An Osmond Family Production, starring sister Marie…
A Christmas romance begins between a poor Swiss immigrant and a rich girl, with a wee twist.
photographs © American Broadcasting Company (ABC), The Gift of Love – Official Trailer, Monterey Media VOD, www. vimeo.com/ondemand/thegiftoflove
It’s difficult to decide on a guilty pleasure, as many films are now seen as classics despite their awful script or plot such as Con Air (1997) and Junior (1994) respectively. So today’s review, is a romance made in the 1970s. As I was a hopeful romantic for the latter part of the century I did like this one, and surprisingly not for the Dallas (1978) connection. The connection being that David Wayne plays O’Henry and the narrator of this film also played the original Digger Barnes, Pamela Ewing’s then perceived father in Dallas the same year. And of course the other road to Dallas was taken by Larry Hagman who made a flying visit into the first Superman (1978) movie with Christopher Reeve also this year. But there is more of that particular role if you click there. As for this romantic film, I just remember it as being a bit of a weeper. However after I confessed my liking for it years later and
forced darlin’ husband watched it dutifully. He noted that although obviously a vehicle for the lead female star, she was upstaged indirectly by two major stars of the 1980s, but more of that later.
The film is a Christmas, made for TV Christmas film, called The Gift of Love (1978). It is based on O’Henry’s short story the Gift of the Magi. I remember watching it on TV at Christmas sometime in the early 1980s. It stars Marie Osmond, hence the guilty pleasure. But this guilt was not recognised at the time as my sisters and I watched her and her family – including Marie’s brother, the 1970’s teen idol Donny – singing their wee hearts out in the aptly titled Donny and Marie variety show in the late 1970s. The film tells how rich, spoilt Beth (Osmond) – engaged to a dreary boring bloke – meets poor, Swiss immigrant, Rudi (Timothy Bottoms) who is also engaged to another – and they fall in love. Aw, she then has to choose between money or love….. Of course there is a twist, Beth has pretended to be poor just so she can be more appealing to Rudi. Also Rudi has given up his family ties back home, where he also has more social standing….
So who’s who in the now more famous supporting cast… You may recognise Beth’s fiance, Alfred Downing. He was played by a young bespectacled James Woods. My darlin’ husband noticed this one, and now shouts “Is that James Woods?” at random actors in films, which may be purely coincidental. There is also Anne Ramsey as Maeve O’Halloran. She is better known for her matriarch film roles in the 1980s as the mother of the bad guys in The Goonies (1985) and Danny DeVito’s mother in the excellent Throw Momma Off the Train (1987). The latter is a fantastic comedy and worth it for the saucepan scene alone, which always makes me laugh. Sorry Billy Crystal. The film is also notable for the 8 out of 9 executive producers being Donny, Alan, Jay, Jimmy,
Meryl Merrill, Tom, Jerry, Virl and Bruce Wayne Osmond – ie Marie’s brothers – in these roles.
Beth Marie sings the title track during the movie (and possibly credits), in the now clichéd line of “My X sang me this when I was little” line followed by song. Lately, said this author trying not to be cynical, there is the more recognisable “I wrote this song for you…” line. In this scenario, this is usually said by the male lead – possibly in a rom-com – leading to the girl lead then adopting soppy grin and looking wistfully at lead male singing his wee heart out to an audience (but strangely never her) recognisable tune, so she forgives him for sleeping with best friend, doing girly perceived awful thing or fighting with her about some random shite. Try it at home, it works…but admit it didn’t you so want Sherry to shout at Drew in that scene in Rock of Ages (2012 ). “No, you didn’t write Don’t Stop Believin’. It was Journey!” Because I know I did.
Weeper Rating: 😦 😦 😦😦 😦 😦 😦 :-(/10
Handsqueeze Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂🙂 /10
Bonus Trailer: Yes