White Christmas

White Christmas photo starrating-4stars.jpgIt’s Christmas Eve, 1944. Two entertainers in the army are giving a show to the troops of the 151st Division somewhere in Europe. In the midst of the program, an enemy attack causes a large stone wall to fall toward Bob Wallace. Phil Davis is able to push him out of harm’s way, but not without sustaining a minor injury to his own arm. After the war, Phil uses his good deed to convince Bob to form a singing duo. They make it big in nightclubs, radio and then Broadway where they launch a hit musical. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are the army buddies, Rosemary Clooney (George’s aunt) and Vera-Ellen are the sisters they hire into the act. Everyone has chemistry to spare.

White Christmas is a perennial favorite of the holidays. Of course the title for the movie is from the enduring hit, the best-selling single of all time. Originally written for the 1942 musical Holiday Inn, White Christmas was a belated follow up to that hit movie. This is another excuse to weave a lot of Irving Berlin songs into a simplistic plot. “Blue Skies”, “Snow”, “Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me.” They’re all here. The song “Sisters” is particularly entertaining – in 2 different versions sung by both sexes. Bright colorful production is beautifully filmed in the widescreen format VistaVision. White Christmas also spotlights some really splashy dance numbers including “Choreography”, “Abraham” and “Mandy”. The latter of which features dresses and tuxes in such blazing reds and greens, the color is simply bursting from the frame. The spectacle was syrupy sweet when it came out, but feels even more corny today.  A less secure critic might be embarrassed to concede that he actually delights in this sort of hokum. I freely admit I enjoy this film without one iota of shame. There’s a sugar-coated artificiality to the proceedings, but that’s what makes the old fashioned display so heartwarming. There’s a reason why this has endured for 6 decades.

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7 Responses to “White Christmas”

  1. Love this classic. I will probably watch this every Christmas season. The musical numbers, the fun story. I love every bit of it. 4 1/2 stars

  2. I wasn’t aware that you’d reviewed this. I watched it on December 24th, and truth be told, I’m surprised I’d give it a higher grade than you, considering it’s a 1950s classic. 😉

    I prefer to call it “Singin’ in the Snow”. Michael Curtiz’s direction was absolutely beautiful.

  3. A family friend was talking over the holidays about this film, and how it’s one that she watches with her husband and son every year. So I feel like I’m missing out because I haven’t seen it. I was surprised to discover though that I know songs from it like “Blue Skies.” Irving Berlin’s music is a guilty pleasure for me, which makes me think I’d enjoy this movie too, even if it’s total hokum like you admit. Like you, I’m not ashamed that I can appreciate films like that. I’ll have to check out White Christmas.

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