You may be searching for what to watch during Christmas. Below we have gathered three of our favorite DVDs from the law library collection you might consider checking out. We will be open until Friday December 21st. For more ideas check out the Law Librarians of Congress blog post “Christmas Movies and the Law”. Happy Holidays!
Miracle on 34th Street PN1997 .M57 1999
Originally released in 1947, this classic Christmas film is a great movie to watch from a legal standpoint. The most vital scene of the film occurs in a courtroom in New York City with an “ethically conflicted judge presiding” as the Docket (official magazine of the Denver Bar Association) puts it. The Docket’s review continues by concluding:
“The movie demonstrates various legal topics throughout that are crucial to the plot… The trial itself brings forth other legal issues, such as the burden of proof required for committing someone to a mental institution and representing a client that is potentially mentally incapable. The legal resolution to the case, however, hinged on federal pre-emption in the sense that the U.S. Postal Service—a branch of the federal government—affirmatively recognized the defendant as Santa Claus; accordingly, the New York court did not want to supersede the federal government’s determination by making the determination that he was not Santa Claus.”
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil PN1997 .M527 1998
This murder mystery set in Savannah, Georgia includes a crime that takes place during a Christmas party. Exciting and suspenseful, check out the trailer below for a proper introduction.
The Apartment PN1997 .A63 2007
This 1960 film isn’t your typical holiday film. It is about an insurance man who gets involved with a boss’s girlfriend. Throughout the movie characters discuss divorce and getting the advice of lawyers. Still, as the Guardian so nicely puts it (naming it one of their favorite Christmas films), this tale is one of:
“…the holiday season, as it specifically manifested itself in the drunken, libidinous era of the Mad Men early 1960s, is central to its maudlin, sentimental tone. Which is, of course, what makes it absolutely brilliant, as if the entire cast and crew were operating through a fug of whisky fumes and a cacophony of party tooters.”
The Thin Blue Line PN1995.9.D4 T55 2005
Acclaimed documentary film director Errol Morris sets out to prove a convicted hitch hiker is innocent of killing a police officer in Texas in 1976. The date of the crime was between late November, making for an eerie holidays timing which is why I included it on the list. With a superb score by Phillip Glass whose music seems perfect for an ice cold Christmas, this one is not to be missed! Check out the trailer for it as well: