Thursday, December 19, 2013

Oscar Movie Review: "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947)

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Movie: "Miracle on 34th Street"
Director: George Seaton
Year Nominated: 1948
Rating: G
Running Time: 1 hour, 36 minutes
Did It Win?: No.

Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara) is a divorced mother and works in upper management at Macy's. She is a firm believer in telling her daughter Susan (Natalie Wood) the truth about Christmas and not letting her head get filled with silly fantasies. When the Macy's Day parade's Santa Claus actor shows up drunk on the job, a random old man named Kris (Edmund Gwenn) reports the drunkard to Doris, and actually fills in during the parade.  He is so good at being Santa that he gets a job as the Macy's mall Santa, but there's just one catch: Kris, who gives his full name as Kris Kringle, truly believes he is Santa Claus. He is eventually forced to stand trial to prove he's not crazy and that he is actually Santa Claus.

This is a classic that has been around for almost 70 years. It still hasn't lost its touch. It straddles the fine line between questioning what you think you know and what you really want to believe. This film boasts excellent performances by all the main actors: Maureen O'Hara, who does a brilliant job as the brutally honest mother, Natalie Wood as the sort of cold and logic-driven child who seems like she's a lot older than she really is, and Edmund Gwenn, who gives such a good performance you find yourself still wanting to believe that Santa Claus is real. The story itself does what many Christmas movies try to do, to bring people back to the magic and wonderment of Christmas that they had as a kid. We believe it does just that.

The DVD gives us the option to play it in color or in black and white, but we just can't seem to bring ourselves to view it in color. Black and white forever!!!

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 10/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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