Fa-La-La to the Bluff

Published 8:00 am Sunday, November 14, 2021

By Jennie Guido

It’s finally here! After months of celebrating Christmas in hurricanes and 100 percent humidity, we get to see the finished product of Evergreen Films and Hallmark’s Every Time a Bell Rings.

It’s hard to imagine how a movie that wrapped filming on September 18 can be ready to watch from start to finish in less than two months. That’s the magic of the movie business, I guess.

When we first got wind of this mythical Hallmark movie coming to town over the summer months, I really thought it had to be too good to be true. I’ve watched those Hallmark marathons year after year and knew that our hometown would be the perfect backdrop for one, but who would have thought it would actually happen.

Not only that, but Natchez became a role in the movie all on its own. Each business kept its name. The streets were celebrated for being one way and bike friendly. Natchez Coffee Company got to break out the nutcrackers early and keep them decorated the rest of the year as ghosts, turkeys, and what have you. Every part of Natchez that we love so much, especially during the holidays, was highlighted.

When the tree was brought up on Main Street in early September, spirits became brighter. Tourists were excited to have something to look forward to once they returned home from Natchez. The bah-hum-bug-ers have actually stayed quiet because it feels like we finally made it.

I was lucky to get to spend time with the cast and crew while they were in town filming. Each member quickly became like a long, lost friend. We hunkered down over a glass (or two) of wine during our preparations for Hurricane Ida, and my family shared a fish fry dinner with them the night before their first day of filming.

Erin Cahill and I chatted daily about cupcakes and frosé. Ali Liebert sent me photos of a lizard that decided to make friends in her room while in town. Newton TerMeer and I shared Netflix passwords so he could watch that Bob Ross documentary while in town. We even named a Monmouth cat Hallmark to commemorate their stay! I really hated to see them leave mid-September.

Now, we get to see how it all came together. How were they able to piece together scenes in Memorial Park, along the Bluff, and inside Dimples?  What will Ed Bowser’s animated light display look like on the big screen? Did Mary Frances Short make her Hollywood debut?

We will all see this weekend at the World Premiere (how funny) of Every Time a Bell Rings on the Natchez Bluff. Bring a chair, bring a blanket, and settle in for Natchez’s close up on the Hallmark Channel. Thank you, Daniel Lewis, for seeing what we’ve all seen for so long!

Jennie Guido writes a weekly column for The Democrat.