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White Christmas
Reviewed by Edward Larsen Terkelsen

USA, NR, 120 m, 1954
Directed by Michael Curtiz. Stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, et al.

 

After serving in World War II, a couple of Army buddies, Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye), hit the road with a lively (though a tad vanilla) song-and-dance routine. While hoofing their way through Florida, they chance on a sister act, Betty and Judy Haynes (Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen, respectively), and follow them to a Vermont inn, which turns out to be owned by the boys’ former CO, Major General Thomas F. Waverly (Dean Jagger). Alas, Waverly’s resort is in danger of going belly up; Mother Nature has been acting Scrooge-like with her delivery of the white stuff, and holiday travelers are staying away. But Wallace and Davis have a plan to save the inn from a blue Christmas: they whip up a benefit show that would do Andy Hardy proud. Contrary to popular belief, White Christmas is not a remake of Holiday Inn (1942), though it does recycle the titular carol. Both pictures were scored by Irving Berlin, but White Christmas features the most winning ditties: “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” “Sisters” (which was thought up on the set) and “Snow.” (We’re spared, thank God, the requisite blackface number.) The cast is first-rate, particularly Danny Kaye in a role that was at first intended for Fred Astaire (Bing’s co-star in Holiday Inn). When Astaire passed on the project, the part was offered to Donald O’Connor, who bowed out at the eleventh hour. Michael Curtiz directed this scrumptious yuletide confection, though an uncredited Bob Fosse purportedly choreographed the dances. Trivia buffs, take note: White Christmas was the first picture to be lensed in VistaVision.

© Copyright 2007 by Edward Larsen Terkelsen. All rights reserved.

 

 

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