Movie Name: White Christmas
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date(s): October 14, 1954
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) have returned from the war to start a career as a successful singing duo. When Phil suggests Bob needs to slow down he tries to set them up with another singing group made up Betty Haynes (Rosemary Clooney) and her sister Judy (Vera-Ellen). When both end up going to Vermont for a Christmas engagement, Bob and Phil learn that they are working for their old army major Thomas Waverly (Dean Jagger). With no snow and a new inn, Waverly reveals his business is failing, now Bob, Phil, Betty, and Judy set out to save the inn and hope that the snow will come.
White Christmas was directed Michael Curtiz and was of the biggest hits of 1954. It was shot in the new VistaVision and had bright,sharp Technicolor. The movie featured the Academy Award winning song “White Christmas” from Bing Crosby’s 1942 movie Holiday Inn as its centerpiece.
White Christmas was one of those holiday movies that was often on lazy December Saturdays as a child. Without cable you watched whatever you could that was Christmas themed, and I can remember watching the ending of this film along with parts of The Bells of St. Mary’s and It’s a Wonderful Life…though this film was not in the public domain. I do not think I sat down and actually watched White Christmas from beginning to end until college…and now it is a tradition.
The movie has a nice, easy plot. World War II veterans trying to help their commanding officer and a mix of typical romance. The war was only a decade past at the time so I can imagine stories like Waverly’s story were fresh on the minds of many people…so a nice happy ending for someone scarred by war probably went over well. The romance is very formulaic with Crosby and Clooney hating each other at first and Kaye and Ellen only working together to set them up. There isn’t much tension or suspense, you know how it is going to end, but that still doesn’t mean it is a bad thing.
The music for White Christmas(except for the title number) is relatively forgettable. Kaye, Crosby, and Clooney did their own singing for the film but Vera-Ellen was dubbed by Trudy Stevens. In the Haynes Sisters’ introduction number Sisters, Rosemary Clooney sang both parts for the recording.
White Christmas is a staple for holiday seasons. It is bright and colorful and a nice pleasant film for the family. It isn’t as good of film as Holiday Inn (which unfortunately has the horrible Abraham sequence…only mentioned here), but the Technicolor really helps bring it out as a bright holiday classic.