I love to hear from readers, and I welcome questions on everything from what to tell an eight year old who says every other kid in 4th grade gets to go to PG-13 movies, how to find a DVD for a 10-year-old who loves horses, to what to do with a toddler who wants to watch the same move every single day to what to say to a teenager who wants to go to a slasher film. Recently, I’ve had a lot of questions from readers of my reviews asking me to help track down movies they can’t quite remember:
Q: I am looking for the name of a classic from 1961. It is set in the French Riviera childhood friends become lovers, boy wants to leave small town goes to sea comes back to find out his girl has given birth to a baby and his fathers friend marries the girl and raises the child to only have the father die and reunite the biological father and baby. Can you help me!
A: You are thinking of the lovely movie Fanny with Leslie Caron. It is based on a French trilogy and a Broadway musical. This version has some of the music on the soundtrack, but is not a musical.
Q: There was a classic movie I watched as a kid where a girl runs away from home to see her dad in California and meets Santa. He travels with her and when they finally meet he sings a song that kinda goes like this…”It almost wasn’t Christmas this year cause Santa wouldn’t go…..”
A: That’s a made-for-TV movie called “It Nearly Wasn’t Christmas” with Charles Durning as Santa and Wayne Osmond (of the Osmond Brothers) as the dad.
Q: Can you tell me the name of the film in which a young girl and her dad,bring up a family of geese. They teach them to fly with the aid of a microlite?
A: That movie is Fly Away Home with Anna Paquin and Jeff Daniels. One of my favorites!
Q: I can’t remember the name of this movie about a man and a woman who meet once they are dead and go through some sort of “afterlife processing” together. The man led a pretty selfish life, the woman led a really nice life. The two watch their past lives on tv monitor type things together. They both go before some sort of review board. At the end they are put on seprate trains to go to different afterlives, but somehow they find each other. That is all I remember, I’d really appreciate your help finding the title
A: I love that movie! Defending Your Life with Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep.
Q: I am looking for the name of a movie about Santa battling the devil. I think it was made in Mexico in the late 60’s or very early 70’s. It was not very good but we laugh to this day about it. If you can find the name for me that would be great.
A: That is one way-out movie! It’s actually a 1959 Mexican movie released in the US in 1960 called “Santa Claus.” Santa and Merlin fight Pitch, the devil. You can read more about it here. Amazingly, it is not available on video or DVD!
Q: There was a movie released not long ago where a lady author was writing a book and the male star was the object of the book. Everytime she wrote something it happened to the guy in the movie like he was living the life of the star of the book. do you know the name?
Answer: It was on my top 10 list last year! It’s Stranger Than Fiction with Emma Thompson and Will Ferrell.
Q: I’m trying to find the title of this old black and white movie that I saw as a child. It was about a single black woman who was a maid to this single white woman. The black maid had a daughter by a white man so her daughter was very fair in complexion and would often pass as white. One of the girls name was Sara Jane but I can’t remember if it was the daughter of the maid or the woman she was working for. The white woman was poor at the time that she hired the black woman to be her maid but she later because a famous actress and moved up in the world. The maids daughter had ran away and was working as a dancer in a night club. There is a scene at the end of the movie when the black woman dies and Mahalia Jackson sings at her funeral. The daughter comes back for her mother’s funeral and throws herself on her caskets as she is being lead away in a carriage that had 12 white horses leading the way.
Answer: That movie is Imitation of Life. You are referring to the remake with Lana Turner, Sandra Dee, and Juanita Moore. That funeral scene is unforgettable. The one with Mahalia Jackson is in color, but there is also an earlier version of the story by the same name in black and white.
Do you have a question? Send it to me at moviemom[@]moviemom.com I look forward to hearing from you! (I never reveal names or identifying information of my correspondents, but if you want your question to remain confidential, just let me know.}