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Miracle on 34th Street (1947)


Comedy | Drama


George Seaton




Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, Natalie Wood, Porter Hall, William Frawley, Jerome Cowan, Philip Tonge, Alvin Greenman, Gene Lockhart, Herbert Heyes, Harry Antrim, James Seay, Thelma Ritter, Percy Helton


When a nice old man (Edmund Gwenn) who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer (John Payne) decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing.


I remember trying to watch the 1994 remake when I was a kid, but quit after 10 minutes because it bored me to death. But because old movies are usually better, only the other day I decided to watch "Miracle on 34th Street", and it wasn't half bad. It is the typical heartwarming Christmas family film from the 1940s, but it is absolutely charming. So charming it almost makes you believe in Santa Claus.

The story is very simple and basic, it does take a little bit to engage the viewer, and the ending is very predictable, but it still manages to be clever, especially during the legal battle part when it will have you wonder which way you would decide if you were the judge - I'd probably be the Scrooge of the situation. Eventually this story about Christmas spirit ends up being a little touching as well.

To support a fine story there are some interesting characters made interesting not by the actual character but by the actors that portrayed them. And I'm talking specifically about Maureen O'Hara's character, a heartbroken, divorced woman who has lost faith in everything - basically the typical Christmas flick character before it became a thing. The characters are also very likable, well, most of them, and the cast really does a great job - John Payne reminded me a bit of James Stewart, and I'm still trying to figure how whether it's a good or a bad thing.

Anyway, other than being a feel-good Christmas movie, "Miracle on 34th Street" also has a lot to say about several topics of varied kind, from how to raise a kid to how greedy people, businessmen in particular, are. It also gives an insight on how mental illness is seen by society.

Ultimately, this could be a good alternative if you ever get tired of "It's a Wonderful Life".

This post first appeared on A Film A Day, please read the originial post: here

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Miracle on 34th Street (1947)


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