The Christmas Wife (1988) DVD Color Approx. 1HR 13 MIN. Playable in North America – the US, Canada, Mexico, etc.
Starring: Jason Robards, Julie Harris, Don Francks, James Eckhouse, Patricia Hamilton, Deborah Grover Written by Catherine Ann Jones. From a short story by Helen Norris. Directed by David Jones
John Tanner (Jason Robards), a retired architect who is recently widowed, decides to look for a platonic lady companion for the Christmas period at his lakeside cabin (as he always had with his deceased wife), instead of flying out west to see his son and his family. He meets a "social arranger" (Don Francks) who introduces him to a woman of about his own age, Iris (Julie Harris). They meet at a hotel in town and she tells him she would like to go ahead, but that they should meet later at the local bus depot before departing for the holiday. She is insistent that he does not ask her any personal questions.
They go to a cabin in the countryside where he had spent many previous Christmases with his wife. After an uneasy start Iris reveals that she used to be a nurse but most of the time she is non-committal. John gives Iris a Christmas present of a music box which she seems very touched by. They take a walk in the woods then return to the cabin where he tells her that he used to play the tiple at Christmas. When Iris presses him he produces a tiple and plays it while he sings a song. She recites a poem by Dorothy Parker which he applauds her for. She then tells him that it is time he "lets go" of his wife.
Later during the night John is awakened by the sound of the music box. He goes downstairs to find Iris listening to it. In silence he takes her hand and leads her back upstairs where they look wistfully at each other before going to their separate rooms.
The following morning, he rises to find that Iris has cooked breakfast. After breakfast John and Iris part company. Another day, he goes to his usual cafe with a book, where he notices a woman (Helen Frost) that he had seen before, also with a book. He asks the waitress if the woman would tell her about the book she is reading. When the waitress returns, she says to him "She says she'll trade ya". John and the woman exchange smiles.
A warm and wonderful holiday move.