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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 21 January 2011
This is AN ABSOLUTE CLASSIC film and stars Ralph Richardson,Celia Johnson, Margaret Leighton, (a very young) Denholm Elliott and others. It's set in the post war Britain and follows the story of Ralph Richardson who is the vicar of a local church in an English village. Almost the whole film is set in Ralph Richardson's house on the run up to Christmas. Margaret Leighton plays one of his children, a journalist writing for a London fashion magazine, Denholm Elliott plays his son doing National Service and Celia Johnson plays his other daughter who feels duty bound to reject John Gregson's proposal to accompany him to South America as the someone has to care for her widowed father. Maureen Delaney and Margaret Halstan play the elderly aunts who are kind of the "greek chorus" commenting on the events and people as the younger generation's guilty secrets begin to emerge and Richardson is forced to realise that the vocation he embraced in order to help his fellow man has rendered him lacking as a father and a father that none of the "children" feel they can talk to. Whilst this may not be the usual sugary fayre of Christmas, it is an excellent film and well worth getting and watching!
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on 1 January 2009
I first videoed this film when it was on TV in the eighties and absolutely loved it, showing it to all my sisters until the tape wore out! What appealed was the marvellous acting, and the wonderful sense of Christmas-lashings of snow, all the family travelling to a little Norfolk town to stay in a parsonage-you can almost smell the goose! The aunts are marvellous and as the previous reviewer has commented on the changing world at that time-no need for me to do so here.What I loved was, in spite of that and all Margaret's problems, that there was a permanence in the old customs and rituals. and that we have to just keep on struggling against what life hurls at us, yet safe in the arms of Love.

Some of the acting was stage style acting but for a film at Christmas, some scenes are really 'still'almost like being held in snow and seem lost in time. Celia Johnson and Margaret Leighton are outstanding. I wish someone would issue this as a DVD. I have bought this VHS but the VHS player is nearing he end of its days......The music score is great, very Christmassy and I particularly like the train journey through the snow and the little boy singing in the church, ending out of tune, while Jenny dresses the heartwarming.
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on 14 August 2013
I love good films of all eras whether they are old and b&w or more recent and in colour. For me, this is a film that I would play while I'm still in bed early one Christmas Eve/Day or Boxing Day morning before guests arrive or before going out. Though for some people who are used to faster paced movies there might not be enough going on in this film visually. In this respect the fact that there are scenes with snow and an understated Christmas background is vital to the success of the film. If it was set at any other time of year it would be a harder film to sell.

This is a good english film set at a Christmas time and I am surprised that I have not seen it advertised on telly before, or maybe I have overlooked it in the listings. I bought it because there are not enough english old time Christmas set films where you can enjoy the feeling of nostalgia, except in well known films such as Scrooge.

If I have a couple of minor quibles it is that the film ends abruptly and according to previous reviewers, a couple of scenes are missing. The picture and sound quality are good and this dvd is probably the only UK release that is likely to be made.
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on 16 March 2014
I was delighted to find The Holly and the Ivy on DVD and looked forward to seeing it again after an interval of many years. One of the most cherished episodes in the film for me is the children's performance of the Nativity Play, which could hardly have been anything other than the real McCoy, so artlessly halting and unpolished is it. To my great disappointment the section has been edited out of the film on this disc: no room at the inn becoming no room on the DVD, clearly. So if, like me, you are after this particular highlight, forget it where this print of the film is concerned. Of course, the rest of the production is wonderful, with superb performances from a very reliable British cast, led by Ralph Richardson. But it's just a pity that the icing is not on this particular Christmas cake, and it's a bit off to sell an incomplete picture, to say the least. PLEASE PUT THE MISSING SCENE BACK IN!
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on 15 July 2013
"The Holly and the Ivy", a play ooriginally on the London stage. Margaret Leighton, Ralph Richardson, Celia Johnson.. So reminiscent of films of the time, a typical English Christmas with all the right ingredients in the story. For me, living in America for 55 years, the movie is a visit back to a time when Christmas was not commercial as it is today, a time when Christmas meant so much more than a huge spending spree. A simpler, unfettered, happier event. I watch it every Christmas.
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on 6 January 2012
"The Holly & the Ivy" was one of the first films Mum recorded from television on our brand new Fisher VCR when it was shown at Christmas 1983. However, Christmas distractions hit and the viewing of the film was clearly interrupted as 20 minutes in, the tape cuts to the musical version of "Scrooge" with Albert Finney, which was recorded over the remainder of the film.

For many years I watched the opening 20 minutes of the film prior to watching "Scrooge" and wondered whether Jenny went away with David or not. I've not seen those 20 minutes since the early nineties and was surprised to discover that I still remembered that entire dialogue when I finally sat down to watch the film in its entirety on Christmas night.

For me, one of the greatest things about "The Holly & the Ivy" is that it is purely character based and the drama and comedy are provided solely by the actors. The film draws you into the world of these characters, the Parson who seems to know a lot more of the world than his family realize, the pain of the children who have always felt they couldn't confide in their father "because you're a parson" and the realisation of all the characters of how things might be if the truth, however unpleasant, is not revealed in full.

The film tackles issues that would have been controversial at the time of its release, but those issues, whilst having lost their controversy are still as relevant today - the pain never changes but family are always there, no matter what.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film and would highly recommend it.
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VINE VOICEon 29 August 2015
This is a beautiful and sentimental film about a family gathering, whose members all have their own personal problems and worries that they tend to keep from each other - and in particular their father who happens to be a Parson. Some revelations are in store for the said, and not so naive churchman who surprises all by his worldly-wise acceptance.

A gem of a movie this, starring among others, a vey young and attractive Denholm Elliott, Celia Johnson, John Gregson and Sir Ralph Richardson - Richardson being at that age where I always found him particularly attractive.

A film ideally watched late on a Christmas Eve for much added atmosphere.
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on 1 December 2012
A nice film to curl up with a hot chocolate and enjoy Celia Johnson and her voice that is just like smooth hot chocolate. The story is fairly preditable and the pathos and resolution of all the families predicaments happens all too soon. A very good cast and a film you can bring out year after year on a cold running up to Christmas afternoon.
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on 8 November 2014
What a gem! A fabulously moving, realistic (in the spiritual sense) Christmas movie that undermines Christmas falsity while restoring the meaning of those who would give all they've got for a little peace of mind. We are all kings of hidden wisdom and the gold we give is the best we have. The makers of this film - cast, crew, writers, have left us a pot of gold we can share, time and time again. One longs for the England with all its faults and drabness of this film. Every star shines.
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on 13 June 2014
What a lovely "back in time" old English film with Celia Johnson as the main character. It's a bit before my time but It was lovely to watch something with quality actors in an English setting that could be related to, rather than the mass produced, made for t.v American films that we are constantly bombarded with these days to which our society (Britain) cannot relate to.
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