The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Holiday Movie Magic In A Box

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 20, 2005 4:42PM

For those that have their holiday shopping finished, the Music Box Theatre is rewarding you with several classic and modern movies about Christmas.

Tonight at 5:15 and 7:45 they’ll be showing the 1945 film The Bells of St. Mary’s starring Bing Crosby as Father Chuck O’Malley and Ingrid Bergman as Sister Benedict (hottest nun ever!). The film was a sequel to Going My Way and Crosby was the first actor to receive an Oscar nomination for playing the same character in two different films.

Incidentally, Crosby’s role is said to be based on a real-life Chicago priest, Father Eugene F. O’Malley, who directed the Paulists Choristers (sometimes called the Old St. Mary’s choir) from 1928 to 1967 at Old St. Mary’s Church, the oldest Catholic parish in the city. During this time, Old St. Mary’s Church was located on the corner of 9th and Wabash in a building purchased after Old St. Mary’s Cathedral burned down in the Chicago Fire. Today, Old St. Mary’s Church sits at 1500 S. Michigan in the South Loop. More history about the parish can be found here.

The Music Box will wrap up their Presents Under The Christmas Tree series with The Shop Around The Corner (the film later remade as You’ve Got Mail) on Wednesday and The Nightmare Before Christmas on Thursday. Check their site for screening times.

2005_12_20_wonderfullife.jpgBut the angel on the tree is the Music Box’s 22nd Annual Christmas Show, a double feature of It’s A Wonderful Life and White Christmas. The show also features a Christmas sing-a-long and a visit from Santa. Bring the kids. Admission is $15 for the double feature or $10 each if purchased separately.

Other holiday films around town include The Polar Express at the Navy Pier IMAX and Loews’ free screenings of It’s A Wonderful Life and White Christmas on December 22nd and 29th, respectively, at 600 N. Michigan.