Director: George Seaton
Cast: Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Wood, John Payne
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….
So let’s get this Christmas party rolling on Movie Critical!
I’ve had quite a few requests as to which Christmas movies I should review, but I have decided to start with Miracle On 34th Street. What better to kick of my Christmas reviews with than the film that traditionally kicks off the Christmas season in the United States by following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television.
Well, Miracle On 34th Street is a classic for a reason. It appealed to people as much in the 1940’s as it does now. It was remade in 1994, but the updated version didn’t offer anything new so the original is still by far the most popular and widely watched.
Miracle On 34th Street is about Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara), mother and Macy’s employee who has brought up her daughter, Susan (Natalie Wood in one of her very first roles) to believe in common sense and no fantasy. This includes not believing in Santa Claus. However, when an old man is in the right place at the right time and believes that he himself is Santa Claus, he has to convince more people of his true identity than just Doris and Susan.
The film has always had a sense of magic about it and achieves so without having pretty sparkly festive images constantly through the film or crazy special effects. It just addresses one of the vital aspects of Christmas and indeed of everyday life. Having faith and believing in something. Is it worth not believing in something just for the fear of getting hurt or something not turning out the way you would like it to? Is there anything wrong with having fun with daydreams? Santa Claus is one of the most beautiful things to believe in because he represents the joy of giving and of shared happiness.
Miracle On 34th Street is one of those films that will always bring a tear to your eye with its beauty. The family dynamics as well as the friendships in the film are heart-warming and everyone loves a happy ending.
Edmund Gwenn is, I believe, the best Santa Claus on the big screen. He completely embodies the character and even you believe that Gwenn is the real Santa Claus. Gwenn earned an Academy Award for his efforts and to this day remains the only Santa Claus to do so.
Natalie Wood is just adorable. She always was a beautiful woman and amazing actress, but this film shows how she was so from an early age. Just like Gwenn, she becomes her character and is an absolute joy to watch.
Miracle On 34th Street is and has always been the perfect film to kick off the Christmas season.
Courtesy of Imdb.com, here are so fun facts you may not have known about Miracle On 34th Street.
*Throughout filming, eight year old Natalie Wood was convinced that Edmund Gwenn really was Santa Claus. It was only when she saw him at the wrap party out of costume that she realised that he wasn’t.
*Edmund Gwenn actually did play Santa Claus in the 1946 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
*Actual footage of the 1946 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was used in this film.
*The film was originally given a ‘B” rating as it was deemed slightly offensive as Maureen O’Hara’s character was a divorcee.
*The scenes inside Macy’s were filmed inside the 34th Street store in New York itself.
The City Wire