December 20: White Christmas (1954)

White Christmas. Directed by Michael Curtiz. Paramount Pictures, 1954.

Pre-Screening Sips

  • As much as it embarrasses me to admit this, I’ve never seen White Christmas
  • I honestly do not have any specific expectations; I just know that many families watch this movie annually

Post-Screening Snippets

  • The WWII prologue is not only an interesting way to connect the protagonists, it’s also such a Classical Hollywood Cinema way to kick off the proceedings
  • I’m going to need someone to buy me one of the fans used during the “Sisters” number
  • One of my primary research areas is 21st Century musicals and I actually haven’t seen a great deal of the classics; Honestly, it’s a bit refreshing to get to watch the performers actually dance instead of watching dancing frenetically edited together
  • The choreography featured in “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing” is some of the most fabulous dancing I’ve seen in a film
  • I’m not sure if I should be offended or delighted by Danny Kaye flaming it up during the “Sisters” reprise, but I’m leaning delighted
  • I know that we’re just trying to be cute with impromptu songs, but please don’t wash your hair with snow, Rosemary Clooney
  • Let me tell you how my jaw dropped during the “Minstrel Number.” I know that a film from the fifties being racist shouldn’t be shocking (after all, today’s cinema is still working through this), but I guess White Christmas had been relatively innocuous until this point. The dancing is incredible, the lyrics are tough to digest.
  • I’m assuming it read differently at the time, but the age differences in this movie are insane: Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby are at least twenty years apart, Bing Crosby and his general (who refers to him as “kid,” mind you) are certainly the same age
  • “Choreography” is another incredible, campy musical number – twenty points for Kaye
  • For a Christmas movie that is considered essential Christmas viewing, there is very little actual Christmas that happens

The Final Hot Chocolate

            White Christmas really stands the test of time as a fabulous musical. The songs are fun and breezy, the dancing, especially from Vera-Ellen, is exquisite, and the costuming is divine. Just press mute during the “Minstrel Number” in the middle of the film.

GRADE: A-

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