Members Area
Countdown to Christmas --
Visit My Merry Christmas on Facebook!   Visit My Merry Christmas on Twitter!   Get My Merry Christmas on RSS
Navigation » Merry Forums of My Merry Christmas > Christmas Library > New in the Library » Miracle on 34th Street (Movie Review)

Home Submit Article New in the Library What's Popular Search

» What's New
santahat Remember when Black...
by MMC Editor
11-12-2013 12:55 AM
Last post by thechristmasmusicman
01-27-2014 10:42 AM
18,487 Views  4 Posts
santahat The Real History of the...
by MMC Editor
10-24-2013 12:44 PM
16,562 Views  0 Posts
santahat The Mistletoe Bough...
by MMC Editor
10-17-2013 06:19 AM
Last post by Virginia
10-30-2013 03:04 AM
18,095 Views
2 Posts
Christmas Tree A Christmas Tree for Cats
by MMC Editor
10-11-2013 08:21 AM
20,682 Views  0 Posts
Christmas Tree The Birds' Christmas...
by MMC Editor
10-11-2013 06:59 AM
Last post by Virginia
10-30-2013 03:12 AM
22,590 Views  1 Posts
» Random Entries
The Christmas Tree
by MMC Editor
06-08-2002 09:30 PM
63,316 Views  0 Posts
“The Great Adventure of...
by MerryCarey
05-17-2012 11:16 AM
30,972 Views  0 Posts
The Legend of Baboushka
by MMC Editor
06-03-2002 01:56 PM
58,054 Views  0 Posts
Christmas with the...
by MMC Editor
06-08-2002 09:57 PM
55,760 Views  0 Posts
How does Santa live for...
by MMC Editor
06-11-2002 04:59 PM
51,820 Views  0 Posts
Miracle on 34th Street (Movie Review)
Report to Moderator Old 06-09-2011 09:28 PM
MMC Editor
 
Views: 51,011
Replies: 0
By Jeff Westover



Susan Walker is a little girl. Or, at least she looks like one.

Susan is the only child of a single working mother and lives in a high-rise apartment smack in the middle of New York City. She lives and interacts in a world of adults. Her demeanor is very mature, her questions always direct and, like her mother, her views are very practical.

Doris Walker is Susan's mother. For reasons we never really learn, her husband has abandoned the family and Doris is forced to raise Susan alone. Doris works for Macy's, New York's largest department store. As director of the world famous Thanksgiving Day parade, part of her duties includes the selection of the parade's primary attraction, Santa Claus. When her hired Santa shows up for work inebriated, Doris rushes to hire the man who alerted her to his condition. This man not only happens to look like Santa Claus -- he is Santa.

Being Santa, he knows just what to do in the parade. He waves, he smiles, he connects with the crowd. The public is so impressed with Macy's new Santa, Doris hires him permanently. At first, Macy's is thrilled with Santa's appeal. But when the director of the toy department overhears Santa telling a customer to go to a competing retailer for a product, concerns immediately arise about Santa's mental state. He is sent to an amateur psychologist in Macy's HR department who determines that this Santa is indeed absolutely crackers. But just as Doris goes to dismiss him, Santa's goodwill antics generates unheard of publicity for Macy's resulting in robust holiday sales. Doris is stuck with keeping Santa -- and finding a way to keep him from getting into trouble.

But trouble is just what Santa finds. He has a run-in with the store psychologist, who takes steps to have Santa institutionalized for mental instability. His case winds up in court where the question isn't just Santa's mental stability -- but his very existence.

Susan, of course, is caught squarely in the middle of this drama. Her mother once told her there was no such thing as Santa. But time and close proximity have bonded Susan and Doris to Santa -- and they've become believers.

This 1947 holiday classic stars a very young Natalie Wood as Susan and Maureen O'Hara as Doris. But the heart of soul of the film is Santa Claus -- played to perfection by Edmund Gwenn. Gwenn, in a distinguished career spanning over 80 films, was never really known for any other production. To this day, he is the model for Santa Claus in films. And for this role he received a much-deserved Oscar.

Several scenes in the movie are reponsible for this Santa's magic. In a tightly shot scene Santa teaches the doe-eyed Susan how to pretend. "You've heard of the French nation, haven't you? Or the British nation?" asks Santa of Susan. "This is the imagination! It is a wonderful place! How would you like to throw snowballs in the summer? Or fly south with a flock of geese? In the imagination you can!"

The strength of this production comes from small scenes just like this -- and the strong development of side characters not especially central to the story. From William Frawley (Fred on I Love Lucy) as political advisor to Judge Harper (wearily played by Gene Lockhart), the supporting cast shines and contributes mightily to this film's charm.

While the more cynical amongst us bemoan the smaltz and sentimentality of this movie it is important to note the risk taken in 1947 to present a film with a single working mother as a central character. The topic of divorce and family abandonment were somewhat taboo in the pre-1950s film industry and this movie made magic around it.

The test of time that makes this a classic is it's broad appeal. Personally, I favor the courtroom scenes and count them amongst my favorites. My kids love Santa's interaction with a little girl who speaks only Dutch. And my wife gets giggles from Mr. Macy. This film gets dusted off every Thanksgiving Day -- and played for weeks leading up to Christmas. In our house, it's just not Christmas without it.
__________________
This article is copyrighted. Use of this article in part or whole is strictly prohibited. For reprint, quotation, or excerpt use please contact Merry Network LLC.



Tags: Miracle on 34th Street
Send to Friend

Rate Article:



 
Category Jump
» Featured
Top Ten Christmas Videos...
by Jeff Westover
12-16-2013 08:10 AM
14,080 Views  0 Posts
santahat Remember when Black...
by MMC Editor
11-12-2013 12:55 AM
Last post by thechristmasmusicman
01-27-2014 10:42 AM
18,487 Views  4 Posts
Annual Survey of...
by MMC Editor
09-16-2013 08:19 AM
Last post by icetene33
10-21-2013 04:04 PM
19,350 Views  2 Posts
Snowman2 Top Five Christmas Hoaxes
by MMC Editor
09-09-2013 02:14 PM
24,032 Views  0 Posts
stocking Santa Smoking: Why is...
by Jeff Westover
10-11-2012 08:10 AM
Last post by HollyJolly
09-02-2013 08:30 AM
42,371 Views  6 Posts
» Recent Comments
Hot Cocoa or Hot Chocolate: A Matter of Taste
It's hard to find good writing now a days. But you have done a great job with all these sharing hot Cocoa and hot Chocolate. That's interesting. Thanks for sharing.
by Riccardo Vasquez on 04-04-2014 01:38 AM
The Best of Christmas Sitcoms
My top favorite Christmas Sitcoms: All from M*A*S*H , Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley. Step By Step - I'll Be Home For Christmas
by Minta on 04-01-2014 10:33 AM
His Name is Bud
love this story! Thanks for sharing your memories.
by Christmasstar on 04-01-2014 06:46 AM
The Best of Christmas Sitcoms
Here are my top 10: (in no particular order) All 3 M*A*S*H Christmas episodes they made: Dear Dad Dear Sis Death Takes a Holiday The Bob Newhart Show: His Busiest Time I'm Dreaming of a...
by Christmas-A-Holic on 03-26-2014 07:50 AM
Tips for Buying a Fresh Tree
I will do that fresh cut of the trunk.....that was my problem last Christmas.....the tree lost so many needles....even tho it was fresh....the problem was....since I didn´t cut the trunk....the tree...
by trackrebel on 03-24-2014 09:13 AM
» Christmas Library Stats
Christmas Library Statistics Categories: 31, Articles: 352, Posts: 134, Total Views 18,618,944