Ten Hallmark Hall of Fame gems.
Since its beginnings in 1951, the Hallmark Hall of Fame has drawn on more forms of entertainment than any other anthology series, from plays to films and even documentaries. The series has also scored a number of firsts.
In 1951, Amahl and the Night Visitors was the first original opera commissioned for television, and in 1953 it was restaged to become the first sponsored program presented in color. HHoF also aired the first televised Shakespeare play (1953’s Hamlet). A real-life married couple first won Emmys for playing a married couple when Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne starred in 1965’s The Magnificent Yankee.
No wonder HHoF is the most award-winning series in the history of television. Here are 10 movies that stand out in a very crowded pack.
Little Moon of Alban (1958): The production received seven Emmy nominations, including best program, and won four, including a leading actress win for Julie Harris. Set in Ireland during the Black and Tan troubles, the show was so successful that Hallmark restaged it in 1964, with Julie Harris reprising her role.
The Magnificent Yankee (1965): Adapted from the play about Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, this telefilm won five Emmys, including outstanding program and acting awards for both Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne.
Victoria Regina (1961): With seven Emmy nominations and three wins, this story of Queen Victoria (Julie Harris again!) followed 60 years of her life, from age 18 to her Diamond Jubilee in 1897.
Macbeth (1960): HHoF produced Macbeth twice, featuring the same stars (Maurice Evans and Judith Anderson) but different supporting casts. While Anderson won an Emmy for her performance in the 1954 version, the 1960 film collected five, including best actor, actress and program of the year.
What the Deaf Man Heard (1997): Matthew Modine and James Earl Jones starred in this tale of a young man who pretends to be deaf and mute after the murder of his mother. The movie holds the HHoF record of 36 million viewers; it was nominated for three Emmys and won one.
Promise (1986): James Garner and James Woods led this film about a man’s struggle to care for his mentally ill brother. It is the most-honored single program in television, with five Emmys, one Christopher Award, a Peabody Award, two Golden Globes and a Humanitas Prize.
My Name Is Bill W. (1989): The story of the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous was nominated for seven Emmys and two Golden Globes. James Woods won a best-actor Emmy.
Miss Rose White (1992): Kyra Sedgwick plays a Polish immigrant coming to terms with her Jewish heritage in post–World War II New York. It was nominated for 10 Emmys and won four, including outstanding made-for-television movie. It also won the Humanitas Prize and was nominated for three Golden Globes and for awards from the Writers Guild and Directors Guild.
To Dance with the White Dog (1993): The last joint television project of real-life spouses Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, this movie tallied nine Emmy nominations and a lead-actor win for Cronyn. He portrayed a widower who befriends a mysterious white dog that appears shortly after his wife’s death.
Sarah, Plain and Tall (1991): One of the highest-rated HHoF movies of the ‘90s, this movie spawned two sequels. The story of a New England woman (Glenn Close) who replies to an ad placed by a Midwestern widower (Christopher Walken) seeking a wife, it was nominated for nine Emmys (it won for editing) and for two Golden Globes.