Two men, who met in the army, go on to form a popular song and dance team. They discover two sisters who are also performers and follow them to Vermont where they run into their former commanding officer who needs help running an inn.
Directed by – Michael Curtiz
Written by – Norman Krasna, Norman Panama, Melvin Frank
Starring – Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen, Dean Jagger, Mary Wickes, John Brascia, Anne Whitfield
Easily one of the more well-known of the classic Christmas movies, White Christmas is one that I hadn’t seen before. When I realized that I had already reviewed so many Christmas films last year, I knew that it was time to find some new ones. I’ve had a fascination with older films over the last few months so it wasn’t hard sitting down to enjoy this one but I was surprised at how much I really enjoyed it. It’s almost pointless to say how great the singing and dancing was when you have the kind of talent that’s in this film but the movie also has a very touching story as well.
We start in 1944 with Bob (Bing Crosby) and Phil (Danny Kaye) performing a Christmas number for their fellow soldiers. It’s also the day that their General, Thomas (Dean Jagger) is being replaced. They wish him well right before their camp starts being bombed. Phil pulls Bob to safety before a wall crushes him and their partnership is suddenly formed. The two form a very famous song and dance duo with Phil constantly reminding Bob of the injury to his arm he suffered when he saved him. When a former soldier asks them to check out his sisters, Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy (Vera-Ellen), act Bob instantly falls for one of the sisters. Phil and Bob get the girls out of trouble and wind up following them to Vermont where they find their former General running an inn. Seeing that the General is having trouble with finances and is less than happy Bob comes up with an idea that will save the inn and remind the General of all the people who love and respect him.
Man, that was a mouthful! I wasn’t expecting the film to have such an elaborate storyline. I figured there would be some great songs, you can’t go wrong with Bing Crosby, and lots of great dance numbers but that would be it. By the end of the movie the eyes were getting misty and I was really hoping the characters would achieve the goals they had set out. The duo of Crosby and Danny Kaye was great and the interactions between their characters was usually very humourous. Aside from the great song and dance numbers there’s also a love story as Phil and one of the sisters, Judy, try to get Bob and the other sister Betty together. This, of course, leads to Phil and Judy falling in love. Shiny happy endings all around but you were expecting that right?
Listening to Bing Crosby sing was a great joy but seeing Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen dance might have been even better. Vera-Ellen is an amazing dancer and she’s showcased in many of the dance routines but it’s the very first number with her and Kaye that I found to be the most impressive. I only wish I could dance half as well as they do! It’s the perfect blend of holiday joy, amazing songs and dancing and a great storyline. The final number has all the characters dressed in Santa suits, singing around a giant Christmas tree before the props slide out of sight so they can open large doors behind them to the falling snow. It’s a gorgeous moment and could probably melt even the Grinch’s heart. If you’re looking to brighten the holidays a little bit I’m not sure you could really do much better than White Christmas.
Under the marquee – Will