Sunday, December 19, 2010

25 Days of Holiday Classics: Miracle on 34th Street: Day 13

I watched Miracle on 34th Street (1947) for the first time this week. I thought it was adorable, funny, and heartwarming. It definitely has the most believable Santa that I've ever seen. The movie begins with the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. The Santa that has been hired is completely unsuitable and drunk. A friendly old man (Edmund Gwenn) notices this and informs the woman in charge, Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara) of the parade of her intoxicated Santa. Unsure of what to do, Doris persuades the old man to take his place. He ends up being the best Santa that the parade has ever had and he is recruited to be the store Santa at Macy's.

The man is very successful and he has been bringing Macy's even more business because of his Christmas spirit and helpfulness to the customers. However, Doris learns that the man calls himself Kris Kringle and believes himself to be the real Santa Claus, which worries her, even though the man is harmless. She doesn't want him to have an influence on her daughter, Susan (Natalie Wood), who has been brought up to reject fairy tales and imaginative things. Yet, a lot of people, especially Susan, seem to recognize that there is something special about Kris and that he really does seem to be Santa Claus.

The only person who really seems to be against Kris is the Macy's store psychologist and he ends up getting him committed into a mental institution. Appalled by this gesture, Fred Gailey (John Payne), who is a neighbor of Doris', agrees to represent Kris. A lot of people come to support Kris and even though Doris was a bit skeptical of Kris being Santa at first, she begins to believe that he is as well. Will Kris win his case against the people deeming him as a crazy old man? Is he really Santa Claus? Watch to find out.


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