I’m Writing of a White Christmas
Written By: Noah Heise
Issue: Special Christmas Edition
For this special Christmas edition of the newsletter, I am reviewing old Christmas movies, ranging from 1942-1983. Now, before I start, I would like to preface this by saying this will be spoiler free, so if you have not seen them, no need to worry about spoilers. Let’s go through them, in my opinion, worst to best.
A Christmas Story 1983
A Christmas Story takes place in the 1940s. It’s about a young boy, Ralphie, who only wants a genuine Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas, but everyone keeps telling him that he’ll “shoot his eye out.” I will not say any more about the plot though, as I promised that I would keep this spoiler free. This movie is amazing, hilarious, stupid, and brilliant, all at the same time. Though there is an overlaying plot of the gun, the movie jumps between random events, such as the (for lack of a better term,) iconic, Leg Lamp. A Christmas Story and I have a love-hate relationship. I love this movie for its stupid comedic aspect, but that’s also why I hate it. It has no plot, it is just stupid. And It’s kind of difficult to explain.
I give this movie 6/10.
It’s A Wonderful Life 1946
This movie is a well known classic, that I am sure many of you have seen. This movie is for the most part serious and at many times sad, but has a wonderful message, and is overall a very well made movie. We see George, the main character, throughout his life go through hard times. Then, he gets married, and… Well, I can’t spoil it. The movie’s plot has parallels to A Christmas Carol but overall has a rather unique plot. In my opinion, the thing that really makes this movie is the ending. Overall, I enjoy the entire movie, even the sad parts.
I give this movie 7.82/10.
Holiday Inn 1942
Now here is a movie that many of you won’t have seen, however, if you have, I congratulate you. This musical wonder, which stars Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby, is a very fun movie, with a unique plot, and amazing song and dance. What makes this movie truly remarkable, at least for me, is not the plot, not the cinematography, (definitely not seeing as it was 1942,) but as I said, the incredible songs, dances, and the comedy. Though some of the acts they do are slightly strange, and though the plot is not terribly unique, I thoroughly enjoy the movie whenever I watch it. What is really unique about it is not the love interests, but the story about Holiday Inn, which Bing Crosby’s character (Jim) runs. For those who don’t know, the basic premise is that Jim opens Holiday Inn, an inn that is only open on holidays, and Ted, Fred Astaire’s character, needs a new dance partner. One time at the Inn when he was drunk, he danced with a marvelous dancer whom he wants as his new partner. The trouble is he can’t remember who she was. Now, I promised that I wouldn’t give away any spoilers, so I must stop there with the plot.
As I said, what really makes this movie is the song and dance. The plot and songs are written by Irving Berlin, who also wrote White Christmas. This movie is actually the first movie to have the song White Christmas in it. The song did so well, that Irving decided to make a whole movie around it. And Bing Crosby’s performance of White Christmas is still today the best selling single, with over 50 million copies sold. Other songs include, but are not limited to Happy Holidays, You’re Easy To Dance With, and Abraham. These are all good songs, but none of them are nearly iconic as White Christmas.
But now, since I have been mentioning it so much, I need to talk about the dance. Everyone knows who Fred Astaire is. He is arguably the best dancer of his time, and this movie is no exception when it comes to great dances by him. The best of them from this movie has to be Astaire’s dance with firecrackers. But I will just have to let you watch it for yourself.
I give this movie 8.0/10.
White Christmas 1954
Ah. White Christmas. This movie is not only my favorite Christmas movie but is one of my favorite movies of all time. I could write a 20-page essay about this movie. Songs, dancing, acting, plot: it is all truly incredible. This movie stars four actors. Rosemary Clooney, (the aunt of George Clooney who danced in this and went on to play the lead role in West Side Story,) Bing Crosby, Vera-Ellen, and Danny Kaye (who just happens to be my favorite actor of all time). I have so much to say about this movie, I don’t know where to begin. Why not start with a basic plot?
The movie opens on Christmas Eve, 1944, just before World War ll is about to end. The first scene is of some soldiers providing entertainment for the rest. These soldiers, as you may know, are Bing Crosby (Bob Wallace), and Danny Kaye (Phil Davis). Very long story short, Bob Wallace is already known as an excellent singer and dancer, and once out of the war, he and Phil Davis start performing together. They all but immediately become a huge hit, and we see snippets of their performances spanning about a few years. Abbreviating even more, they meet Judy and Betty Haynes (i. e. Vera-Ellen and Rosemary Clooney), who have their own show called The Haynes Sisters. They want some advice for their act, and through a series of hilarious events, Bob, Phil, Judy and Betty, all end up in Vermont. Once again, for the sake of spoilers, I must stop there.
The acting in this movie is superb. A fact which probably won’t come as a surprise though, seeing such big names listed among the cast. Now, since I am mentioning the acting, I must mention the comedy, which, though found here and there in the plot, and there are some funny jokes, it really boils down to the amazing talent of the actors. This movie is riddled with comedy, and the number of hilarious relationships and occurrences seen throughout will have any viewer laughing their socks off.
On to the songs. Irving Berlin wrote amazing songs for this movie. Included on the list is, of course, White Christmas, but there are also songs such as Mandy, Snow, The Best Things Happen While You Dance, Sisters, and many more. The singing talent is, of course, spectacular, with ¾ of the stars having great voices. I say ¾ because Vera-Ellen did not actually sing any of her parts. Rosemary Clooney sang most of Vera’s parts, and they over-laid the audio. But don’t let that fact lesser your opinion of the movie going into it. The songs are great, and I only learned the fact mentioned above recently and only after I had seen the movie many, many, many, times without noticing.
Though the movie has lots of dancing talent throughout, I think the real talent comes in with Vera-Ellen playing Judy. Some of her dance numbers will blow you away. The first big dance number is when Phil and Judy first meet, and they break into an epic dance to the song The Best Things Happen While You Dance. And for all those musical haters out there saying “oh but I hate musicals because they just break into random song and dance,” in this movie they don’t. That goes for Holiday Inn as well. Clearly, this was part of Berlin’s style, because practically all the songs and dances are done because of the plot. Not that they have some plot to them like some musicals, but that the plot causes them. They don’t just randomly start singing about chimneys, or schnitzel with noodles, or being better than the other person, or anything else. (Comment below if you get the references.)
I love this movie so much, and I can’t find one thing not to love about it. It’s a classic that will remain a classic for generations to come.
I give this movie 10/10.