Forgotten Film Gems: Mr. Krueger’s Christmas

Do you want to watch a movie that brings out the Spirit of Christmas perfectly and fills your heart with nothing but good feelings? Mr. Krueger’s Christmas is exactly what you’re looking for. This little 26-minute, made-for-television musical drama is notable for making frequent use of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and for casting James Stewart as the titular character. Stewart is, of course, famous for his portrayal of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life. I would argue that Mr. Krueger’s Christmas is right on the same level as that film in terms of its emotional impact.

Let’s settle in and spend a heartwarming evening with Mr. Krueger’s Christmas.

A Simple Man

Mr. Krueger, a kind old custodian, says he’s happy to sweep a second time for a Christmas tree.The film opens with Willy Krueger sweeping a lobby when a man with a Christmas tree enters and heads for the elevator. He apologizes for leaving a mess of pine needles on the floor, but Mr. Krueger says he’s happy to sweep a second time for a Christmas tree. Instantly this makes me love this character. He’s a sweet old man, a hard worker, and he loves Christmas – all great qualities.

Most of this film takes place in Mr. Krueger’s apartment where he talks to his cat and muses on surprisingly deep topics. Despite the simple setting, this movie is never boring. Stewart’s performance is so captivating, I wish the film was longer so I could spend more time with his character.

Delightful Daydreams

A lot of things happen under the surface of this film. It doesn’t have much time to establish characters, so it does something inventive: it shows Mr. Krueger’s daydreams about the people he meets so that we not only get a glimpse into how he sees the world, but we also see the people he runs into in the best possible light. For example, when he meets some carolers, he sees them as a glorious group rather than the somewhat ragtag bunch they are in reality. Even when we see them for who they really are, we can’t shake the image of them as masterful musicians.

Mr. Krueger conducts the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Christmas songs in his dream.Mr. Krueger fantasizes about being more and doing more than his humble means allow. A scratchy Christmas tune on his old record player magically transforms into the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, with Mr. Krueger as conductor. His puny Christmas tree becomes a 20-foot-tall tree filled with beautiful ornaments and lights surrounded by dancers and singers galore. And a Nativity Set becomes the real thing.

You Can’t Help But Cry

The best part of the film isn’t the well-choreographed musical numbers, but a quiet talk that Mr. Krueger has with the baby Jesus. While looking at his Nativity Set, Mr. Krueger’s imagination sends him to that quiet stable in Bethlehem where no one but the baby can see or hear him. This is so perfect because throughout the course of the film people have passed by him without accepting his invitations to have a nice conversation or become his friend, but now we see that the Lord has been paying attention to him the whole time, however silently.

In his imagination, Mr. Krueger speaks to the infant Jesus and expresses his love and gratitude.Mr. Krueger pours his heart out to the child, thanking him for helping him through his wife’s death and in those times when he needed a friend. And then he says something that is so beautiful I don’t think I’ll be able to do it justice. He tells the Lord a story of how an old woman broke a pipe in her apartment just to have an excuse to get him to visit her. At first he was angry, but he realized she was just lonely. So he became close friends with her, and he treasured the time he spent with her until she died. The way that Stewart tells that story is so moving that I feel like I know that woman, and I am so touched by Mr. Krueger’s efforts to help people like her who are worse off than him. He is a good man, and that is all he wants to be.

It Really Is a Wonderful Life

A young caroler says "I love you, Mr. Krueger" after inviting him to sing with them.After telling his amazing story, Mr. Krueger then tearfully thanks the Lord for every good thing in his life. As he does this, he returns to reality where he is rewarded for his faith and kind deeds by finally being invited to come caroling with some friendly people. He is so excited to spend Christmas with friends that he can hardly contain himself. It’s the perfect ending to a sweet story. A voiceover even tells us that love, like the kind that Mr. Krueger found, is what Christmas is all about.

Watch this movie right now and prepare to be amazed by a subtle and affecting performance by the late great James Stewart. The music, visuals, acting, and story all come together to create a superb piece of entertainment that you can enjoy any time of the year to feel the Spirit of Christmas. I love this movie!

This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.

All images are the copyright of their owner.

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About Robert Lockard, the Deja Reviewer

Robert Lockard has been a lover of writing since he was very young. He studied public relations in college, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in 2006. His skills and knowledge have helped him to become a sought-after copywriter in the business world. He has written blogs, articles, and Web content on subjects such as real estate, online marketing and inventory management. His talent for making even boring topics interesting to read about has come in handy. But what he really loves to write about is movies. His favorite movies include: Fiddler on the Roof, Superman: The Movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Back to the Future, Beauty and the Beast, The Fugitive, The Incredibles, and The Dark Knight. Check out his website: Deja Reviewer. Robert lives in Utah with his wife and three children. He loves running, biking, reading, and watching movies with his family.
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4 Responses to Forgotten Film Gems: Mr. Krueger’s Christmas

  1. Alberto says:

    There is nothing terribly wrong with any of this, and sometimes in ”Mr. Krueger’s Christmas” -produced by Bonneville Productions – we see traces of the famous Stewart charm. On the other hand, ”Mr. Krueger’s Christmas” has somewhat the look and feel of a home movie. The other characters all appear to be members of the choir, hastily drafted for the film.

    Like

    • Thank you for your comment. I agree that the film does come across as small in scope and not terribly ambitious. I didn’t like it too much as a kid because it lacks a lot of qualities of other films. But I think it makes up for its production quality and deep story by solely focusing on Mr. Krueger and telling his simple story in a beautiful way that melts my heart every time. Even if the acting isn’t perfect from all the players, it’s serviceable and you can tell they’re putting forth a solid effort. Thanks again!

      Like

  2. Drew says:

    I am ashamed to admit that i just watched Mr. Kruegers Christmas a few days ago after a friend from a Yahoo CHristmas group recommended it to me. I enjoyed it a great deal, it is only 25 mins but you feel like you know Mr. Krueger and can feel his happiness and his frustration. I wish this would get more TV airing during the holidays.

    Like

  3. Lisa says:

    It’s not Christmas in my house until I watch this sweet show!

    Like

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