Tuesday, February 28, 2012

3 Short Paragraphs: White Christmas

1954, Michael Curtiz (Angels With Dirty Faces, Casablanca) -- download

Remember when I was attempting to do a 31 Days of Xmas?  There are still a few that I did watch, in my queue, that I will review purely on their merit of worth-watching.  We had intended on watching a good handful of the classics, some in our own collection and some that we have caught here and there over years of TV watching.  Too bad I cannot say I have seen anything but It's A Wonderful Life on the big screen.  We should see more older movies on bigger screens as it gives you a wonderful presentation of what life was like when they put their all into a film production, including the film stock.

So, White Christmas is the one I always wanted to see for the first time.  I always mix it up with Holiday Inn and with good reason.  It was originally intended to be another reuniting of Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, who had done Holiday Inn and Blue Skies together previously.  Fred said no, so they ended up with Danny Kaye.  The title song White Christmas was also previously used in Holiday Inn which goes to show that Hollywood catering to it's audiences happened in the "good old days" as well. I only mixed up the movies because of the set pieces used in each: a sing & dancing duo, an inn in a rural snowy state and mixed up love stories.  Surprisingly the plots are not whatsoever similar.

So, Bing and Danny Kaye are old army buddies, who start the movie doing a musical number for the guys in their company. Later, after the war they try their hand at a musical act and are an unqualified success.  Fast track to them being big-time Broadway producers.  We get to know them and their somewhat lonely life through a great round of dialogue between shows, this is sparkling dialogue that I don't often associate with movies from the 40s or 50s, crisp and chuckle worthy.  It continues as Danny Kaye manipulates his buddy into falling for a girl in order to get into her sister's knickers.  The two couple play off each other being drawn together again at the failing inn in Vermont, that turns out to be run by their old general from the war. The rest of the movie has the big-time producers putting on an Xmas eve show to benefit the general with all the songs popping up, very appropriately for me as I normally hate the spontaneous songs of musicals, as they develop the show. It ends with the song being sung again and the unseasonal green Vermont winter is replaced by heavy snowfall, which will attract skiers and save the Inn. Very charming movie!