by Brad Nelson 12/20/13
I don’t like this film simply because it’s directed by one of my favorite directors, Michael Curtiz (Casablanca). And I really should dislike it because I’ve never, for some reason, been able to stomach Danny Kaye. I’ve always had an aversion to his cheesy and corny slapstick. He seemed like Jerry Lewis without the charm.
But White Christmas has changed my mind on that. This movie has become one of my favorite Christmas movies. It’s got song. It’s got dance (Vera-Ellen is dynamite). It’s got comedy. It’s got schmaltz. And, last but not least, it’s got Bing.
They say that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” And I can hardly argue against the point. But if there is a close second, it is Bing Crosby who gives quite a bit of tingle to this season. In my mind, it’s not Christmas without Der Bingle.
And it has Irving Berlin, of course.
My only complaint is that Rosemary Clooney ought not to listen to gossip. Yikes. She almost ruined a happy ending. But she has the voice of an angel.
There’s so much to like about this movie. It’s from an age before the cynicism of the Left poisoned the atmosphere. It’s charming from top to bottom. The songs are terrific throughout. None of them come off as an interruption of the story. And the dance numbers (which, for me, often drag down musical) are fun to watch and carry the story right along.
In fact, the best moment in the movie for me is Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen singing and dancing to The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing. This number alone is worth the price of admission. This number has a charm, romance, and artistry that is rarely captured like this in a musical. It’s elegant rather than hyper-kinetic. The choreographer deserved major kudos for this one. And this is definitely where Kaye wins me over. His dancing is fluid and full of warm personality.
You could say the story is, like most musicals, simply there to hang the song and dance numbers on. But that would be cheating this movie which does have a pleasant plot to it. It has a good start. Good middle. Good ending. It doesn’t get much better than this for a holiday movie. For me it’s the new old classic.
Watching this (back to back with another favorite, “Going My Way”) is getting that Christmas Spirit meter back in the positive zone. Do yourself a favor. If you haven’t watched this in a while, do so. • (3116 views)