Thursday, December 13, 2018

Miracle On 34th Street (1947)

Well thank the celestial beings we're ending on a high note.

Yes, we finally got around to Miracle on 34th Street and will look at the remake tomorrow. Yet again, you know I'm realizing I must have not watched a damn thing around December. Cause can't be more than 3 years ago I saw this movie, the remake (which is odd cause I actually owned the movie, you figure that out), It's A Wonderful Life and the Charlie Brown Christmas Special and you'd think after being a bitter, cynical, Grinch loving adult the magic would be lost on this award winning Christmas movie made not all that long after World War 2. But, the first time I watched and future viewings have proven there's a reason it's still loved and watched today. The story centers around an old man who believes he's Santa Claus, and is soon hired to be a mall Santa (guess they still had those even back then) as he comes into the life of a mother and her daughter who are more logical thinking and don't quite believe in things like Santa Claus. And thus the story involves Kris trying to prove he is the genuine article of Christmas spirit. Now I love how the writers woved the story and sequence of events, the whole challenge of faith is done very subtley centered around not a deity but a dignified, sophisticated, and above all kind man who believes he is Santa. Edmund Gwenn is a joy to watch, it's hard to distinguish from actor and beloved gift giver and even actors from the set felt the same way. Little Natalie Wood is quite possibly the best actor in the whole movie, cause we never really got, competent child actors back then, we just had to work with their modicum of acting but she is excellent in this movie, seeming wiser than any child and exudes intelligence with still a sense of innocence and wonder. Maureen O'Hara has always been a wonderful actress, and still brings her all to this performance. I love the relationship between her and Natalie, they seem like a real mother and daughter, and her parenting style is something to be admired. And I just love the fact that we have an adult who is unfaltering in his belief that Kris really is the Santa Claus, and it's hard to argue with that! Hell, they even hold a court hearing to decide if he's legitimately Santa or if he's just nuts. Now you may be saying well that can't hold a child's attention and maybe this is more for older viewers, but I would disagree, they keep it interesting and simple plus kids would want Santa to win so there's some hardcore stakes for the little ones to get invested in. So yeah, I love it, you feel the true spirit of the holiday, and walk away with a smile on your face. What more could anyone ask? Watch it this season for sure, and we'll compare notes tomorrow!

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