While most know me as an avid horror fan, there are but a few that know that I’m a big softie. It’s a side of myself that you won’t see too often I admit, but it really takes something with true emotional impact to get me all choked-up, or worse yet, make me cry. Which brings me to Owen Smith’s wonderfully made holiday heartwarmer / historical tale, My Christmas Soldier. It’s the Christmas of 1943 and World War II is raging on. At a small train station, miles from Macon, Georgia, young Gordy and his sister Priscilla are awaiting the arrival of their father. As they impatiently sit on a bench, surrounded by anti-Nazi propaganda, the children hear that a train-car full of captured Nazi troops is currently sitting at the station.
Despite hearing of the Nazis’ atrocities and their alleged evil natures, the children find themselves more curious than afraid and soon find themselves chatting with Hans, the only English-speaking "Kraut" POW. Soon a brief friendship develops between the kids and Hans and in exchange for the children’s kindness, Hans gives his Iron Cross (awarded for bravery) to young Gordy, who in return gives Hans his toy soldier. Later, during the film’s most crucial scene, the German soldiers win over the terrified and once hateful Americans by singing Stille Nacht (which is Silent Night to all you non-German speaking peoples).
As the Germans continue singing it (after talking amongst themselves about how they miss their homes and their families), everyone else starts to join in and soon food and gifts are given to the German prisoners of war. By the end of the film, the Germans are carted off to a POW camp with their fears of being beaten and killed now gone, while the American citizens that briefly met them realize that the Germans are people too, and not the fierce and diabolical monsters that they’re being portrayed as. So, at this point, you’re probably thinking, wow Jordan, this movie sounds sappy as hell. And you’d be correct, because this movie is a bit sappy and a tad melodramatic, but the film is made so well, and the acting is so professional that this movie is allowed to be sappy!
My Christmas Soldier is based on true events and delivers a message of hope during times of hardship. The film packs an emotional punch and hits all the right keys to make you feel good and gain back that ole Christmas spirit! Child actors Aidan Rogers (Gordy) and Emily Jordan (Priscilla) are fantastic in this film as is Silvio Wolf Busch who plays Hans. The three characters that these actors (and actress) play are crucial to the success of the film (and its message), and they pull it off with flying colors! Without them, I think that My Christmas Soldier would’ve become My Christmas Blunder. Director Owen Smith has done a wonderful job with this period piece (which boasts authentic-looking clothes and military garb, as well as steam-powered locomotives!) and this film is definitely a must see if you want to get into the Christmas spirit!
My Christmas Soldier is currently available on DVD and the film looks wonderful in its clean and crisp anamorphic widescreen transfer. To further sweeten the deal, the DVD is packed full of extras including two documentaries (Journey to America and German POWs at Camp Shelby), a behind-the-scenes look at the film (Bringing Home the Enemy), and a huge photo gallery with over two-hundred behind-the-scenes photos! My Christmas Soldier is worth a look and caters to people who love historical movies as well as those that love holiday-themed films! This is definitely a solid piece of film making and this movie may very well become a holiday classic (at least in my eyes). You can find out more information about My Christmas Soldier and purchase it on DVD at http://www.mychristmassoldier.com!
I know this is early …. but I just can’t help it! MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY! AND GOD BLESS US, EVERYONE!