Some Christmas Goodness
Having completed his tour of duty, wandering handyman Homer Smith (Billy Dee Williams - The Glass House) heads out into the Arizona desert once more to visit the nuns who years earlier he had helped by building a chapel for them. When he gets there he discovers his friends the nuns are not only looking after a group of orphans but also a pregnant teenager and are in desperate need of help as they need a school building and a dormitory to house them. Initially reluctant to help Homer eventually agrees and finds himself helping the nuns in other ways as their wealthy benefactor is not happy about them caring for a pregnant teen whilst a social worker believes the orphans should be separated and re-housed.
If you spot "Christmas Lilies of the Field" on TV and then discover it is a sequel to "Lilies of the Field" don't worry as you can watch it without having seen the original. In fact with "Lilies of the Field" not only being a black & white movie from the 60s but also starring Sidney Poitier it might even be beneficial to watch this colour sequel with Billy Dee Williams in the role of Homer without having watched the original as you are not going to end up making comparisons.
Now "Christmas Lilies of the Field" is simple to explain as it is some old fashioned sweet entertainment which is all about the tone. So whilst we have the storyline of Homer helping out the nuns by raising the money and organizing the labour to build the school and dormitory it is all about the humour of it. It is the comedy of Homer arriving and saying he is just passing though in that a direction when the nuns mention some new buildings. There is also the look of warmth and knowing from Mother Maria as she plays Homer and gets him to help out with the work to be done. And there is the sweetness of how Homer is with the orphans. I could go on but it is as simple as that and is so full of goodness that it warms your heart in a similar way to how "The Waltons" did.
Now I don't know how Billy Dee Williams' take on Homer compares to Sidney Poitier's, although seeing Poitier won the Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar for "Lilies of the Field" Williams obviously had a lot to live up to. But what Williams does is right for me as he brings kind, caring, humorous, protective, paternal and so much more to the role that he makes Homer the sort of person we would all like to know. Of course there is Maria Schell who takes over from Lilia Skala as Mother Maria and Schell brings that element of mischievous to the role so watching her play Homer to get him to build the orphanage is just wonderful.
What this all boils down to is that "Christmas Lilies of the Field" is a slice of old fashioned goodness which just warms your heart as you watch. Plus as a sequel it doesn't require having to have watched the original movie to follow it with a storyline which nicely tells the back story before leading into an easy to follow new one.