"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock & my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken."
Psalm 62:5-6

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Christmas Movie that Makes You Want to Stop Watching Christmas Movies

In my blog reading this morning I noticed several postings about favorite Christmas movies.  It was always a tradition for John & I to start watching Christmas movie DVDs right after Thanksgiving ... one each night up until Christmas.  That tradition has sort of fallen by the wayside since the departure of the offspring.  Not my doing.  Last year we hardly watched any Christmas movies at all & I was determined that wasn't going to be the case this year.  It's been a struggle. John decided that his DVD collection has way too many Christmas movies we haven't seen yet, so the thing to do, he said, is to watch the ones we haven't seen before watching the ones we've already seen & fallen in love with. Male logic?  I'm not sure, but whatever it is, it rather irks me.

Yesterday I said "how about we watch a Christmas movie tonight" & he said okay but he gets to pick which one.  Naturally it was one neither of us ever saw before.  It was in a DVD set of 4 Christmas movies & it was the first one listed ... All Mine to Give.

Stop reading now if you think you will ever want to see this movie & you don't want the story ruined for you.

All Mine to Give was released in 1957.  It is the story of a young Scottish immigrant couple, Robert & Mamie, who come to Wisconsin in the mid 1800s seeking a better life.  When they arrive in their new town, they are given the news that Mamie's uncle, with whom they were going to be living, had died in a fire that destroyed his home.  At the burned down home site they decide they will stay & rebuild.  Robert, a shipbuilder by trade, must get work as a logger to support himself & Mamie who is pregnant with their first child.  Mamie is not happy about this (she has heard rumors that loggers are a rough sort & she fears for Robert's safety because of his bad temper) but they have no other choice.  They begin to rebuild the uncle's home.

Robert hires a local lad to help him. However, both he & Mamie realize that they will never be able to have the home finished before winter & before the arrival of the baby.  The local lad then shows up with everyone else in town.  They are going to help Robert & Mamie rebuild the home. Robert tells them he cannot pay them for their work but they assure him they just want to help the young couple & "the cabin will be up before nightfall" ... & it is.    

Mamie gives birth to a son, Robbie.  Soon there are 6 children, 3 boys & 3 girls.  One of the daughters is played by Patty McCormack of The Bad Seed fame.

All seems to be going along well for the family, but then their youngest son, Kirk, becomes ill with diphtheria.  Robert & the other 5 children must leave the home & live in an abandoned cabin at the edge of the forest until Kirk gets better.  You are filled with joy when Kirk gets well & the family can be reunited.  However, the stress has been very hard on Robert & Mamie.  Mamie, never a complainer in the past, complains when Robert & the children walk through the door that the children are not clean & the youngest's hair is tangled. Robert walks out & little Robbie says "He did the best he could."  Feeling sorry for her outburst, Mamie goes to Robert only to find him coughing & feverish.  The doctor is called, Robert is diagnosed with diphtheria & dies.  

12-year-old Robbie now becomes the man of the house.  He leaves school to work at the logging camp.  As Christmas nears, Mamie is feeling ill.  Robbie fetches the doctor & Mamie is diagnosed with typhoid.  At one point Mamie calls all the children together at her bedside, then they are sent out of the room & she talks with Robbie.  She tells him that he is the one who is to make the decision on which families will take in which children.  

Mamie dies.  After the funeral on Christmas Eve the town council state that they must find homes for the children.  Robbie asks that they allow them to all stay in the cabin overnight & the next day so they will have one last Christmas together.  The council agrees.  That night, Robbie formulates a plan.  The next day, Christmas day, he will take each child to the home of a family where he thinks they will enjoy living.  His thought is that these families would not turn away such a gift at Christmas.  You then watch as Robbie & his brother, Jimmy, take 2 of the girls to 2 different families where they are very welcome.  They arrive back at the cabin only to find one of the town's leaders, a nasty woman, bundling up their youngest sister, Jane, in order to find a place for her. Robbie, Jimmy, & Kirk will not allow her to do this & she relents but vows to be back with the council.  Robbie must then escalate his plans.  He decides to give Jane to a family on the outskirts of town.  A family is decided upon for Kirk but Kirk begins to cry ... he does not want to leave.  Robbie forces himself to be tough & he forces Kirk to go. Jimmy is resigned to the fact that he will be living with a family who has 4 girls.  He & Robbie say their goodbyes to each other & then Robbie bundles up little Jane, places her in a sled, & pulls her 10 miles through the snow to the family he has decided upon. Robbie himself has decided that he will live & work at the logging camp.  The final scene shows Robbie pulling the empty sled toward the logging camp.

I cried my eyes out.  Big tears were rolling down my face for 3/4 of the movie.  I was sobbing uncontrollably at the end.

This is a Christmas movie?  Yes, it is on Christmas day that Robbie gives away his brothers & sisters (the British title of this movie is The Day They Gave Babies Away), but it certainly was not what someone would expect from a Christmas movie.  It was an excellent movie, however.  Very good story, very well acted by all involved, but unless you are in need of a good cry, this is probably not a movie you want to watch at Christmastime or any other time.