Lifetime unveiled this year’s “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime” holiday film lineup, which includes a movie starring a ninety-eight-year-old Betty White, according to CBS News. In the movie, White will play a character who “helps whip would-be Santas into shape, spreading the true meaning of Christmas,” which leads the rest of the cast to wonder if she’s secret Mrs. Claus. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the twenty-eight holiday pictures are all in various stages of production, with the first set to premiere October 25 – Marie Osmond, Kelly Rowland, Melissa Joan Hart, as well as Mario Lopez will also appear in their own titles.
Phillips Smalley and Lois Weber’s The Jew’s Christmas (1913), a half-hourlong, three-reel picture written by Weber, is the first American film with a rabbi as a character, but represents its Jewish cast as intolerant of Christians and in need of assimilation, according to The Forward. Smalley himself plays Rabbi Isaac, but husband-and-wife filmmaking team Smalley and Weber were both Gentiles, and Carl Laemmle, the president of Universal Pictures at the time who greenlit the production, was Jewish. Weber would go on to become the first woman to direct a feature-length movie, The Merchant of Venice (1914), in the United States.