Day Two: White Christmas (1954) Has Timeless Humor and Incredible Musical Numbers

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If White Christmas  is not at least in the running for one of the best Christmas movies of all time, it would be a crime. I just watched this movie in Bluray format, and I have to say that If you do go watch this movie– watch it on bluray! It is absolutely beautiful and super clean and crisp. There aren’t many classic movies that reformat to bluray well but this is one of them. There is also a beautiful simplicity to this movie that you don’t often see in movies today… it has literally everything you could want: drama, humor, a heart-warming story, musical numbers and much much more.

Synopsis

Singers Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) join sister act Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen) to perform a Christmas show in rural Vermont. There, they run into General Waverly (Dean Jagger), the boys’ commander in World War II, who, they learn, is having financial difficulties; his quaint country inn is failing. So what’s the foursome to do but plan a yuletide miracle: a fun-filled musical extravaganza that’s sure to put Waverly and his business in the black!

white-christmas-generalI absolutely love the scenery in this movie, you can tell that they are on a set, they didn’t have all that high-tech cgi stuff back in 1954, but for me it just makes the film all the more enjoyable. During the first scene of the movie, you’re at a war-torn military camp… and the background and rocks and stuff clearly look fake, but in its bluray format it looks so clean it almost feels as if you are watching a play where you can clearly see the set-pieces, but the show if so engrossing that you feel like you’re there.

Another thing you don’t see in many mainstream movies these days are big, theatrical, music and dance numbers, this more have them by the truck load. It just isn’t something you see in movies these days– two characters don’t just bust out in a courtship dance or a duet outside of a restaurant, it just doesn’t happen too much in cinema anymore. But the musical numbers found in this movie are exhaustively well choreographed and fun to watch. You can tell that there is some serious skill involved in a lot of it, but not so much they it removed you from enjoying the story.

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There is tons of humor in this movie that translates well even to a young audience. Particularly the humor of Danny Kaye, is just something amazing to watch. He plays the bumbling-stumbling fool in a such a likable way that you cannot help but laugh. I first watched him in the classic 1955 film The Court Jester as was skeptical, how could an old 50’s movie make me laugh? Boy was I wrong… and you get a lot of that same style of humor in this movie has Kaye’s character along with a companion attempt to find love for hist bestfriend while everyone tries to save General Waverly’s  inn. I

vlcsnap-2012-12-02-09h40m06s213I watched this movie for the first time this year, for this review in fact, and there is no doubt that this movie will become a tradition for me to watch every year during the holidays. The humor is timeless, the story is heartwarming and earnest and the musical numbers are extremely well done and impressive. This movie is a good one for the whole family to enjoy from kids all the way up to your dear old great great grandfather as it balances the silly, the emotional and the romantic to near perfection!

 

Movie Trivia

1. The “Sisters” comedy act that Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye perform was not originally in the script. They were clowning around on the set and the director thought it was so funny that it was written in. According to Rosemary Clooney, in Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye‘s “Sisters” performance, Crosby’s laughs are genuine (and unscripted). Many takes were attempted, but Crosby was unable to hold a straight face due to Kaye’s comedic dancing. The scene shown in the film was the best take they could get (which includes some laughter from Kaye as well).

2. This was 1954’s most successful film. The second most successful was The Caine Mutiny(1954), which featured Rosemary Clooney‘s husband, José Ferrer.

3. Percy Helton, who plays the railroad conductor, also appears in another holiday movie, playing the drunk Santa Claus at the beginning of “Miracle on 34th Street’ (1947)’.

4. Rosemary Clooney is Aunt to George Clooney, see any resemblance?

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