Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Historical Christmas Films: The Amazing Mr. Blunden

Many of us watch and enjoy traditional Christmas movies around this time of year. It’s a Wonderful Life, The Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Christmas Story are just some of the classic movies broadcast every year on television and watched in our homes.

Although not necessarily Christmas-themed movies or miniseries, I have a number of historical pieces I make a point of watching every year during this season. Over the next few weeks, I will feature a few of them.

Even as a little girl I was an Anglophile. I attribute this to my grandfather’s adoration of Great Britain and of all things British. He used to watch BBC television shows and sometimes I would watch them with him.

One Christmas, when I was around five years old, a movie called The Amazing Mr. Blunden came on HBO. I must have watched it every time it was scheduled, for I memorized the entire thing. I loved it so much that recorded my own version of an audiobook of the movie. I carried my little tape recorder into the basement bathroom (for purpose of acoustics—it echoed in there) and performed all of the parts, using different voices and a pretty authentic English accent for a five-year-old Tennessee girl.

Based on The Ghosts, Antonia Barber’s novel, The Amazing Mr. Blunden was made in 1972 and stars Laurence Naismith as Mr. Blunden. Mr. Blunden is a mysterious and magical London solicitor. One Christmas he appears to a poor single mother and her two children (brother and sister, Jamie and Lucy) living in Camden Town and offers them a living situation in a vacant country mansion, if they will simply look after the place and clean it up a bit.

Once there, Jamie and Lucy encounter two young ghosts, brother and sister--Georgie and Sarah, who suggest something bad happened to cause their deaths. When Jamie and Lucy learn of a potion that will transport them back in time, they drink it and wake to find themselves in a different era, solving the mystery of what happened to young Sarah and Georgie and attempting to change history.

This is a family film—there’s nothing scary in it, despite the ghosts. It’s an atmospheric adventure story—a hero’s quest with a great message. And … well, it’s very English, so what’s not to like? By the way, you can watch the whole thing on YouTube!

What was your favorite Christmas film as a child?


  1. I had not heard of this movie, but it does sound like it could be delightful to watch at least once! I liked Charlie Brown Christmas growing up :)