White Christmas (1954)

white christmas poster 1954 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Nice looking, fun

Predictable plot

Movie Info

Movie Name: White Christmas

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Genre(s): Romance/Comedy/Musical/Seasonal

Release Date(s): October 14, 1954

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

white christmas sisters bing crosby danny kaye

No women can ever split us up!

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.

Directed by Michael Curtiz, White Christmas was a holiday movie musical.  It was shot in the new VistaVision format 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 and received its own Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song (“Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep”).  It was one of the biggest movies of 1954 and became a holiday classic.

white christmas snow rosemary clooney bing crosby danny kaye vera ellen

We are really into snow

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.

white christmas final song snow bing crosby rosemary clooney vera ellen danny kaye

It would have been more impressive if they opened the curtains and there was a tornado…

The cast works well together.  Crosby and Kaye are good sparring partners and both are well matched to their romantic leads Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen.  Dean Jagger also is strong as the major that has come upon bad luck.  Emma Allen also plays a great busybody (who of course almost ruins everything).

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.  It is simple, happy, and sentimental…and that is often what the holiday is all about.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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