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White Christmas (1954) - #throwbackthursday

Directed by Michael Curtiz

Starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen

Christmas film review by Chris Olson

With more razzle-dazzle than any other festive film, White Christmas is a mainstay for many people’s top movies to watch during the holidays. Musical numbers, slapstick comedy and budding romance, Michael Curtiz’s film is like one of those chocolate selection packs you get at Christmas - with, sadly, now out of date brands.

Cinema has come a long way over the decades. Whilst the form carries with it many of the strides made by pioneering filmmakers, audiences have come to demand different output from their movies - and tap dancing is rarely one of them. Gloriously displayed in this film with all the leading talent, many of the musical scenes feel antiquated to the point of awkwardness. That being said, there is a lot to like about this movie.

The plot of White Christmas is typical of 1950s Hollywood, simple and dreamy; a couple of war veterans (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) become popular theatrical producers in the years after WWII. Having been hoodwinked into seeing a local show starring a couple of sisters (Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen), a blossoming relationship grows between the foursome, with a yuletide romance in the air.

Trials and tribulations inevitably befall the group, especially when they run into a man who used to serve as a General, who has now fallen on hard times. This commentary on the nature of post-war society is particularly deep for a film that on the surface appears to be all candy canes and tinsel.

With great showmanship and theatricality, Curtiz has wedged a film into the culture of Christmas, not to mention popularising the anthemic title song which has become synonymous with everything festive. It is not a Christmas film which has aged that well, and younger audiences will not be able to relate to the film’s structure, which relies on an old model, but for those who are looking for that easy festive watch, or something to have on in the background whilst they are wrapping presents, White Christmas is toe-tapping good fun and laden with enough nostalgia to knock your granny into a coma.

Come back tomorrow for Day 4 of the #ChristmasFilmCountdown.


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