One of the greatest Christmas short stories of all time is "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry (a.k.a. William Sydney Porter), that all-but-forgotten master of "the twist." If you don't know the story (published in 1906), I won't tell it to you, except that it's about a young couple who dearly wish to get each other something for Christmas but lack the means. But director Henry King very nicely adapted it to film as part of this 1952 five-part anthology film based on five great Henry stories. It's definitely not your typical feel-good Christmas tale, and its heartstring-tugging might be a nice alternative to the usual chirpy, colorful stuff on TV (like The Santa Clause 3, which I accidentally caught the other night).

As great a story as "Magi" is however, it's not even the high point of this film. In Henry Koster's segment "The Cop and the Anthem," we get a great, blustery, scenery-chewing performance by Charles Laughton as a homeless man with a rather unique plan on how to spend the chilly winter. Marilyn Monroe makes one of her early, pre-stardom, scene-stealing appearances.
categories Cinematical