Let's talk about Miracle on 34th Street. And if you think I'm talking about the 1994 remake with Matilda then turn off your computer and turn on the original immediately. This movie is about a little girl who is too sensible to believe in Santa Claus, but if she did, really wishes Santa would bring her a real house and real family for Christmas. It's about her mother, a cynical divorcee who has tried to prevent her daughter from disappointment by discouraging her from ever believing in anything magical. Its about major department stores competing for shoppers during the holiday retail madness. Its about everyone's concern that Christmas is becoming more about materialistic items and less about the spirit of giving. This movie was made in 1947!! Doesn't that make you feel like maybe we're all going to be ok after all?
The real heart of this movie are the scenes between a very young and very adorable Natalie Wood as Susan Walker (yes, that's actually her name!!) and Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle- the real Santa!
"For the past 50 years or so I've been getting more and more worried about Christmas. Seems we're all so busy trying to beat the other fellow in making things go faster and look shinier and cost less that Christmas and I are sort of getting lost in the shuffle."- Kris Kringle, Miracle on 34th Street
But there's also a love story between Maureen O'Hara as Susan's mother, Doris and John Payne as Fred- the handsome lawyer who is also their neighbor. John not only goes to court attempting to prove that Mr. Kringle is the real Santa (and the scene with the bags of mail is just so clever!) but also tries to bring some Christmas spirit into the Walker's lives. Of course everyone gets their wish at the end, and Doris and Fred share quite the passionate (albeit old fashioned) very dramatic smooch!
This is a movie for children and adults, for thinkers and for dreamers, and for anyone with Christmas wishes.
"Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to . . . it's kindness and joy and love and all the other intangibles."- Fred Gailey, Miracle on 34th Street