The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (review)

This CBS TV movie, charming and heartwarming Christmas hokum personified, introduces us to the Walton family, those hearty folk of good pioneer stock soldiering their way through the Great Depression, poor but happy. It’s Christmas Eve, 1933, and Momma (Patricia Neal) and the passel of kids await the return of Father, who’s off working miles and miles away at the only job he could find. Chopping down the Christmas tree, baking pies, worrying how to afford to buy presents for the littlest ones: it’s all sweetly sentimental but never cloying, with a bit of bite in the aspirations of the older children, who yearn for more than seems possible in their limited circumstances: John-Boy (Richard Thomas: Wonder Boys) to be a writer, a daughter for a life beyond the kitchen. Dating from 1971, the film, the inspiration for the series The Waltons, features a crisp, clean full-screen picture, but the audio is mono only.

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