Miracle on 34th Street (1947) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • 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 finds himself held at Bellevue where, in despair, he deliberately fails a mental examination to ensure his commitment. All seems lost until Doris' friend, Fred Gaily, reassures Kris of his worth and agrees to represent him in the fight to secure his release. To achieve that, Fred arranges a formal hearing in which he argues that Kris is sane because he is in fact Santa Claus. What ensues is a bizarre hearing in which people's beliefs are reexamined and put to the test, but even so, it's going to take a miracle for Kris to win.

    - Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@rogers.com>
  • One of Doris Walker's responsibilities at Macy's Department Store in New York City is to organize the famed annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which marks the official start of the Christmas shopping season. Doris is a realist, that attitude toward life due to her own failed marriage not being the fairy tale she envisioned it would be. She has taught her impressionable six year old daughter Susan Walker the same, Susan who does not believe in make believe or the "fantasies" associated with Christmas, such as Santa Claus. At the last minute, Doris is forced to hire a replacement Santa for the parade, not knowing anything about the man she hires besides he looking the part. He is such a success that she hires him to play Santa in the store for the remainder of the Christmas season. It isn't until he becomes an invaluable addition to Macy's, including coming to the positive attention of Mr. Macy himself, that Doris learns that the man calls himself Kris Kringle and truly does believe he is the real Santa Claus. At this point, Susan, witnessing things she can not explain rationally, begins to wonder if he is who he says he is. To protect herself and the store, Doris, without telling Kris what she is truly doing, makes Kris go through a psychological evaluation through the store's therapist, Granville Sawyer, who wrongly believes he's God's gift to his profession. Because of their antagonism toward each other, Sawyer tries to have Kris committed, which leads to court proceedings as to Kris' sanity. Fred Gailey, Doris' neighbor who is attracted to her, takes Kris' case, in part to be close to Doris, but also to help his friend who he believes is just a kindly and harmless old man. Fred's defense is to prove that Kris is who he says he is: Santa Claus. In the process, Kris wants more than anything to make both Doris and Susan believe in faith, for Doris again and for Susan the first time in her life.

    - Written by Huggo
  • Doris Walker a no-nonsense Macy's executive, desperately searches for a new store Santa. She hires Kris Kringle who insists that he's the real Santa Claus. But, he has many skeptics like Doris and her six year old daughter, Susan. So Kris goes to court to try and prove it. Is he the real Santa Claus?

    - Written by Kelly
  • When Doris Walker frantically recruits a last minute replacement for a drunken Santa for Macy's Christmas parade, he seems just ideal for he job and perhaps for good reason - he says his name is Kris Kringle and that he's the real Santa Claus. She pays him no mind and at the department store, he's proving be popular as well. He seems to be able to speak many languages and knows just what kids would like to have and creates a bit of a sensation when he refers shoppers to other stores rather than Macy's. When Kris has a run-in with the Department store's psychological tester, the man tries to have him committed leading to a court case where Doris' lawyer neighbor Fred Gailey tries to prove in court that Kris is the real Santa Claus. More important to Kris throughout all of this is to get Doris and her daughter Susan to believe in him.

    - Written by garykmcd
  • When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing.

    - Written by Kenneth Chisholm


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