Christmas Classics: Miracle on 34th Street

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In 1947 Miracle on 34th Street became an instant Christmas classic. It won Oscars for Best Supporting Actor (Edmund Gwenn), Best Screenplay, and Best Original Story. The film was directed by Oscar winner George Seaton who also wrote the screenplay. The film stars Maureen O’Hara, Edmund Gwenn, John Payne, and Natalie Wood. From its release the film was given favorable reviews from critics. In 2005 the National Film Registry added this film to its archives. Like It’s a Wonderful Life this is a film that’s got a clear message about the true spirit of the holiday season.

When a new Santa is hired to work at Macy’s in New York the company chooses Kris Kringle (Gwenn). By mistake he becomes the greatest marketing tool the company has ever seen. All the while he sticks by his story that he’s the real Santa. While working at Macy’s he meets Susan (Wood) and her mother Doris (O’Hara). Doris wants to raise her daughter free from the imaginations of childhood and has avoided the stories of Santa and other fairy tales. As Kris becomes close to the pair he starts to win them over. After a miscommunication he finds himself locked up for his commitment to his identity. Doris’s friend and attorney Fred Gailey (Payne) decides to represent him in court over his sanity and his identity. In the end it will take a Christmas miracle to make things right for Kris and the rest of the world.

This is an amazing movie with a great message. Maureen O’Hara plays the role of the strong and independent woman perfectly. The young Natalie Wood is great as the young skeptic. Edmund Gwenn feels like he really is the true Santa and makes the film work as he shows an unusual charm and magic. The rest of the cast is also incredible in this great holiday film.

This is one you need to see for yourself. For over 60 years the film has remained a staple of the holiday season. Now it holds a place in the history of American film as one of the most recognized and watched movies. I would encourage you to see this one with the whole family.

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