7.6/10
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174 user 66 critic

White Christmas (1954)

A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general.

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Writers:

(written for the screen by), (written for the screen by) | 1 more credit »
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ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Judy Haynes (as Vera Ellen)
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John Brascia ...
John
Anne Whitfield ...
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Storyline

Having left the Army following W.W.II, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis team up to become a top song-and-dance act. Davis plays matchmaker and introduces Wallace to a pair of beautiful sisters (Betty and Judy) who also have a song-and-dance act. When Betty and Judy travel to a Vermont lodge to perform a Christmas show, Wallace and Davis follow, only to find their former commander, General Waverly, as the lodge owner. A series of romantic mix-ups ensue as the performers try to help the General. Written by Norman Cook <cook@ssdgwy.mdc.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

THE MOST FABULOUS MUSIC-AND-MIRTH SHOW IN MOTION PICTURE HISTORY! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

14 October 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Irving Berlin's White Christmas  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)| (optical prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The TV camera in the Ed Harrison Show scene is a real one (a classic RCA monochrome), with a real call sign atop it. It is Channel 4, NBC's (and thus RCA's) flagship station in New York, which changed its call sign to WRCA-TV the year of the film's release. (They adopted their current WNBC-TV call sign in 1960.) See more »

Goofs

After Wallace pours the milk before the "Counting Your Blessings" song, he places the pitcher back on the counter and picks the glass up. In the next shot, he places the pitcher on the counter and picks the glass up a second time. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
General Harold G. Carlton: Stop the jeep, Sergeant. What's this all about, Captain?
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Crazy Credits

This film was the first feature to use the VistaVision Paramount logo. A new logo, created especially for wide-screen, this logo appears more realistic and features a shot of a canyon with trees around it. The sky is more distant in depth and is full of contrast. The Paramount logo is pretty much the same as before here. The screen credit "Paramount (with the "P" written in their corporate font) proudly presents the first picture in" first appears over the mountain, and then the VistaVision logo appears, then the Paramount logo plays as usual (with the final notes of the Paramount on Parade march, followed by a bell sound). The Paramount mountain, with minor variations until 1986, served as the basis for the company logo for more than 30 years. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 100 Greatest Christmas Moments (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Snow
(uncredited)
Words and Music by Irving Berlin
Sung by Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen (dubbed by Trudy Stevens) (uncredited)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
".........just like the ones we used to know."
11 August 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

By 1954 the song White Christmas had become such a timeless classic that it was inevitable that a film would be made around it. And of course the star would be none other than Bing Crosby. But who to star with him.

Originally this was to be the third Irving Berlin outing for Bing and Fred Astaire. Then Donald O'Connor was to co-star, but finally Danny Kaye teamed with Der Bingle. Proved to be a felicitous combination.

By then Rosemary Clooney had worked in a few films well and more importantly, she had clicked with Crosby on the radio. Bing had teamed with several girl singers over the years, like Connee Boswell, Frances Langford, Mary Martin, Trudy Erwin, Carole Richards, Peggy Lee and a trio of sisters named Andrews. But he always said Rosemary Clooney was it for him and besides Mary Martin, the only other one who did became a leading lady for him.

It's not remembered because of the success of her solo career, but Rosemary Clooney started as a duo with her sister Betty who retired early to raise a family. So with Vera-Ellen as her sister in the movie, that was an aspect of the plot Rosemary could handle with ease.

The plot such as it is involves Bing and Danny as a song and dance duo who've expanded into the production end of show business. Through a little bit of a con game worked by Vera Ellen, the two meet a singing sister act like the Clooney sisters were. The sisters turn out to be headed to Vermont to work at a resort and the smitten guys go along with them.

Problem is there ain't any snow there. It's an unheard of 68 degrees Fahrenheit in early December. And the place is owned by Crosby and Kaye's former commander from World War II, played by Dean Jagger. He's about to lose his shirt and his pride. So our intrepid quartet go to work.

Irving Berlin's score for White Christmas is about half new songs and the other half from previous scores. That's how it was when you got Irving to work for you. Listen carefully even to the background music. You will not hear one note of a non-Berlin song.

One of those songs was a personal favorite of mine, Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep. I recall in grade school in Brooklyn it was a song that the teachers had us sing in the school assemblies. Little did I know that it was introduced by the guy who proved to be my favorite entertainer. It's a patented philosophical Bing Crosby song that he did best and it serves as a ballad to woo and win Rosie. Bing sings it and then Rosie joins him in the reprise.

Danny Kaye has two good numbers. The first The Best Things Happen While Your Dancing is clearly originally for Fred Astaire, though Kaye and Vera Ellen make a lovely couple on the dance floor. The Choreography number I think was also done for Astaire, but here dancer John Brascia does the complicated dance routine while Kaye sings. I'm sure Astaire would have handled both jobs had the film been made with him.

All the stars do the Minstrel Show/Mandy number, but Vera Ellen really shines in it. She was a great dancer, really sparkled in every film she did.

Besides Sisters, Rosemary Clooney has a grand torch ballad that sold a few platters for her in Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me. She had a wonderful singing voice and the most impeccable diction of any female singer ever. You don't miss one throbbing word on any of her ballads.

White Christmas was Paramount's first film done in their wide screen process called VistaVision. And of course it was proper that their number one star for over 20 years be in this film. Of course jokes about Bing's derrière and the wide screen got into the repertoire of a certain comedian named Hope.

Just like the song that inspired it, White Christmas has proved to be a timeless holiday classic and will remain so.


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