Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Matter of Principle - A Christmas Review

A Matter of Principle is one of my favorite Christmas programs. Running about an hour, it first aired on PBS in 1984, and my husband and I still quote lines from it.

Set in what looks to be the early 1960's, it's about Flagg Purdy, a man with a slew of children, high principles and lots of ideas that probably seem old fashioned to those born and raised after women's lib.

Flagg's family is forced to live without electricity because he won't pay certain taxes included in the bill. "I voted agin' 'em," he says. He loves his children and is very invested in their lives, and because his upbringing was hard, he feels that they will benefit from a hard upbringing as well, especially as they see that their father is a man of principle.

Tied up in this is his unwillingness to have a Christmas tree. His father never allowed that frivolity, and he won't have one in his home.

Alan Arkin plays Flagg Purdy and even though we groan at the things he does 'on principle,' we like the man. As his wife says of him, talking about how life wears people down: "Flagg just don't wear smooth."

It's a joy to see the family pull together to show their dad another way to look at his principles and to make it so they have a Christmas tree after all.

You can buy the program in VHS format, in DVD, or pay-to-download from Amazon. The customer comments say they were disappointed in the quality of the DVD.

If you'll click here, you can see a couple of minutes of the movie. If you've got kids from middle grades on up, they'll really enjoy it. It's a great family film.


Follow this blog! I've still got to redeem my promise to give you a wonderful non-alcoholic beverage with which to toast the New Year. And Navajo Tacos are on the horizon as well. And I'll have some more reviews, too.

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