TV… The Gift of Love (1978)



An Osmond Family Production, starring sister Marie…


A Christmas romance begins between a poor Swiss immigrant and a rich girl, with a wee twist.


The Gift of Love – Official Trailer, Yekra Films and photos © American Broadcasting Company (ABC)


It’s difficult to decide on a guilty pleasure, as many films are now seen as classics. This 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. He also played the original Digger Barnes. Digger was Pamela Ewing’s then perceived father in Dallas (which was released the same year as this film). 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 released this year). But there is more of that particular role if you click here.  

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.  A 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, 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 from 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 a song. Lately, said this author trying not to be cynical, there is the more recognisable “I wrote this song for you…” line.

In the latter scenario, this is usually said by the male lead – possibly probably in a rom-com – leading to the girl lead then adopting a soppy grin and looking wistfully at the said male. As he sings his wee heart out to an audience a recognisable tune (but she strangely never remembers it). So she forgives him for sleeping with her best friend, doing a 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

Hulk Rating: ‎  ‎mrgreen  ‎mrgreen  ‎mrgreen mrgreen  ‎/10


bestThe Film That Started it All Blogathon 2019, No 21

This post was added to The Film that Started it All Blogathon run by Let’s Go to the Movies. Other reviews with this cast include Anne Ramsey in The Goonies. Marie Osmond starred in The Love Boat. David Wayne in Dallas. Timothy Bottoms appeared in the Ray Bradbury Theatre. June Lockhart in Hotel, Murder She Wrote, Knots Landing, Magnum PI, Happy Days and The Colbys. Donald Moffat in Columbo.




15 thoughts on “TV… The Gift of Love (1978)

  1. I remember and love the O’Henry story. Even though I never seen this movie, I want to watch it now after reading your review. Despite the fact I am not a Dallas fan, JR Ewing made me too uncomfortable, much like Black Jack Randall on Outlander makes me feel today, I find your Dallas connection interesting along with making me aware of the numerous prominent supporting actors.
    Thanks for another enjoyable read Realweegiemidget!

    • Thankyou for the lovely comment Katrina x Glad you enjoyed the review x See you an Outlander fan, there’s a wee review on that here too if you check out the side panel xxx

  2. Good review! I never knew James Woods starred in this movie until you brought it up! I reviewed one of James’ Hallmark Hall of Fame films, ‘Promise’ for your James Garner blogathon. I also nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Here are the links to those two posts:

Love your thoughts... but only if they are spoiler free!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.