Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Hey guys!
Technically speaking Christmas is over, but it’s still the holidays and still December, so there’s definitely time for more X-Mas movies. Today we’re looking at a classic, that I had never seen before!

The Plot (as found on Rotten Tomatoes):

In this Christmas classic, an old man going by the name of Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) fills in for an intoxicated Santa in Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade. Kringle proves to be such a hit that he is soon appearing regularly at the chain’s main store in midtown Manhattan. When Kringle surprises customers and employees alike by claiming that he really is Santa Claus, it leads to a court case to determine his mental health and, more importantly, his authenticity.

The Rating:

Miracle on 34th Street is a film I’ve meant to watch for a while. Or rather films. Since there is a remake, I feel obligated to watch both the old and new versions! Today we’re going to talk about the black and white picture before tackling the 1994 version in a couple of days.

I was pleasantly surprised! This is a lovely film that I enjoyed a lot. First of all, it didn’t dawn on me that the little girl was played by Natalie Wood until I looked it up on Wikipedia which was interesting to me! She delivers a great performance but she’s not alone with that. I have no complaints whatsoever when it comes to the cast.

The story is rather charming and the department store execs trying to one-up each other felt rather realistic. Even when you do something nice there has to be money in it, right? I appreciate how they treated the whole Santa thing. It’s always a little weird to me that in movies people just easily accept “oh yeah, you say you’re Santa!” Here they don’t raise their eyebrows, they question whether he is of sound mind and send him for psychiatric evaluation. After all, that man is working with children, so it’s important to be sure he is not a threat or anything of that sort. Really nice touch!

What I found, furthermore, rather interesting is the character Doris Walker played by Maureen O’Hara. Granted I don’t know much about the United States in the 40s, but from what movies had me believe so far, this really surprised me. She is a single mother, who is divorced (I was convinced they’d just tell us that her husband is dead or something), and who does not only hold a job but one that is rather high up in the hierarchy and she is damn good at it. She’s not just some assistant or secretary, she really is in charge of things and ears enough to rent a lovely apartment for her and her daughter. While nowadays all of that is normal, I simply wasn’t expecting any of it from a movie that was released in 1947!

I’m trying to dance around spoilers here (can it even be considered spoilers if the movie is so old?) but there is a trial in this picture which was probably my favorite part of the film. I think it was really well done and credible – as far as credible can go regarding the matter. I feel like they tried hard to make this believable. After all, it’s just a Christmas flick, so they didn’t have to go that hard, but I appreciate that they did.

While Miracle on 34th Street was an enjoyable movie that I consider well-made in pretty much all aspects, I didn’t love it as much as some other Christmas classics. So, despite two thumbs up from me, this one won’t make it onto the list of films I rewatch each December.

Did you watch the film? Let me know in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

  1. Pingback: Wrapping it up for December | The Punk Theory

  2. I love this film and try and watch t every year. It grows on you the more you watch it. I love Edmund Gwynn as Santa and love his quote…”Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a state of mind.” How True is that! You are right about Maureen O’Hara who plays a very modern woman which is nice to see. 2 of my favourite parts are when the young Natalie Wood sees Kris sing a Dutch song to an orphan..makes me cry each time. The other is when Maureen’s partner at work gave his wife triple doses in her martini and she gets on the phone and can’t wait for Santa to stay with them. That actress is hilarious. To me, this film stands the test of time although I have no clue why the lawyer says it’s not such a good thing after all when they see Kris’s cane in the home.

    Liked by 1 person

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