Cary Elwes and Brooke Shields in “A Castle for Christmas” (2021). IMDb photo

Oh my goodness and golly gee, June Allyson and Van Johnson are back, and just in time to save your Christmas Eve.

Of course, it’s not really June Allyson and Van Johnson, who made six movies together, because they’re both on the “other side” in Hollywood Heaven watching over us.

But if they were here, “A Castle For Christmas” would surely be the vehicle to spice your nog on Christmas Eve.

This year it’s Brooke Shields as Sophie Brown, a big time successful romcom novelist a la Joan Collins.

You remember Brooke from her early days as a Calvin Klein jeans model and “Blue Lagoon,” don’t you?

Well, Brooke is all grown up now, 56 years old, but still sparkling in Mary Lambert’s “A Castle for Christmas.”


After she’s gone through a blazing hot divorce trial from her husband after he dumped her for another woman, Sophie, in her latest book, angrily kills off her fan’s favorite male star.

This so infuriates her fans that Sophie’s numbers bottom out.

So to escape the heat of Manhattan, Sophie flies away to Scotland, to a tiny Brigadoon-like town called Dun Dunbar, to visit a castle where her father struggled as a caretaker.

Hint: Somewhere, on a door in that castle, there is a romantic clue.

Actually, “Castle” is full of romantic clues.

Aha! Poor girl, now rich, comes back where the chickens are still roosting, to claim a magic castle fallen into disrepute, but still owned by the last heir of the family her late father worked for.


Here the duke and Sophie, “meet cute” (a Hollywood term to describe how two characters in a romcom meet), as the handsome duke (of course he’s handsome, this is a fairy tale) is down on his luck and struggling to making ends meet.

She finds him tossing peat around on a shovel in his driveway, unaware of his identity.

So it’s not Van Johnson, and there won’t be songs and dances here. It’s Duke Myles (Cary Elwes, who charmed us to death, and is best known for Westley in “The Princess Bride.”)

After sparks from commoner and duke fly back and forth, Sophie discovers that the castle is for sale.

Charmed and starry eyed, Sophie works out a deal with Duke Myles whereas she gets to buy the castle, charm and cobwebs, provided he can live there until the deal is firm.

As our Sophie walks, sashays and bikes around the town, she meets and charms the quaint folks of Dun Dunbar, who all have access to the internet, and are fans of America’s most famous woman writer.


They also dream of having this star come to town with cash to save their tourist income, and they know they’ve got their own handsome duke to seal the deal.

This dream can come true if they can only get Sophie and Myles together.

It won’t be easy. Crafty Myles, hoping to hold on to his birthright, thinks if he can make the place cold and drafty enough, Sophie will back off and go home to New York.

Will the dreams of all players come true?

Will these two gorgeous, over 50 lovers touch and make Disney snowflakes fall?

Director Mary Lambert (“Pet Sematary,” “Madonna: Like a Prayer”) knows her Hallmark tricks, the writers Ally Carter and Kim Beyer-Johnson wrote this for their mothers and succeeded.


The cast clearly loved working and earned their pay. Michael Coulter’s camera loved the scenery, which by the way was shot in South Queensferry, Scotland.

And wait until you tour this castle. You’d buy it.

I came reluctantly in this dark world, to “A Castle for Christmas,” just to find something to brighten your tree, and I must admit, I bought the hokum, because like all of you, I needed it.

I bet you will feel the same.

“A Castle for Christmas” streams on Netflix.

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.

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