December 18, 2011

25 Days: Miracle on 34th Street
by docsmartypants

Miracle on 34th Street (1947) Natalie Wood, Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara, John Payne

Miracle on 34th Street is definitely on my list of top Christmas films. I like that it isn’t too sappy, that it has a sense of humor, and that it acknowledges the stresses of a commercialized Christmas without completely denouncing it.

Kris Kringle (Gwenn) is a Macy’s store Santa who claims to be the real thing. When his sanity is called into question, his lawyer friend Fred (Payne) sets out to prove in court that Kris is the one and only Santa Claus. Along the way, Doris and Susan, a skeptical mother and daughter (O’Hara, Wood), learn to have a little faith and imagination.

As far as I am concerned, Edmund Gwenn IS Santa Claus. And if he isn’t, he should be. First of all, he just looks exactly the way I picture Santa looking. Also, I like the kind of Santa who can speak Dutch to a little orphan girl but who also isn’t afraid to hit an amateur psychologist with a cane if need be. I love the scene where he’s trying to teach Susan to pretend to be a monkey so she can play zoo with the other children, and when he tries blowing a bubble with his gum and it gets caught in his beard. As for people thinking he is insane for going by the name Kris Kringle, remind me to tell you sometime about the Santa at the mall I used to work at who has credit cards in the name Santa Claus. As far as I know, no one ever tried to lock him up. How times have changed.

Another part of Miracle on 34th Street that I love for completely random reasons is when Doris is trying to find a place for Kris to stay, and her coworker has gone home and plied his wife with martinis to talk her into letting Kris stay with them. They call Doris’s house and the very tipsy wife gets on the phone and is saying how she’d be delighted to have Santa come stay with them. And she is just so tanked! Anyways, the reason I like that scene, other than how she says, “Helloooooo?” is that, drunkenness aside, she actually reminds me a little of my paternal grandmother. So every time I watch that scene I smile and think of the way my grandma Rhoda used to call people “daaaarling” and whatnot.

On a sadder note, Larry pointed out that any future remake of this film—please no—would have to come up with another way for the lawyer to prove Kris is Santa in the end because the U.S. Postal Department just doesn’t have the same kind of power anymore. Sigh. Do kids still send letters to Santa? Or do they just post a list of demands on Facebook?

Tune in tomorrow for Day 19: Mixed Nuts.

posted under Media
3 Comments to

“25 Days: Miracle on 34th Street”

  1. On December 19th, 2011 at 10:26 am Stacey Says:

    Granted I am unusual for my crusade against Facebook, but the little kids my sisters baby-sit for all wrote letters to Santa this year and we mailed them at Macy’s. When we were mailing them, there were more little kids sitting by the mailbox crafting their letters.

  2. On December 20th, 2011 at 2:37 pm Ethan Edwards Says:

    I love your posts, and hate to write this note as if I’m some sort of Scrooge or something, but just needed set the record straight that Edmund Gwenn is actually the actor portraying Kris Kringle and John Payne is Fred. And I agree, the movie is delightful, and Edmund Gwenn is the best Santa Clause ever put on film. (After all, he is the REAL thing!)

    Happy Holidays!

  3. On December 20th, 2011 at 2:46 pm docsmartypants Says:

    Ha! You are SO right, Ethan. I don’t even know how I did that, but thanks for pointing it out.

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