Finding an the name of an Old Short Christmas Film

I saw a short film a long time ago which I have never been able to find again.
It covers a family at the dinner table at X-mas every year from the early 1900s to the 1980s or so. (I saw it in 1982).

The set and view never changes from this table in this room.
It was produced in the USA.
It starts with some of the older ladies at the table describing the Civil War and recounting when there was battles against the Indians.

At that point the young boy laughs at the older ladies stories
It then goes on to represent the passage of years by the conversations at the dinner table.
The young boy then turns to a young man who gets married and takes over as the head of the table.

At certain points, history is shown.

IE. WW1 and WW2 is shown by a soldier in uniform going leaving the table and never returning.
The Great Depression is shown by a small meal and very ragged clothes.
An aborted pregnancy was short by a nurse bringing a baby carriage to the table and out the door without stopping.

It ends with original young boy now an old man talking about how his grandparents could remember Civil War and the youngsters at the table laughing at his tales just like he laughed at his grandmother’s tales at the bringing of the short film.

Sorry if I can’t remember any more, it has been 30+ years since seeing it.
As I saw it in 1982 (and it was a rerun then), I think it was made in the early 80s or the late 70s, although it could be earlier.

Any ideas ? It was not a big commercial film, more of a short film or possibly a one off television special.

That sounds like The Long Christmas Dinner by Thornton Wilder.

I think Doug K. has it.

Now I want to see it.

I saw it performed in the round in a large classroom years ago. It was a magical experience, almost like being present but invisible in the home while the years passed.

Wish granted.

That’s the film :smiley:


Watching it again

Damm, it was filmed in 1975 and from a play in 1931

Interesting in that re-watching it after 30+ years.

  1. It is a lot lower budget production than I remembered.

  2. The ending is different than I remembered, Instead of the older lady being mocked by her grandchildren about her Indian stories, it just shows her aging and fading away as the last of the family. I was under the impression that it was showing the next generation of the family continuing on at the end.

  3. It is actually a lot sadder with ending of the old lady fading away in time.

  4. I thought there was some children at the table. The closest is the young man at the start.

Still it was good to re-watch after 30+ years. I had been wanting to re-watch this just to see how my impression of it had changed over the years



Thank you!