So, I’m 39 days into my run down from Halloween to Christmas. Time for a musical! and means I’m going to ask the Snooty Ushers song and dance man Welshy to give his thoughts.
And today it’s…
8th December, Day 39
White Christmas (Michael Curtiz, 1954)
Commanding officer of the 151st Division, Major General Thomas F. Waverly (Dean Jagger), is being replaced as commander on Christmas Eve in 1944. Being away from home in Europe, the troops are putting on a show to raise their spirits, led by Captain Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) a Broadway star, performing White Christmas. The new commander doesn’t believe the men should be slacking off, even when wannabe performer, Private Phil Davis (Danny Kaye), tries to change his mind.
Later, with Private Davis injured in action, Wallace goes to visit him in hospital, where Davis tries to persuade him to form a double act. Wallace is initially reluctant, but some emotional blackmail (Davis had been protecting Wallace when his arm was injured) leads to the duo teaming-up up. They are a smash hit when they return home, with rave reviews, sell out shows, standing ovations – basically success at every turn. The twosome move into producing stage shows (with Davis pushing them forward, not afraid to remind Wallace of his war wounds) and their professional success continues unabated. Wallace is starting to grow unhappy and frustrated, and has become increasingly cynical, especially towards women. When an old army buddy asks them to check out his sisters act, Davis falls for Judy (Vera-Ellen), but Wallace and Betty (Rosemary Clooney) don’t get along, mostly due to his cynicism and suspicion that the Sisters are using them to break into show business.
They all head to a lodge in Vermont, which they are surprised to learn is owned by their old Commanding officer Waverly. He has invested everything in the lodge, but a warm, snow less Winter could ruin him. With the help of some old friends, Wallace and Davis attempt to put on a televised spectacular show to save the lodge and their beloved Major General – but will they be able to pull it off? Will Wallace find happiness? And will it be a White Christmas?
Well, over to Welshy –
I love this film, which is saying a lot because i hate Bing Crosby. Fun Fact….Most people think this is where the song ‘White Christmas’ first originated. It actually was first performed on screen by Bing Crosby in Holiday Inn.
Its a really fun musical slightly cheesy and saccharine but it works. The two war buddies, who are touring really play well off each other. I actually adore Danny Kaye and think he is brilliant. Especially as slightly more pushy and fame hungry Davis. He really is a great actor and just eats the role up. I think its because of his chemistry with Crosby and that i can get away with Crosby.
My favourite song is ‘Sisters’ both versions. and ‘I wish I was Back in the Army’ I can sing both off by heart. What I like most is that for a Christmas film, it isn’t packed with loads of Christmas sentiment, themes or songs all about Christmas. Its an even spread and it works. It should be a mainstay if your Christmas film diet. I agree with this rating whole whole heartedly.
Thank Welshy! I was surprised at just how fun and vibrant this still felt, especially the finale. The story isn’t as straight forward as I expected, with Bing Crosby’s more established performer basically being blackmailed into carrying Danny Kaye’s younger singer, and then being exploited as the partnership gets more successful. Wallace seems to want a more simple life, but Daniels keeps pushing. It’s then understandable that he is suspicious when some gorgeous women take a shine to him – of course he thinks everyone is working and angle on him, because everyone is!
Overall, I give this
This really is a classic piece of entertainment. There’s a slight “greatest hits” feel, but it is great!
I hit the big 4-oh tomorrow, with one of the ensemble family films that seem to always come around at this time of year – CHRISTMAS WITH THE COOPERS!
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
PS Here’s my list so far.
31st October, Day 1: The Nightmare Before Christmas
1st November, Day 2: Rocky IV
2nd November, Day 3: Edward Scissorhands
3rd November, Day 4: Trading Places
4th November, Day 5: Batman Returns
5th November, Day 6: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
6th November, Day 7: Gremlins
7th November, Day 8: Eyes Wide Shut
8th November, Day 9: Love Actually
9th November, Day 10: Lethal Weapon
10th November, Day 11: Die Hard / Die Hard 2
11th November, Day 12: About A Boy
12th November, Day 13: Trapped In Paradise
13th November, Day 14: Reindeer Games
14th November, Day 15: Joyeux Noel
15th November, Day 16: Nativity / Nativity 2 / Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?
16th November, Day 17: Jack Frost
17th November, Day 18: Jack Frost
18th November, Day 19: Arthur Christmas
19th November, Day 20: The Santa Clause / The Santa Clause 2 / The Santa Clause 3
20th November, Day 21: Miracle On 34th Street
21st November, Day 22: Miracle On 34th Street
22nd November, Day 23: Scrooged
23rd November, Day 24: Scrooge
24th November, Day 25: The Muppets Christmas Carol
25th November, Day 26: Elf
26th November, Day 27: Home Alone / Home Alone 2
27th November, Day 28: The Grinch
28th November, Day 29: Black Christmas
29th November, Day 30: Jingle All The Way
30th November, Day 31: Rare Exports
1st December, Day 32: Polar Express
2nd December, Day 33: A Christmas Story
3rd December, Day 34: Bad Santa
4th December, Day 35: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
5th December, Day 36: Santa Claus: The Movie
6th December, Day 37: Krampus
7th December, Day 38: Christmas With The Kranks
8th December, Day 39: White Christmas