When it comes to Christmas movies Miracle on 34th Street 1947 must surely be at the top of everyone’s favorites list.
If ever a film captured the wonder, spirit and magic of Christmas it is this classic from director George Seaton.
Season succeeded in transferring the magic of the original Valentine Davis story to the big screen and into the hearts of millions of movie lovers around the world.
Originally billed as starring Maureen O'Hara and John Payne it was Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle who made the movie his own and took all the plaudits, as well as an Oscar for best supporting actor.
In fact the movie won three Oscars in all with George Seaton landing the best writing (screenplay) award and Valentine Davis scooping the best writing (original story) Oscar.
Miracle on 34th Street was also nominated for the Best Picture Oscar but was beaten by the powerful Gregory Peck movie Gentleman’s Agreement. Nevertheless the movie generated over $2.5 million at the box office and has been remade in both 1973 and 1994.
For me, what makes Miracle on 34th Street so special is the way that it works on so many levels.
Firstly, and most obviously, is its message that Christmas is a magical time that everyone should enjoy and that goodness and the human spirit really does exist.
Of course it is a wonderfully warm hearted film but it is easy to overlook just how mature, revolutionary and far sighted Miracle on 34th Street 1947 really was.
Doris Walker was a divorced, single-parent struggling to bring up a child which for the late 1940s was probably a difficult concept for many people to get their head around. But admiration for Doris is initially tempered by the practicality and hard-headedness she has installed into her daughter Susie (played by Natalie Wood).
Kris Kringle is the catalyst for allowing Susie to be a child and the way that Doris and Susie learn to embrace the fantasy of Christmas is the warm heartbeat of the movie.
But another way in which Miracle on 34th Street was so far sighted is the way it condemns the commercialism of Christmas. This obviously struck a cord with audiences at the time but goodness knows what they would make of a modern day corporate greed fuelled Christmas!
And of course corporate greed was another central tenet of the movie with the high street battle between Macy’s and Gimbles providing a sub-plot though this was developed more in the Miracle on 34th Street 1994 version.
When thinking about the best Christmas movies of all time this classic has to be the undisputed number one.
Televison ad for Miracle on 34th Street 1947
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Miracle on 34th Street - Great Old Movie Not rated yet This a Christmas classic made in 1947 by director George Seaton. The movie revolves around a man named Kris Kringle who claims to be the real Santa Claus. …