The first half of this film, set hundreds of years ago, shows how the old man who eventually became Santa Claus was given immortality and chosen to deliver toys to all the children of the world. The second half moves into the modern era, in which Patch, the head elf, strikes out on his own and falls in with an evil toy manufacturer who wants to corner the market and eliminate Santa Claus.
At the Macy's Department Store Thanksgiving Day parade, the actor playing Santa is discovered to be drunk by a whiskered old man. Doris Walker, the no nonsense special events director, persuades the old man to take his place. The old man proves to be a sensation and is quickly recruited to be the store Santa at the main Macy's outlet. While he is successful, Ms. Walker learns that he calls himself Kris Kringle and he claims to be the actual Santa Claus. Despite reassurances by Kringle's doctor that he is harmless, Doris still has misgivings, especially when she has cynically trained herself, and especially her daughter, Susan, to reject all notions of belief and fantasy. And yet, people, especially Susan, begin to notice there is something special about Kris and his determination to advance the true spirit of Christmas amidst the rampant commercialism around him and succeeding in improbable ways. When a raucous conflict with the store's cruelly incompetent psychologist erupts, Kris ... Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Despite the fact that the film is set during Christmas, studio head Darryl F. Zanuck insisted that it be released in May because he argued that more people went to the movies during the summer. So the studio began scrambling to promote it while keeping the fact that it was a Christmas movie a secret. See more »
Outside the courtroom, the shadow of a camera can be seen on the pillar as Kris walks down the hall. See more »
Its very easy to see why this movie won the Oscar for Screenplay that year. Its very intelligent and has a lot to say about several topics - how to raise a child, how a person of questionable sanity gets treated, how greedy businessmen are, how politics play out in a courtroom..and what to do with all that damn mail addressed to Santa Claus!
Its also very mature in some ways - Doris (Maureen O'Hara) is divorced and the mother of Susie (Natalie Wood). Doris has raised Susie to be very practical and to think for herself, but she neglected to teach Susie one thing - how to be a child, when you ARE a child. Enter Mr. Gayley (John Payne), a struggling lawyer who befriends Susie as a way to get to know her Mom better.
Doris works at Macy's and is organizing their Thanksgiving Day Parade, when the Santa they've hired is intoxicated. In a pinch they hire the REAL Kris Kringle to appear in the parade. He ends up being such a big hit that he gets hired to work at Macy's also. He is not the traditional employee, however, and this comes to light when he sends a customer (the venerable Thelma Ritter) to ANOTHER STORE! Schoenfeld's, he says, has what she's looking for. Then he is overheard, by the store manager no less, sending another customer to GIMBELS!
Don't want to give away any more, but the movie is touching, dramatic and hysterical - Doris on the phone with her co-workers' wife, who has been given too much liquor, is worth a million bucks alone. Whenever I want to make my sister laugh, I do a pretty decent imitation of her saying "HELLO?" Also, I can sing the song Kris sings to the girl from Rotterdam..the girl who is so thrilled that Kris can communicate with her in her language. Susie overhearing this is beginning to think that Kris might be the real thing, and she's a pretty hard nut to crack, for a little kid.
See it, own it, memorize it..and pity the 31 souls in 'User Ratings' who gave this a '1', which is ridiculous but it takes all kinds I guess.
50 of 55 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?