capra. Perf. James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers. RKO, 1946. Based on the story by Philip Van Doren Stern.
Synopsis: George Bailey (James Stewart) falls on hard times and is granted the wish to experience life as if he’d never been born.
Reel librarian rating: In this alternate reality/nightmare, George’s wife, Mary (Donna Reed) becomes an “old maid” librarian. Although Mary’s librarian scene lasts only 30 seconds, this alternative reality/nightmare is the catalyst for George wanting to return to his life as it was. This scene is a prototype of the “Spinster Librarian” character type, which earns it an extra point in this category.
📖 📖 1/2
(2.5 out of 5 library books)
Holiday rating: The film spans decades and seasons, but it’s become a holiday classic, so I have to give it an extra point for nostalgia’s sake. In particular, the ending of the movie captures the “holiday spirit.”
🎄 🎄 🎄 🎄
(4 out of 5 Christmas trees)
Related post: ‘It’s a wonderful’… stereotype?
The Twelve Trees of Christmas (2013, TV movie)
Details: Dir. Michael DeCarlo. Perf. Lindy Booth, Robin Dunne, Shauna MacDonald, Melanie Brown, Casper Van Dien. Chesler/Perlmutter Productions, 2013.
Synopsis: Cheri, a children’s librarian (Lindy Booth), tries to save her library from being demolished for a condo building. To generate community support and media attention, she thinks up a contest for library users to decorate Christmas trees for the holidays.
Reel librarian rating: Most of the movie takes place in and around the library, and we get to see different parts of the library, including librarian workspaces, and how patrons use library spaces and collections in different ways. There are also a few scenes in Cheri’s apartment. Cheri also shares why she decided to pursue a graduate degree in library science, and as she states, “Seriously. It’s a real thing.”
📖 📖 📖 📖 📖
(5 out of 5 library books)
Holiday rating: The title and plot of this cheerful TV movie revolve around Christmas trees, so I have to give it the highest holiday rating!
🎄 🎄 🎄 🎄 🎄
(5 out of 5 Christmas trees… or should I have rated it 12 out of 12 Christmas trees!? 😉 )
Are you wanting to spend more holiday time with reel librarians? Visit these past holiday-themed posts on Reel Librarians:
- 3 favorite Christmas movies starring reel librarians (Dec. 2020)
- Holiday round-up with reel librarians, 2019 update (Dec. 2019)
- Holiday round-up with reel librarians (Dec. 2015)
- Season’s greetings from your reel librarians (Dec. 2013)
- Three cheers for librarians! (Dec. 2011)
- The Age of Adaline. Dir. Lee Toland Krieger. Perf. Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn. Lionsgate, 2015.
- Desk Set. Dir. Walter Lang. Perf. Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Gig Young, Joan Blondell, Dina Merrill. 20th Century Fox, 1957. Based on the play by William Marchant.
- It’s a Wonderful Life. Dir. Frank Capra. Perf. James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers. RKO, 1946. Based on the story by Philip Van Doren Stern.
- My Side of the Mountain. Dir. James B. Clark. Perf. Ted Eccles, Theodore Bikel, Tudi Wiggins. Paramount, 1969.
- The Twelve Trees of Christmas. Dir. Michael DeCarlo. Perf. Lindy Booth, Robin Dunne, Shauna MacDonald, Melanie Brown, Casper Van Dien. Chesler/Perlmutter Productions, 2013.