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|Index||161 reviews in total|
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
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.
Over the years, I've read a number of professional critics' reviews of this film; almost all were mildly to severely negative. And here's the interesting thing: I don't disagree with most of the individual carps. Yes, the movie is a piece of fluff. Yes,the usually dependable Danny Kaye is a bit weak in his performance. Yes, the plot mechanism for inserting many of the production numbers is lame. Heck, even the continuity is poor...I myself have discovered three noticeable continuity fluffs. But here's the thing. The movie works, anyway!!! Bing and Danny nevertheless make a likeable "Mutt and Jeff" duo. The supporting cast all holds their own, from a radiant (and surprisingly voluptuous) Rosemary Clooney, to the astoundingly agile Vera Ellen, to Dean Jagger's Patton-like General Waverly...they all hit their marks very well. The plot-line is unbelievable. Who cares? This is a feel-good Christmas Movie, for cryin' out loud! The production numbers are sheer fun, the plot doesn't get in the way of all the beauty and great music, the actors are obviously having a good time, and we're all allowed to window-peep on the shenanigans. This is the PERFECT movie to put on after Macy's Parade, while all those who don't like football are helping prep for the big Turkey Day meal. You sneak a bit of dressing or cranberry sauce, and watch a production number. The plot is so user-friendly, missing five minutes here and there doesn't hurt. Treat yourself. Discover why millions of views have made this movie a holiday favorite, despite the critics' opinions!
I absolutely ADORE this movie! Have since the first time I saw it!
some may classify it as simply a "feel-good" movie, but what's wrong with
that? Some may also classify it as pure schmaltz, but the movie truly
have it's sad points... like the priceless look on General Waverly's face
whenever he enters the room where everyone who had been under his division
is awaiting his arrival!
The movie has a truly wonderful musical score, not to mention some VERY kick butt dancing!
Bing Crosby is charming as Bob Wallace, a calm and reserved, yet witty and delightful and wise-cracking, and somewhat cynical kind of guy. Bing truly performed to his greatest. And his vocal talent is enormous, not to mention evident throughout the entire movie! It's a real treat to see him crack up when he and Danny Kaye are performing their rendition of "Sisters"!
Danny Kaye is hilarious as Phil Davis, the foil to calm and cool Bob. Phil, too, is full of wise-cracks, and very intent on getting Bob to settle down. Danny gave such a life to his character, portraying him like no other! His best one liner was when a young blonde with voice like nails on a chalk board says to him (after his phoney engagment to Judy) "I sure wish it would happen to me!") to which he replies "So do I!"
Rosemary Clooney is absolutely riveting as Betty Haynes, the older of the two Haynes sisters. She is the most calm and most subdued. She is looking for her "knight on the white horse" in life. Rosemary played Betty to the fullest, making her every bit as believable as you could imagine! And that voice... GOLDEN! A gift from God! It's a true treasure to see her in her solo "Love (You Didn't Do Right By Me)". She's absolutely marvelous and extremely talented.
Vera-Ellen is refreshingly delightful as Judy Haynes, the younger and more naive Haynes sister. Judy is also the dreamer of the two. Vera-Ellen does a wonderfully through job of portraying Judy! She is a perfect foil to her older sister. And those dancing stems... to see her dance in numbers like "Mandy" and "Choreography" is a real treat! How ANYONE could ever dance as well as she is beyond me! She really did a great job in this movie, even better than her performance in "On The Town" with Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Betty Garrett.
A GREAT MOVIE!!!! GREAT CAST CHEMISTRY!!!! GREAT MUSIC!!!! GREAT DANCING!!!! WATCH IT AND YOU WILL SOON BE DREAMING OF A WHITE CHRISTMAS!!!!
"White Christmas" is guilty of many of the sins catalogued by other
commentators: its got a sappy story line, predictable plot twists, it plays
outrageously for sentiment and patriotism (not your usual Christmas theme!).
But I confess to having loved it from the first moment I saw it nearly a
half century ago. I, too, like many, make it a point to view it every
Christmas season, along with much better holiday fare such as "It's a
Wonderful Life," "The Wizard of Oz," and "Miracle on 34th
I think, contrary to many folks, that Danny Kaye succeeds in the second
lead role better than Fred Astaire did in "Holiday Inn," and while he isn't
given an opportunity for his patented zaniness, he adds a thoroughgoing
charm to the role that sometimes the rather stiff Astaire lacks.
Rosemary Clooney is lovely in the rather thankless role of the practical sister and was at the peak of her genius as a pop singer, Vera-Ellen does her usually charming thing, and Crosby! The master implants his genius in virtually every frame. In supporting roles veteran character actor Dean Jagger is splendid as the general, while Mary Wickes steals every scene she's in as the nosy hotel housekeeper, Emma. The singing and dancing are first-rate (even without Astaire), and the songs by Irving Berlin are among his very best, including a number of tunes written especially for the film. One that never ceases to charm me is the trifle, "Snow," sung by our four stars in the dining car of the railroad train bound from Florida to Vermont. What a magical moment, among many in this thoroughly delightful, if flawed, jewel.
I know, we've heard it all before, how the film, Holiday Inn is superior to this offering, but you'd never convince me of that! I adore this film, it's fun, innocent, lively, has wonderful tunes and a top-notch cast. My holiday viewing will never be complete until I've watched this film at least a half dozen times and probably more during the holiday season. It's one of those 'feel good films' and this Christmas fanatic highly recommends settling in with some good snacks and simply enjoying yourself and this true holiday classic. The DVD is a must-have, as it offers a wonderful commentary with the late-great Rosemary Clooney.
White Christmas is one of those movies you can just enjoy without having to think about why the characters act the way they do. The plot is very thin, and seems to be written just to hold the musical numbers together, but it makes for a very enjoyable movie indeed. Viewing this film has become a holiday tradition in my family, and it is great fun to quote memorable lines and sing along with Bing, Danny, Vera-Ellen, and of course, the incomparable Rosemary Clooney. We have a theater here in Austin that regularly shows classic films, and the year they screened White Christmas, there was a packed house, and everyone sang along with every song and yelled out lines, sort of like Rocky Horror Picture Show without the dressing up. White Christmas is just a fun movie, and I highly recommend it for holiday viewing. The Irving Berlin songs, the dance numbers, and yes, the "schmaltz" are just the right combination to put even the Grinchiest person in the Christmas spirit.
Sorry, Jimmy! My apologies, Alistair! My all-time favorite Christmas was,
is, and always will be, "White Christmas." First of all, there's that
wonderful Irving Berlin score. "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep" and
"Sisters" have become standards, of course. But, towering above them all,
Bing Crosby's definitive performance of the beloved Christmas favorite
he practically owned. All the performances are top-drawer, what with Bing,
Danny Kaye (In a role meant for Donald O'Connor), Rosie Clooney,
Dean Jagger, and Mary Wickes, who, as you can see here, was playing nasty
old things even when she was a nasty young thing!
Corny, syrupy, kitsch. Perhaps it is all of that, to some. But, to unashamed sentimentalists like me, "White Christmas" will always be THE all-time great Christmas movie, particularly when viewed by the whole family, on Christmas Day, in front of the fireplace.
God bless Bing, Berlin, and company, for making a lot of Holidays that much happier, including those of the Sorrentino family!
The music of Irving Berlin, one of America's most distinguished
composers of the 20th century, is at the center of this pleasant
holiday film, that if one is to judge by the comments submitted to this
forum, is a perennial favorite of audiences that discover this charming
movie, or just go back to visit from time to time.
Directed by Michael Curtiz, a versatile man; he was at ease with drama as well as comedy, or musicals. He shows a light touch that helps make this a cherished film for movie fans of all ages. Based on material by another great team, Norman Panama, Norman Krasna and Melvin Frank, the movie is light as a feather. The film is sort of a variation on the theme, "let's put on a show", or even, "if we stage it, they will come", we know how it will end, but we feel good, and enjoy it even though we know the plot by heart.
The main reason for watching, besides Mr. Berlin's wonderful tunes, is hearing those standard songs delivered by the likes of Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, who were at the top of their careers. They had such wonderful and melodious voices, they enhance the songs they interpret. The story is just a pretext to bring together the talented principals plus Danny Kaye, Vera Ellen, Dean Jagger, and the marvelous Mary Wickes, in a film that will delight anyone, anytime, but especially at Christmas.
It seems every Christmas this is one movie I must watch, and never tire of
The cast I thought was mismatched, Danny Kaye was a poor substitute for
Donald O'Connor, yet he makes the character he plays so likeable that you
can't help but be drawn to his character.
Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby dressed as girls has to be seen to be believed.
They make the " sisters " song take on a whole other meaning.
This is a picture that shows the magic of Christmas. The last scene with the general brings a tear to the eye. Once again this proves that musicals leave you with that special feeling.
"White Christmas" has to be one of the most wonderful holiday musical films ever made. Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney give great performances and Crosby's "White Christmas" is the best song in the film. After watching this you'll feel a great amount of holiday spirit. The snow, the songs, the music. You just get a good feeling. Watch it, your holiday will brighten. :-)
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