Wednesday, December 19, 2012

'Miracle on 34th Street' Open Thread

What did you think?


  1. I was thinking about this movie, and another Christmas favorite of mine, Holiday Affair, and it struck me that both of these movies were about adults caring for children, trying to keep hope alive in them that they would not live in a world where dreams are crushed underfoot, despite the disappointing life experiences we all tend to have. In each movie some characters responded to hardship by walling their hearts off to protect themselves from harm, and they walled their children off as well, while other characters, who had experienced considerable hardships themselves, remained holding on to hope, or even the idea of hope, and could not bear to see it taken from the young that they grew to care for. I loved both shows.

  2. I'll get there yet! I've still got a hot buttered run coming to me, and I know how to use it. :)

  3. Good thing Christmas lasts 12 days! My hot buttered rum is still on hold, but I've been couch-bound for two days with gallons of tea and honey :( which has actually allowed me to watch the movie again all in one piece! :)

    Why do I love this movie so much? I can't tell where the nostalgia for having been caught up in it as a kid leaves off, and where being delighted by the old-fashioned sweetness of it begins.

    I don't know if I had already learned the sad truth about Santa before I ever saw this, but I understood that Kris was "just a nice old man with whiskers." What I didn't understand was why Doris was so attached to hard cold reality, why she had no great value for "those lovely intangibles" -- but even as a kid, her softening, her recognizing that not everything had to be paid up front to be worth trusting, was at least as important to me as Kris' being free to live his life.

    I've always loved Edmund Gwenn's "Kris," but watching as an adult I'm so delighted by Natalie Wood as the far-too-grown-up Susan learning how to be a child. And the scenes between the two of them are the absolute best parts of the movie. (Although I always love the way Kris explains to Fred about leaving his whiskers outside the covers, because "the cold air makes them grrroww." And I dearly love the discovery of the cane by the fireplace, and still get a little of that goofy rush of "It IS true!")

    There are a few bits I take issue with. As a kid, I was quite affronted by the premise that Santa (or anyone truly Santa-like) would hit someone with his cane! (Surely they could have contrived a more innocent way for the HR villain to get a knock on the head.) And I notice now that the writing is rather weak in supporting Fred as a great lawyer: the Post Office sorters deciding to dump all the dead-letter Dear-Santa's at the courthouse is what saves Kris.

    But, I can appreciate more now all the political machinations, including the erstwhile Fred Mertz explaining to the judge how trickle-down reality would affect the union vote. And I always get such kick out of the moment the DA's little boy completely scuttles his father's case regarding the existence of Santa Claus with, "Because my Daddy told me so." Too wonderful!

  4. And the judge, speaking to the prosecutor when he was trying to avoid getting pinned and hemmed in by a man working merely on the basis of reason, and chiding him off with those little glances!!! Yes, it was good fun. Thanks for watching it together with me!