Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Movie Review: "White Christmas" (1954)

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Movie"White Christmas"
Director: Michael Curtiz
Year: 1954
Rating: G
Running Time: 2 hours

A pair of Army buddies named Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) form a singing duo and become a smash hit. They look at a new sister act, Betty (Rosemary Clooney), and Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen) as a favor to another Army friend. They are stricken by the girls' beauty and help them get out of a jam where a hotel owner is trying to exploit money from them. Phil gives the girls their train tickets so they can get out of town quick, but he also has an ulterior motive. He tricks Bob into riding on the same train to get him to run into Betty again. Things go as planned for Phil and after talking to the girls a while on the train, they decide to accompany the sisters to Vermont where they are doing a show at a local inn. When they arrive, Wallace and Davis are surprised to find out the inn is owned by their old army commanding officer General Waverly (Dean Jagger). Due to a lack of snowfall this particular year, the inn is struggling to get by and is in danger of going bankrupt. To help the general out, Wallace and Davis offer to put on a show free of charge to help him drum up business and help save the inn. 

Bing Crosby is a quintessential Christmas crooner. His songs are synonymous with the holiday season and are heavily rotated on any given Christmas station to this day. "White Christmas" is one of his most famously sung holiday songs (originally by Irving Berlin) about wanting to be somewhere where it's snowing for Christmas. Unfortunately, when Bob, Phil, Judy and Betty arrive at the inn, there is no snow there, even though they had just finished singing a 5 minute song about it. In an effort to help his former commanding officer and his inn, Bob does something completely selfless in order to help save his friend and brother in arms. This act, and really the entire movie, embodies the sentiment of Christmas, which means putting yourself aside and doing things for others and those who are in need, whether you know them or not. Family isn't always about blood relations, it's also about those who you choose to love, choose to care about, and choose to be your "family." Even though there is a little bit of drama and sappiness shoehorned in the film that is a bit out of place, the rest of the movie is relatively solid. There are a ton of catchy and wonderfully sung songs, some (now) hilarious dialogue that is so outdated that it has become ironic and funny, and great performance by Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney, who all have great chemistry despite their age differences. The movie is a little dated in 2014 and there are some elements of it that probably wouldn't work today, like having trouble reaching out to everyone in a platoon for a reunion; today, this could be fixed with Facebook or mass texting, but this is hardly distracting from the overall point of the movie. Other parts might be deemed hokey by some, but to us, the heart the film contains outweighs any of these minor gripes. As long as you're not a complete cynic, you can probably find something about "White Christmas" that you will enjoy.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 76%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching"Scrooged"

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