He's On a Mission from Heaven
Mike (Mickey Rooney) use to be a cop in New York but after he retired and his wife passed away he moved to California to live with his daughter, son-in-law and grandson Robbie (Scott Grimes) who having never seen snow is excited when Mike promises to take him to the city for Christmas. But it seems things are off when putting up the Christmas lights for his daughter Mike has a heart attack and dies. Fortunately for Mike when he gets up to heaven the Arch Angel (George Gaynes) has a problem as one of the angels has gone rogue in New York and as Mike was a cop there they will allow him a few more days on Earth to keep his promise to Robbie as long as he tracks down the rogue angel, Wiley Boggs (William Griffis), and get him back to heaven.
When ever some friends are having a clear out and they stumble across a bunch of old videos they always dump them on my doorstep because I am about the only person they know who has a use for them. In truth I don't have a use for them but working your way through these old tapes sometimes leads to the discovery of a movie which never gets shown anymore. That happened to be the case when I discovered "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" on an old tape with no label which had been recorded off of the TV as I can't remember ever seeing this Mickey Rooney movie broadcast on TV, at least not in the last decade.
Now I wouldn't say for a minute "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" is a great movie but it is a movie with a lot of nostalgic charm as we have Mike wanting to show Robbie how great Christmas is in the city. That means we have shops with window displays, rides through the park and mention of snow. Although part of this movie also highlights how the city was beginning to lack Christmas spirit since Mike had last been there. I am sure that nostalgic charm is even greater for those who watched this back in the 80s and have longed to watch it again since.
The thing about "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" is that whilst it has this element of charm it doesn't quite do it when it comes to the comedy. It tries be it Mike bargaining with the arch angel to return to work or Mike mocking how dry the Christmas trees are in California but for some reason it just doesn't quite come off. It almost feels like because they got Mickey Rooney they tried to throw some humour in to the movie when truth be told it doesn't need it as the movies greatness is in the bond between grandfather and grandson and the nostalgic charm of what Christmas really means.
What this all boils down to is that whilst I am sure there are many who watched "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" back in the 80s who would love to watch it again it is now more of a movie for Christmas movie buffs more than one which is entertaining although it still has a cracking meaning.