Thursday, November 25, 2010

12 films of christmas: miracle on 34th street

Someday you're going to find that your way of facing this realistic world just doesn't work.
And when you do, don't overlook those lovely intangibles.
You'll discover those are the only things that are worthwhile.

I was 11 years old when we got cable television.  In addition to much cooler (in my opinion) ads and more scandalous news, the addition of American television to my life meant a greater awareness of American Thanksgiving as the kick-off of the holiday season.  And that meant the annual broadcast of Miracle on 34th Street.  

It's a holiday movie that holds up well.
In lesser hands, the story of a department store Santa who convinces the world he's the real deal and transforms a family in the process, could melt into a gooey mess.  (And I think the 1994 version veers towards this)  But the 1947 film benefits from nuanced performances from it's three stars:  Maureen O'Hara is guarded and world-wise without being brittle, Edmund Gwynn delivers a Santa who's more gentle than jolly and Natalie Wood is precocious while never being cloying. 

And let's face it, in 2010 we still need to believe that in the fact of cynicism and commercialism,  faith, kindness and friendship will win out.

Fun fact:  In the untranslated dialogue with the Dutch girl, Santa Claus asks the child what she wants for Christmas the girl says she wants nothing, telling Santa she got her gift by being adopted by her new mother.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My favourite Christmas movie by far.Love it!