Friday, December 2, 2016

25 Days of Christmas: MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947)

Welcome to Day 2 of our 25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS series where we will be taking a look at some holiday classics each day in the lead up to Christmas. Today, I'll be reviewing the 1947 Christmas classic…MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET, starring Natalie Wood, Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, and Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle. This film explores the age old question, "Does Santa really exist?" The answer is a resounding yes.

This film goes with Christmas like marshmallows with hot chocolate. Watching this movie around the holidays is a treasured tradition for many families. I can't remember a Christmas during my childhood where this film wasn't being watched somewhere in my grandmother's house. It's definitely a classic along the likes of A Christmas Story and It's a Wonderful Life, both of which will be reviewed during this series.

I personally love this film because of its child-like magic and its ability to make believers out of all of us. Susan Walker (played by a young Natalie Wood) is skeptical of the existence of Santa Claus because of the teachings of her mother (Maureen O'Hara). A young lawyer and their charming neighbor, Fred Gailey (John Payne), tries to teach her the true meaning of Christmas. What follows is a story of love, magic, and, as the title suggests, miracles.

Most of you reading this are familiar with this film's storyline and, if you are not I won't ruin it for you. But, I do want to talk about two of my favorite scenes in the film. The first scene is when Fred takes Susan to Macy's to meet Santa. Susan says she doesn't believe in fairy tales, but she begins to have a change of heart when she sees Kris Kringle talk to a young girl in her native language because she can't speak English. It was at that moment that Susan started believing in miracles. She was finally able to be a child. Childhood is a time of magic and wondrous delights. Too bad its so fleeting.

My other favorite was towards the end of the film, when Susan got what she wanted for Christmas! It's wonderful to see people happy during this time of year. She got the house she had asked Santa for and the family she always wanted. Not everyone is so fortunate.

Miracle On 34th Street is family-friendly and teaches us an important life lesson, believe in miracles. In my opinion this film is more about the spirit of Christmas itself than any one actual person.

Lisa's Score: 8/10

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