the film snob

A cyberspace journal about my experiences as an NYU film school grad student, reviews of current and classic films, film and TV news, and the rants and raves of an admitted (and unapologetic) film snob.

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Location: Washington D.C.

Esse Quam Videri -- To be, rather than to appear

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Miracle on 34th Street

I write film and TV reviews at Here are synopsis' and links to those reviews.

One of the most beloved Christmas classics comes in a new special edition DVD sure to delight fans both new and old and prove once and for all that "Christmas isn't just a day, it's a frame of mind."

When the actor tasked to play Santa in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is found to be drunk, a whiskered old man (Edmund Gwenn) standing nearby is pressed into service by no nonsense special events director, Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara). Surprisingly, the old man proves to be a sensation with the public and is hastily recruited to be the department store's official Santa.

It seems a natural fit. After all, the old man calls himself Kris Kringle and claims to be the real Santa Claus. Desperate to fill the position and assured by doctors that Kringle is harmless, Doris allows him to have the job. Still, she keeps an eye on him and is wary about his interaction with her daughter, Susan (Natalie Wood) whom she has raised to reject all aspects of fantasy and make-believe.

But there's something different, something special about this Santa. He seems determined to advance the true spirit of Christmas despite the rampant commercialism in the store all around him.

After a conflict erupts, Kringle finds himself at the Bellevue hospital for the mentally insane where he promptly fails a mental examination. Doris' friend, Fred Gailey (John Payne), agrees to represent him and secure his release. But for that to happen, Kringle must endure a formal hearing in which people's most basic beliefs are put to the test. For Kringle to win and get out would take a miracle.

To read the full review, click here.


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