Miracle on 34th Street
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Miracle on 34th Street can be found here.

No. The movie is based on a screenplay by American film-maker George Seaton, who also directed the movie. The screenplay is based on a story idea by American film-writer Valentine Davies, who subsequently penned a novella version of the story, published simultaneously with the film's release. Three other versions of 'Miracle on 34th Street' have also been made -- Miracle on 34th Street (1959), Miracle on 34th Street (1973), and Miracle on 34th Street (1994), but the 1947 version is considered by most viewers to be the classic.

The film explores the power of believing in something even when common sense tells you not to. Event director Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara) hires a white-haired and whiskered old man, who calls himself Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn), to play the role of Santa Claus at Macy's department store in New York City. Doris' six-year-old daughter Susan (Natalie Wood) takes a liking to the old gent and, despite her tendency to be the quintessential realist, Susan begins to believe that Kris might really be Santa Claus, so she asks him to bring her the one thing she wants most -- a real house of her own. However, when Kris claims to actually BE Santa Claus, psychiatrists begin questioning his sanity, leading to a court case in which Doris' boyfriend, Fred Gailey (John Payne), must attempt the impossible-- prove to the world that Kris is the one and only Santa Claus.

Kris: Hallo! Ik ben blij dat je gekomen bent! (Hello! I am happy you came!)

Child: O, u bent Sinterklaas! (Ooh, you ARE Sinterklaas!)

Kris: Jazeker! (Yes, of course.)

Child: Ik wist dat u het zou begrijpen! (I knew you would understand.)

Kris: Natuurlijk! Zeg maar wat je zou willen hebben. (Naturally! Tell me what you would like to get.)

Child: Niets. Ik heb van alles. Ik wil alln maar bij deze lieve dame zijn. (Nothing. I have everything. I just want to be with this nice lady.)

Kris: Wil je een liedje voor me zingen? (Would you like to sing me a song?)

Kris and Child sing together:

Sinterklaas kapoentje, (Saint Nicolas, little capon,)

Geef wat in mijn schoentje, (Put something in my little shoe,)

Geef wat in mijn laarsje, (Put something in my little boot,)

Dank u, Sinterklaasje! (Thank you, little Saint Nicolas!)

(Repeat)

Most likely, it is a reference to restaurateur Michael Romanoff, owner of a popular restaurant in Beverly Hills during the 1940s and 1950s. Romanoff claimed to descend from Russian royalty and went by the name Prince Michael Dimitri Alexandrovich Obolensky-Romanoff, but he was actually born Hershel Geguzin in Lithuania in 1890, immigrated to New York City at age 10, and changed his name to Harry F. Gerguson. Although everyone knew he was a fake, he was well-liked and his clientele and personal friends numbered among Hollywood's biggest names. Romanoff's Restaurant closed on New Year's Eve in 1962, and Romanoff himself died in 1971.

The case of Kris Kringle goes to the New York Supreme Court with District Attorney Thomas Mara (Jerome Cowan) prosecuting, Fred Gailey defending, and Judge Henry X. Harper (Gene Lockhart) presiding. The first witness is R. H. Macy (Harry Antrim), owner of Macy's department store where Kris works as Santa Claus. When asked whether he believes Kris to be the real Santa, Macy replies, 'I do.' Next on the stand is Tommy Mara, the D.A.'s son. When asked whether he believes Kris to be the real Santa, Tommy replies, 'Yes...because my daddy told me so...my daddy wouldn't tell me anything that isn't so...would you, Daddy?' The state finally concedes the existence of Santa Claus but asks that the defense produce some 'authoritative evidence,' as opposed to personal opinions, that Kris Kringle is the one and only Santa Claus. The court adjourns for the day so that Fred can gather such evidence, but when the court reopens the next day, Fred has to admit failure. Just as the judge is about to sign the papers to commit Kris to a mental institution, Fred is called out of the courtroom. He returns and presents the judge with three letters addressed to Santa Claus that the Post Office has just delivered to Kris and points out that it is a federal offense to willfully misdirect mail or intentionally deliver it to the wrong party. The state retaliates, claiming that three letters hardly constitute authoritative evidence, so Fred has more mail brought in -- 21 bagfuls in all. After reading about Kris' trial in the newspaper, an enterprising post office employee thought this would be a good way to get rid of all the mail addressed to Santa Claus lying around in the dead letter office and took it upon himself to deliver it to the court house. Judge Harper, having been worried all along that a ruling claiming there was no such person as Santa Claus would be the end of his judicial career, rules that, if the Post Office, an official agency of the United States government, deems Kris Kringle to be the one and only Santa Claus, the court will not dispute it and dismisses the case.

How does the movie end?

Kris invites Doris and Susan to Christmas breakfast. When they arrive, Susan races over to the tree, finding lots of presents for her, but not even a letter or something leading to the real house she asked for. Doris attempts to assuage Susan's disappointment by telling her to keep believing, but Susan says Kris is just a 'nice old man with whiskers.' As Fred is about to drive Doris and Susan home, Kris gives them a note with directions on a route to follow so that they will miss all the traffic. Along the way, Susan keeps whispering, 'I believe.' Suddenly, she notices a house that looks exactly like the one in her picture. It has a 'For Sale' sign in front, so Fred and Doris stop to look it over. When Fred learns that it was Doris who encourage Susan to keep the faith, he kisses her and suggests that they buy the house so as not to disappoint Susan. In the final scene, Fred congratulates himself for taking a little old man and legally proving to the world that he's Santa Claus...until he suddenly notices Kris' cane standing against the wall. 'Maybe I didn't do such a wonderful thing after all,' he says in bewilderment.

Christmas movies abound, but some are mentioned more often than others when naming classics. High on the list is almost any version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, such as: A Christmas Carol (1938), Scrooge (1951) (for many, this is THE classic), A Christmas Carol (1984), The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), or A Christmas Carol (1999). Another movie that seems to make everyone's list of classics is It's a Wonderful Life (1946), along with the two Bing Crosby classics, Holiday Inn (1942) and White Christmas (1954). More recent movies that have become or are becoming holiday classics include: A Christmas Story (1983), Gremlins (1984), National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989), Home Alone (1990) and its sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), The Santa Clause (1994), Elf (2003), The Polar Express (2004), and Christmas with the Kranks (2004). For the little ones (and those still young at heart), there are classic Christmas cartoons, such as Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962), Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983), How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) and its more recent version, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). Finally, if you're unable to see it live, there are several TV versions of Tchaikovsky's classic Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker. Particularly recommended is The Nutcracker (1977) with Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 1 year ago
Top 5 Contributors: mike-163, Spinal83, hisgrandmogulhighness, bj_kuehl, jskeith

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