5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bing Croons....Rosemary Swoons....Watch It In June!
This review refers to the Widescreen Collection(Paramount)DVD edition of "White Christmas"...
This DVD should be held up as an example of what DVDs are all about.The transfer and restoration of this 50 year old film is superb. It is the reason we are willing to spend a little more to upgrade from VHS and are awed when we see the wonderful results. Filmed in...
Published on May 25 2004 by L. Shirley
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Christmas-y and Fifties, Really Nice, Poor DVD Print
Ok, I saw this flick when it was first released. Since that time I CAN'T consider Christmas complete unless I watch this movie at least 2 or 3 times. No, it's not the Greatest Movie Ever Made, but it's so darn enjoyable; director, cast, and crew just seem to do everything right. I prefer the VHS tape to the 2000 DVD release; the DVD has slightly greyed color with...
Published on Nov. 25 2003 by Great Movie Addict
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bing Croons....Rosemary Swoons....Watch It In June!,
This review refers to the Widescreen Collection(Paramount)DVD edition of "White Christmas"...
This DVD should be held up as an example of what DVDs are all about.The transfer and restoration of this 50 year old film is superb. It is the reason we are willing to spend a little more to upgrade from VHS and are awed when we see the wonderful results. Filmed in "VistaVision", the widescreen picture lets you take in every scene of this wonderful classic from edge to edge. The picture is clear, sharp and in glorious technicolor.The colors are beautiful and vibrant.
You have the choice of viewing it in DD5.1 surround or the restored Mono. For those looking for some special features, Rosemary Clooney helps out with a retrospective interview and also commentary. There are English subtitles for those needing them and may also be viewed in French(mono).
The film is a treasure in itself. Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye,Rosemary Clooney,and Vera-Ellen are the stars of this 1954 musical with songs by Irving Berlin that you'll want to sing along with and keep humming long after the film has ended. Directed by Michael Curtiz it's a feel good film that although takes place during the Christmas season, is one that you can pull out and watch anytime of the year.
Bing and Danny were Army buddies, now a successful song and dance team and are out to help their favorite old retired General(Dean Jagger),who is having trouble coping with retirement. The General is now running a country inn in Vermont, but the big problem is there is no snow to bring up the tourists. Bing and Danny to the rescue, as they turn the inn into a showcase of talent, and fall for the Haines sisters along the way. Can these wonderful voices also bring the snow out of the sky?...well..you know.
This film is filled with Berlin's wonderful tunes. When Bing takes Rosemary's little hand in his and croons "Count Your Blessings" to her..well it's movie heaven. Rosemary also treats us to several numbers, Vera-Ellen does some fabulous hoofing, and Danny clowns and keeps us smiling like only Danny can. And how much fun is it watching Bing and Danny do the "Sisters" number together?...alot! Then there's the goose bump evoking, wonderfully nostalgic scene of the four of them singing "White Christmas" together with the Winter Wonderland of Vermont as a backdrop.I would be remiss if I didn't mention the wonderful character actress Mary Wicks, she's a great busy-body who causes misunderstandings, and also keep an eye out for George Chakiris and Barrie Chase.
Thanks Paramount for bringing us this great old classic holiday film on this great DVD...enjoy...Laurie
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars White Christmas: Another Amazon.ca Treat,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: White Christmas (Anniversary Edition) (Bilingual) [Import] (DVD)
I do wish they would make more movies like this one. A family movie that everyone in the house can enjoy together. Only I wish when it says "in stock" they wouldn't put a delivery date 1 - 2 months later.
I live alone and have purchased many excellent movies from Amazon.ca. Being able to contact them via phone would be perfect!
Bing, as always is one who makes Christmas so wonderful. I wish I could purchase all the classic movies they have but this one at this time of year is a priority for me. I remember seeing it in black and white 50 years ago and have never forgotten the impact it made on me to keep watching it whenever the TV shows it. Unfortunately, they don't anymore. But through Amazon.ca I can watch it over and over again.
Thank you Amazon for carrying the best movies ever made. I'll get through my wish lists asap and thanks for having that available too.
Buy it and enjoy folks!
Mrs. Gwen Atkins
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Christmas-y and Fifties, Really Nice, Poor DVD Print,
Ok, I saw this flick when it was first released. Since that time I CAN'T consider Christmas complete unless I watch this movie at least 2 or 3 times. No, it's not the Greatest Movie Ever Made, but it's so darn enjoyable; director, cast, and crew just seem to do everything right. I prefer the VHS tape to the 2000 DVD release; the DVD has slightly greyed color with (apparently) a bad yellow layer in the master negs. My DVD players have OK color controls that correct this (even though yellow is the worst color to try to correct with most consumer-grade equipment), but the DVD image has two other problems -- most scenes show an irritating flicker and vignetting in corners, with too much contrast overall that makes for glossy noses, shiny foreheads, and other glazing effects on highlights. The DVD flicker (it showed up on 3 players and 4 tv sets) and vignetting are truly irritating, spoiling what is otherwise a very good 4-star movie and a good old-fashioned Christmas story. If you have an above-average VHS player, stick with the remastered tape. The DVD looks even worse on HDTV, and S-video or composite hookups don't help (Looks worse on S-video). I tried 2 copies of this DVD, both had the same problems. The defects are slight; many viewers won't notice, but those who do seldom fail to comment. The image doesn't stop this very pro cast from Paramount from doing a wonderful job with what is essentially 1950's fluff, but who cares? Berlin's music is wonderful ("The Best Things Happen When You're Dancing" has to be one of the most perfect Hollywood-musical songs ever written), even Dean Jagger makes his predictable lines ring true. Crosby and Kaye are quite good together, and Rosemary proves that the old way of just singing a song with sincerity beats hysterical wailing any day. The production numbers are above-average for Paramount, perhaps due to director Curtiz' expert touch (he also gave us 'Robin Hood' in 1938 and 'Casablanca', among many, many other great hits). Enjoy.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I'M DREAMING OF SOME BETTER PRODUCT FROM PARAMOUNT!,
I'd really like someone over at Paramount to email me and explain why all of their Vistavision "high motion picture fidelity" DVD transfers look as though they have been fed through a meat grinder. "White Christmas" is the annual holiday right-of-passage that follows the exploits of two G.I's , turned Broadway showman. Together, they bring their latest hit to a quaint inn in Vermont and save it from going out of business. The film stars Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, Vera Ellen and Rosemary Clooney and is riddled with the kind of Christmas magic that one doesn't seem to get from later film fare based around holiday themes. No! This is not the first time the world heard the title tune. That honor belongs to "Holiday Inn" a 1942 musical with Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby also from Paramount but available on DVD through Universal studios.
Paramount has done a down right injustice to this movie on DVD. Colors are not well balanced, shifting in range and consistancy from scene to scene. Just watch the 'Sisters' number to see how Clooney's and Ellen's dresses shimmer from sky blue to aqua-marine. Some colors, like the red santa uniforms used for the final production number, are orangy red and bleach out the rest of the scene in a mess of undistinguishable browns, beiges and really, really soft greens. Also, a disturbing amount of pixelization and edge enhancement really give the film a hard edged look. The soundtrack has been remixed to 5.1 but is strident, scratchy and poorly balanced. There's a featurette which basically amounts to Rosemary Clooney (the only surviving cast member at that time)spouting off about how great everybody was and what a joy it was to be in the film. Yeah, whatever! A theatrical trailer comes with it. Big whoop! What we need is a complete, frame by frame restoration to make this film come alive on DVD. Sadly we get more Paramount cost cutting with a retail price that, no kidding, doesn't reflect the quality of the transfer within.
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous Picture, Okay Sound,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: White Christmas (Worldwide) [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) (Blu-ray)
Well, surely everyone has seen the movie so there is no point in writing a critique of the film. You either like it or you don't. The question is whether it is worth buying the Blu-ray or not. If you enjoy the movie, there should be no doubt. The quality of the picture is astounding. The picture is sharp, and the colours vibrant, in a way you have never seen before. The reds in the finale, for example, just pop off the screen and the blue dresses of "Sisters" are dazzling. This is a disc I often show to people when I want to show off my Blu-ray player as they are always astounded at the picture quality. (Vistavision was a great visual format.) The only somewhat disappointing element is the sound. The studio only had mono tracks to work with, and have come up with a "faux" 5.1 mix, but it isn't spectacular. You might even prefer the mono. That is the only caveat. There are newer versions of this Blu-ray that came out in Fall 2014. I gather it is the same transfer, but the studio has skimped a little bit and reduced the bit rate at which it has been transferred to disc. I can't say it that will be really noticeable or not, but one can't help but wonder why. How much money did it really save?
5.0 out of 5 stars WHITE CHRISTMAS  [Diamond Anniversary Edition] [Blu-ray + DVD] [US Import],
This review is from: White Christmas (Diamond Anniversary) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
WHITE CHRISTMAS  [Diamond Anniversary Edition] [Blu-ray + DVD] [US Import] The Greatest Gift Of All! Loaded With Tons Of Special Features!
‘White Christmas’ is a treasure trove of Irving berlin’s most memorable songs, among them “Count our Blessings Instead of Sheep,” “Sisters,” “Mandy” and the beloved holiday song, “White Christmas.” This Diamond Anniversary Edition Combo Pack includes the Blu-ray and DVD versions of this timeless musical, plus new special features and as an amazing added Bonus, you get to own the exclusive 12 track song Christmas Music Compact Disc.
Two talented song-and-dance men BING CROSBY and DANNY KAYE team up after the war to become one of the hottest acts in show business. One winter they join forces with a sister act ROSEMARY CLOONEY and VERA-ELLAN and trek to Vermont for a white Christmas. Of course, there’s the requisite fun for the ladies, but the real adventure starts when Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye discover that the inn is run by their old army general, who is now in financial trouble. And the result is the stuff that dreams are made of!
FILM FACT: All songs were written by Irving Berlin. The centrepiece of the film is the title song, first used in ‘Holiday Inn,’ which won that film an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1942. In addition, ‘Count Your Blessings’ earned the picture its own Oscar nomination in the same category. The song "Snow" was originally written for ‘Call Me Madam’ with the title "Free," but was dropped in out-of-town try-outs. The melody and some of the words were kept, but the lyrics were changed to be more appropriate for a Christmas film.
Cast: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen, Dean Jagger, Mary Wickes, Johnny Grant, John Brascia, Anne Whitfield, Percy Helton, I. Stanford Jolley, Barrie Chase and George Chakiris (dancer)
Director: Michael Curtiz
Producer: Robert Emmett Dolan
Screenplay: Melvin Frank and Norman Krasna, Norman Panama
Composer: Irving Berlin
Dance and Musical Numbers: Robert Alton
Costume Design: Edith Head
Cinematography: Loyal Griggs
Video Resolution: 1080p [Techincolor]
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 [VistaVision]
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English: Restored Mono DTS-HD Master Audio, French: 1.0 Mono Audio, Spanish: 1.0 Mono Audio and Portuguese: 1.0 Mono Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese
Running Time: 120 minutes
Number of discs: 1 Blu-ray and 2 DVDs
Region: Region A/1
Studio: Paramount Picture
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Most composers would consider themselves lucky, well okay, blessed to have one film built around a song they wrote, but Irving Berlin's “White Christmas” became such a popular holiday standard it spawned two film musicals with yuletide themes. The first, 'Holiday Inn'  marked the introduction of Berlin's soon-to-be iconic tune by the quintessential crooner, Bing Crosby, who put such an indelible stamp on the song it would forever after be associated with him. Twelve years and millions of record sales later, Paramount went back to the Irving Berlin, and approached the prolific songwriter about mounting another Christmas musical. This time, 'White Christmas' wouldn't be just a part of the score, it would be the film’s title, and Bing Crosby would be back to star and sing once more. The result proved just as irresistible as 'Holiday Inn,' and in the intervening 60 years, 'White Christmas' has become an equally beloved and revered classic. In my home, I feel like Ebenezer Scrooge if we don't give this warm and sprightly film an annual viewing each December.
I love 'White Christmas' and never tire of watching it, which is well matched up against such as other immortal Hollywood musicals as 'Singin' in the Rain,' 'Meet Me in St. Louis,' 'An American in Paris,' and 'Gigi,' it pales in comparison, but still has a magical glow about it. Director Michael Curtiz did a great job with 'Casablanca,' but he's no Vincente Minnelli, a schmaltzy script that tries to emulate Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and with the exception of the title song and a few others. 'White Christmas' remains very happy go lucky typical genre entry, but the enthusiasm and talent of its first-rate cast and intoxicating seasonal alluring songs, makes it a must watch around the Christmas season.
Much like the Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland let's-put-on-a-show backyard musicals it so closely resembles, as well as Judy Garland's 1950 vehicle 'Summer Stock.' 'White Christmas' tells a showbiz story sprinkled with romance and a big helping of schmaltz. (Christmas is merely a backdrop and plays a very minor role in the proceedings.) After aspiring song-and-dance man Phil Davis [Danny Kaye] saves the life of headliner Bob Wallace [Bing Crosby] during a Nazi strike in World War II, the two men team up and form a highly successful nightclub act. Their tour brings them to Florida, where they encounter the two sisters Judy and Betty Haynes [Vera-Ellen and Rosemary Clooney], aspiring entertainers, and Judy and Betty slyly wangle their way into Bob Phil's good graces, and the quartet heads up to Vermont for the sisters' holiday gig at a country inn, which they soon learn is run by Phil and Bob's former army commander, General Waverly [Dean Jagger]. Lack of snow and balmy temperatures threaten to close the struggling hotel and bankrupt the general, but Phil and Bob hatch a scheme to revive business and restore their respected leader's decaying sense of self-esteem. Yet pulling off the plan without upsetting the general's pride and their own burgeoning romances with the Haynes sisters proves to be quite a challenge.
Light and airy, with plenty of comic situations and big-time production numbers, 'White Christmas' dazzles and entertains, and for the most part, it succeeds greatly. Even Irving Berlin tunes outshine some of his colleagues' finest work, and Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney give each their all. The charming “Sisters” is performed straight by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, and then given a hysterical drag twist with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. (Watch as Bing totally cracks up as a result of Danny's over-the-top prancing and swishing and definitely one of the film's high points.) Ballads such as “Count Your Blessings” and the torchy “Love, Look What You've Done to Me” are given solid readings by Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, and Danny Kaye clowns to perfection in the avant-garde “Choreography” and lilting “It Happens While You're Dancing.” (His non-musical shtick is first-rate, too.) Vera-Ellen, one of Hollywood's most accomplished dancers, taps and twirls her way through a host of demanding routines, while providing some acerbic line readings that perk up the mundane screenplay.
Rosemary Clooney is known primarily as a singer and remains one of the premier interpreters of American popular songs, but she makes a fine dramatic impression here. Though her character is a bit too goody-two-shoes, Rosemary Clooney remains believable throughout and creates a comfortable chemistry with a ba-ba-ba-Bing Crosby that helps sustain the film between songs. Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen supply the comic relief, and their wisecracking provides a nice contrast to the gooey eyed cooing and sullen bickering of their co-stars. The priceless Mary Wickes is also on hand as the busybody housekeeper, and her impeccable timing and dry comebacks add welcome zing to each scene in which she appears.
'White Christmas,' however, is all about Bing Crosby, and in one of his last romantic roles, the crooning Bing Crosby seems to be having a ball. Though clearly reaching the upper limits in the leading man age bracket, he relies on charm, sophistication, and his velvet-toned voice to see him through, and the result is a wholly satisfying performance, which begins and ends with his signature reading of Irvin Berlin's holiday classic. The final five minutes of this cheery, heart-warming musical will surely have you and yours dreaming of a white Christmas, too, and no doubt inspire repeat viewings in the yuletide seasons to come.
Blu-ray Video Quality – I always thought 'White Christmas' looked pretty darn good on the inferior NTSC DVD, but this Blu-ray blows that relic right out of the water, at last making this musical appear as vibrant and stunning as it surely did upon its initial release in 1954. The improvements are immediately noticeable, beginning with the VistaVision logo and opening credits. Clarity, contrast, and especially colour saturation are supreme. Delectably bold reds and deep, lush greens truly pop off the screen, yet never look garish. A few white marks dot the print, but the number of imperfections sullying the image has been drastically reduced from what afflicted the previous inferior DVD. The standard definition version looks dull, flat, and washed out compared to this glistening 1080p image transfer, which truly does the Technicolor photography proud. Varying shades of blue and yellow and the entire pastel palette are all perfectly timed and balanced so the picture always looks smooth and cohesive. Even the drab army scenes early in the film exude a faint sparkle they've hitherto lacked, and accents, like Bing Crosby's yellow socks or Rosemary Clooney's painted nails and lips, nab our attention without overwhelming the entire image.
Fine details are also much easier to discern. On the inferior DVD, background items often appeared fuzzy and slightly unstable, but the Blu-ray crystallises even the smallest objects so we feel much more immersed in the atmosphere. Textures, such as suede, wool, leather, and satin, are very strong, and close-ups, especially those of Clooney, nicely reconcile sharpness with the cinematography's inherent warmth. Black levels are pitch-perfect throughout and just look at the inky hue of Rosemary Clooney's gown during “Love, Look What You've Done to Me” and the jackets of Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby during the minstrel number and the bright whites resist blooming.
The natural grain structure remains intact, providing the desired feel of celluloid. Grain intensifies a bit in the background, and at times, various elements can look a little soft, but such minor annoyances rarely drag down the film's enjoyment factor. Noise reduction, edge enhancement, and banding are all blissfully absent, making this transfer a pleasure to watch from start to finish. Once again, this high-definition effort from Paramount is a huge step up from the previous inferior old fashioned DVD and well worth the extra investment.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – Both the Restored Mono DTS-HD Master Audio and a brand new sparkling 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track are included on the Blu-ray disc. The track trumps the inferior DVD's 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, but doesn't provide any real wrap-around sensation. The sound is still largely front-based, and minimal stereo separation never widens the field enough to make an impression. Dynamic range is solid, with both highs and lows enjoying fine presence and clarity. Bass tones shine whenever Bing Crosby sings; when his dulcet baritone slides into the lower register, we're treated to full, resonant bass shadings that add immeasurable nuance and weight to his performances. Just the familiar phrase "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas" proves why Bing Crosby wrote the book on crooning, and the audio here serves his marvellous instrument well. Rosemary Clooney's voice also sounds warm and velvety, and good fidelity distinguishes the instrumentals. Dialogue is always clear and comprehendible, and sonic accents like Vera-Ellen's taps and the slamming of doors are crisp and distinct.
Unfortunately, some surface noise remains audible during quieter scenes, and during Rosemary Clooney's “Love, Look What You've Done to Me” some static-laced pops disrupt the torchy song. Such interference continues to rear its ugly head during subsequent musical numbers, marring enjoyment somewhat. Still, this is a good quality track that honours the Irving Berlin tunes that help lend 'White Christmas' to its classic status.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Commentary by Rosemary Clooney: This commentary by the late, great Rosemary Clooney may not rank high on anyone's list of stellar efforts, but it's wonderful to hear the recollections of this accomplished singer, which are all presented in a delightfully honest, matter-of-fact manner. The large gaps in the beginning are off-putting, to say the least, as Rosemary Clooney merely chuckles at the action on screen, but as the film progresses, she opens up a bit more, praising Irving Berlin, discussing a typical shooting day, and exulting Bing Crosby's style and impeccable preparedness. There's not a whole lot of substance here, and the gaps do continue throughout, but fans of the film will still enjoy watching the film with Rosemary Clooney, who comes off more as an enthusiastic aunt or grandmother than a high-falutin' film star.
NEW! ‘White Christmas’ Sing-Along Lyrics: The only Blu-ray exclusive is the 'White Christmas' Sing-Along, which can be accessed two ways. Viewers can either choose to have the song lyrics pop up automatically for all 13 tunes as they watch the entire movie, or they can select each number individually from a menu. Unfortunately, the highlighted lyrics are not in sync with the actors' deliveries, but this is still a fun feature for the musical classic film 'White Christmas.’
NEW! Vintage Television Clips: Five Classic Holiday Moments [20:00]
1. ‘White Christmas’ with Bing Crosby on December 1, 1976 [480i] [4:3].
2. ‘White Christmas’ with Bing Crosby and featuring Michael Bublé on December 10, 2010 [1080p and 4:3].
3. ‘Silent Night’ with Bing Crosby on December 12, 1988 [480i] [4:3].
4. ‘Jingle Bells’ with Nat King Cole and Danny Kaye on December 25, 1963 [480i] [4:3].
5. Danny Kaye reads from Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” on December 22, 1965 [480i] [4:3].
NEW! Vintage Short Film: Assignment Children with Introduction from Michael Bublé [1080p and 480i] [16:9 and 4:3] [18:35] Special 1945 UNICEF Documentary, featuring their first Goodwill Ambassador Danny Kaye.
Documentary: Backstage Stories from White Christmas  [1080p] [16:9] [11:56] This easy-going documentary, features F.X. Feeney [Film Critic]; Dr. Drew Casper [USC Professor]; Larry Billman [Dance on Film Historian]; Garry Giddins [Author of “Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams”] and George Chakiris [Dancer] who examines the film's casting (and how Danny Kaye got his part over contenders Fred Astaire and Donald O'Connor), especially the vitality and talent of the four leads, and the impact of dancer George Chakiris (best known for his Oscar-winning performance as Bernardo in 'West Side Story') in his brief appearance with Rosemary Clooney, the VistaVision process, and the film's universal and lasting appeal. A number of film historians weigh in on these topics, and we're also treated to George Chakiris' own personal perspective, but sadly time has not been good to George Chakiris, as I was shocked by how he has aged.
Documentary: Bing Crosby: Christmas Crooner  [1080p] [16:9] [14:17] With this interesting insight into Bing Crosby, we get to see and hear Garry Giddins [Author of “Bing Crosby: Pocketful of Dreams”]; Kathryn Crosby; Henry Crosby; Ruth Prigozy [Professor at Hofstra University] and Stephanie Plouman [Crosby Alumni House Curator at Gonzaga University] talk about the magical musical influences and personality of Bing Crosby the actor/singer, and the importance of the song 'White Christmas' was to him. We also get a few glimpses of Crosby's boyhood home in Spokane, Washington and archive at Gonzaga University.
Documentary: Danny Kaye: Joy to the World  [1080p] [16:9 and 4:3] [13:12] Here we also get to see and hear Dena Kaye; Robert Wagnor [Actor]; Leslie Bricusse [Composer, Lyricist and Writer]; Robert Spiotto [Actor, Producer and Director of Hofstra University]; Larry Billman [Dance on Film Historian]; David Koch [UNICEF Special Projects Producer] and F.X. Feeney [Film Critic] pays tribute to Danny Kaye, who has been crowned "renaissance man" of entertainment, plus talk about his tireless charitable work with UNICEF. Danny Kaye's wide-ranging talent and commitment to UNICEF is explored through rare film clips in both black-and-white and colour.
Documentary: Irving Berlin's ‘White Christmas’  [1080p] [16:9] [7:25] This very nice documentary, features Debby Boone [Singer/Actress and Rosemary Clooney’s Daughter-in-Law]; Bruce Pomahac [Director of Music at The Roger and Hammerstein Organization]; Ruth Prigozy [Professor at Hofstra University]; Dr. Drew Casper [USC Professor]; Garry Giddins [Author of “Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams”]; Linda Emmet [Irving Berlin’s Daughter]; Theodore S. Chaplin [President of The Roger and Hammerstein Organization] and Kevin McCollum [Producer of White Christmas: The Stage Musical] and talk extensively about the multi-talented Composer/Lyricist Irving berlin and also the story behind one of the most famous holiday songs ever written and is chronicled in this slick documentary. Irving Berlin's daughter provides first-hand accounts of her father's background, how he composed, and the impact of his work.
Documentary: Rosemary's Old Kentucky Home  [480i] [4:3] [13:25] With this unique featured documentary, we get to tour round Rosemary Clooney’s home in Augusta, Kentucky, where we get to hear from Nick Clooney [Rosemary Clooney's brother]; Heather French Henry [Museum Owner]; Debby Boone [Rosemary Clooney’s Daughter-in-Law]; Nina Clooney [Rosemary Clooney’s Sister]; Mica Darley[ Rosemary Clooney’s Niece]; Steve French Henry [Museum Owner]; Randall Thropp [Paramount Archivist] talk about all aspects of Rosemary Clooney’s life and the other relatives discuss the singer's bond to her girlhood hometown and how her home was turned into a museum after her death. We also get a tour of the museum's exhibits that comprises a wealth of memorabilia from the film ‘White Christmas’ that has been loaned out from Paramount Picture, which is the bulk of this very interesting documentary.
Documentary: White Christmas: From Page to Stage  [1080p] [16:9] [4:23] With this really interesting feature, we get to hear from Paul Blake [Co-Author of White Christmas: The Stage Musical]; Kevin McCollum [Producer of White Christmas: The Stage Musical]; Theodore S. Chaplin [President of The Roger and Hammerstein Organization]; Walter Bobbie [Director of White Christmas: The Stage Musical] and Bruce Pomahac [Director of Music at The Roger and Hammerstein Organization] who talk extensively about how they brought all of their artistic team together, to bring the classic film to fruition. We also get to hear about the stage adaptation and transforming the classic film musical into a Broadway successful show and the changes necessary to make it work. They also inform us that more songs were added to expand this hit stage musical success. It is a shame that White Christmas: The Stage Musical was never exported to the United Kingdom.
Documentary: White Christmas: A Look Back with Rosemary Clooney [17:00] A holdover from the previous DVD release, this standard making-of documentary showcases Rosemary Clooney's memories, which run the gamut from casting and her relationship with Vera-Ellen to the chemistry between Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby and talks about the impromptu on-set visit by the King and Queen of Greece [which you see a short film clip], but Bing Crosby was absent, as he decided that playing golf was more important.
NEW! Photo Galleries: ‘White Christmas’ Black-and-White Photo Galleries: This section includes Rehearsals [11 images]; Behind-the-Scene [15 images]; Filming [19 images] and Publicity [9 images].
Theatrical Trailers: Original Theatrical Trailer [480i] [VistaVision] [2:26] and Theatrical Re-release Trailer [1080p] [VistaVision] [2:11].
NEW! BONUS: “The Sounds of Christmas” [12 Track Music Compact Disc] Tracks included: Winter Wonderland [Rosemary Clooney]; Deck the Halls/Away in a Manger/O, Little Town of Bethlehem/The First Noel [Bing Crosby]; Waltz Around the Christmas Tree [Danny Kaye]; A Marshmallow World [Bing Crosby and Ella Fitzgerald]; The Christmas Song [Rosemary Clooney]; Just What I Wanted For Christmas [Bing Crosby]; Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town [Rosemary Clooney]; Jingle bells [Danny Kaye and Peggy Lee]; Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer [Bing Crosby and Judy garland]; Home For The Holidays [Rosemary Clooney]; Some Children See Him [Danny Kaye] and The Night before Christmas [Bing Crosby].
Finally, 'White Christmas' is one of Hollywood's most beloved holiday classics, and its arrival on this re-mastered Blu-ray is such good news indeed, especially as it a far superior to the previous Blu-ray release . Though the story may be trite, the talent and enthusiasm of the accomplished cast keeps this musical fresh and lively throughout repeated viewings. With a lush video transfer, solid audio (despite a few glitches) and a healthy spate of new extra supplements, so making this one disc that will brighten even Ebenezer Scrooge's day. It's also a huge step up from the previous inferior DVD release, and is well worth owning on Blu-ray. Because of all this, that is why I was so keen to own this classic festive film, especially as it has now been re-mastered on this Diamond Anniversary Edition, as it cannot be beaten and is also a timeless classic, as you get a warm glow viewing this amazing Blu-ray disc and that is why it is a great honour to have this included in my Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
4.0 out of 5 stars Snow Biz!,
This review is from: White Christmas 54 (VHS Tape)
Many people find WHITE CHRISTMAS to be a nostalgic trudge down memory lane. But in truth, it's hard to think of a more prescient film, anticipating, as it did, problems that would not even have a name for another 25 or 30 years. Yes, I'm talking about that infamous lack of snow in Vermont in 1954. Decades before "global warming" became a buzz phrase, director Michael Curtiz, writers Krasa, Frank and Panama, along stars Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and Danny Kaye were bravely tackling this hot issue with style, wit and aplomb.
OK, so I'm kidding, but not so much about the style and wit. It's there in abundance (one can argue about the aplomb, though). It's got it all, Crosby and Clooney singing, Kaye and Vera-Ellen dancing. Great stuff. Yes, the corn grows high in Vermont, or at least until that first snow hits. Some complain about the rather calculated post-war military sentiment, and it is true that "What Can You Do For A General" is not exactly the film's high point. Dean Jagger is solid though as the dignified general, and he and the perennial private Kaye play well off each other.
While both WHITE CHRISTMAS and the much earlier HOLIDAY INN were classic Bing Crosby vehicles, the former cannot really be said to be a re-make (in any sense) of the latter. It was probably inevitable that Crosby would have to do the title song in some Technicolor vehicle or other, but an attempted remake of the Astaire/Crosby classic would probably not have been a good idea . Both films the show-biz revue in the New England inn theme, the buddy theme and the inevitable romantic complications with show biz gals who really just want to settle down. But the Kaye/Crosby camaraderie angle plays sweeter than the Astaire/Crosby rivalry. Was that a 50s thing? Hard to say, although many point to that era as being more conservative than preceding decades had been. It is at least interesting that the hint of show biz cynicism in HOLIDAY had been replaced by show biz warmth in the later film. (Significantly,Rosie's mistrust of Bing's motives in helping the general are totally unfounded. He's not a huckster, but is, true to form, just a decent guy who happens to be in show biz.)
WHITE CHRISTMAS is also a little more seasonally specific than HOLIDAY INN. Crosby fans can justify dragging out the latter almost any old time of year, since one or the other of those holidays the inn was open for must be coming up. WHITE CHRISTMAS will likely remain an annual seasonal favorite for most: although who's to say that a little WHITE CHRISTMAS in July would do a body any harm for that matter.
4.0 out of 5 stars Like a Member of Our Family,
This review is from: White Christmas 54 (VHS Tape)
After watching this movie at least thirty times over some forty years (nearly every Christmas), it feels like I'm reviewing a member of the family. "How do you rate your Aunt Vicky? Compare and contrast with other aunts and cousins."
Since numerous reviewers have already summarized the plot nicely, I'll move right on. This is a loose reworking of Holiday Inn, which was actually a better movie. The musical and dance numbers were better in Holiday Inn, and the story was even a bit more interesting. But White Christmas is in bright, clear color, and they apparently had a bigger budget for sets, so it looks better than Holiday Inn.
I've always enjoyed the first half of the movie better. The story is simpler, the characters are sympathetic, and there is a more relaxed feel to it. The second half gets fairly maudlin before coming to an abrubt and happy conclusion. Once they take care of that troublesome general (What DO You Do With a General?), they can get back to the main plot of pairing up. After all, this is really a romance story, decked out in sleighbells and mistletoe.
So even though this movie is getting dated and creaky with age, we still have it to our house for Chritmas every year, along with Aunt Vicky.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Christmas Classic For All To Enjoy,
This review is from: White Christmas 54 (VHS Tape)
"White Christmas", seems to be one of those Yuletide offerings that in my belief gets better as the years go by. I find new things to appreciate and cherish in this 1954 Paramount production with each screening and Christmas would never be the same without a viewing of this sentimental favourite that has enchanted audiences for close on 50 years each Christmas season. Rosemary Clooney's passing a couple of years ago indeed was a great loss and it's hard to believe that all four leads so alive and energic in this film are now sadly no longer with us. Thanks to the immortality of film, legends Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Vera Ellen and of course Danny Kaye will hopefully live on forever bringing Christmas joy to all our homes at this special time of the year.
Being one of Paramount's biggest productions for 1954 I dont think anyone at the time fully realised the lasting impact this film would have on audience's affections. Boasting an original score by none other than the legendary Irving Berlin and having as it's signature tune the classic "White Christmas" sung by Bing Crosby as no other performer can, the film was a winner from the start. Surprisingly the actual Christmas celebration features only partly in this terrific story as the film opens in the dark days of World War Two where on a depressing Christmas Eve on the battle front we find entertainers Captain Bob Wallace and side kick Private Phil Davis entertaining the troops. After the wars end the two men go into showbusiness and become great celebrities as the Wallace and Davis performing group. On a break from work in New York just prior to another Christmas period they travel to Florida where they come into contact with a sister act titled "The Haynes Sisters", made up of singer Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and dancer Judy(Vera Ellen). Helping the girls out of a tight jam financially at the nightclub where in one hilarious scene the boys dress up as the sisters to perform the amusing "Sisters", number to allow the girls time to get away from creditors they then find themselves travelling with the girls to a resort in Vermont. Once there they discover that not only is it now run by the boy's former commander General Waverly (veteran Dean Jagger) but that the place is in financial straits as the Christmas season fast approaches and there is no snow in sight thus driving away customers wanting to see a typical Vermont White Christmas. Ever loyal to their beloved General, Bob and Phil decide with the help of Betty and Judy to put on a real showbiz extravaganza to get patrons back to the resort. Using his New York connections Bob manages to transfer a whole Broadway show to the resort but in the process finds his growing love for Betty hitting hard times as she misunderstands his motives for putting on the show which sees her flee to a nightclub engagement in New York from which Bob has to lure her back for the sake of the Vermont show. All ends happily for the General as on Christmas Eve the snow begins to fall and the show plays to a capacity audience. Things are also irone dout between Bob and Betty who with alot of help from Phil and Judy are reconciled during the final lavish production number of "White Christmas", complete with stunning Christmas Tree and a real Snow Backdrop.
The story may be sentimental and quite obvious but would anyone have it any other way? It is the ultimate in emotionally charged Christmas stories. Directed by veteran Michael Curtiz who was responsible for films as diverse as "Captain Blood", "Casablanca", and "Mildred Pierce", here he once again proves himself adept at handling any film genre. Bing Crosby was never better than as Captian Wallace and "White Christmas" was the tune forever after associated with him. Danny Kaye delivers a wonderful performance as Bob's sidekick and his comedy and especially his dancing skills are given wonderful coverage through the story. Rosemary Clooney who apart from this film strangely never became a top flight Movie Actress is wonderful as the senior sister and her singing is in a league of it's own in particular in the sultry number she sings at the Carousel Club where she has the benefit of performing with the talented Oscar winning dancer George Chakiris, one of Hollwood's most exciting young dancers at that time who later won fame in "West Side Story". Vera Ellen while mainly remembered as a dancer more than holds her own in the acting department and her work with Danny Kaye is excellent as the younger sister conspiring to get Bob and Betty together with Phil's help. The supporting cast of "White Christmas", is also rich with the presence of Dean Jagger as the boy's wartime superior and veteran comic actress Mary Wickes as housekeeper Emma lending her always amusing and comical support.
"White Christmas", is what good old fashioned musicals full of likeable characters, beautiful colour, great music with dashes of romance and comedy thrown in, are all about. It would take a hardened cynic not to be moved by Bing Crosby's rendition of the famed title tune and I still have my breath taken away by the stunning finale when the stage set complete with Christmas Tree is wheeled away to reveal the falling snow outside. Lush colour and beautiful costumes in particular during the finale by famed designer Edith Head complete a gorgeous Christmas Bonbon for the whole family to enjoy. "White Christmas" IS Christmas and what it should always represent and if you haven't treated yourself to this unforgettable classic in the past, do yourself a favour this festive season and sit back and enjoy this enduring Christmas treat, you'll find yourself coming back for repeat viewings of it every year.
5.0 out of 5 stars THE GREATEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT OF ALLTIME!,
This review is from: White Christmas 54 (VHS Tape)
There are no other words to describe WHITE CHRISTMAS, but BRILLIANT, BOLD, FUNNY AND HEARTWARMING! It is by far THE GREATEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT OF ALLTIME!!!! Like the title implies, SNOW! SNOW! SNOW! SNOW! on Christmas Day! I love to see SNOW on Christmas! The ending of the movie is not really surprizing, but a true delight! When General Waverly (DEAN JAGGER) is told by one his officers that it's snowing, he goes out the front door to see the creation of a winter wonderland in Pine Tree, Vermont! When I see this I start to cry! Then as the end of the movie comes, Bob Wallace (BING CROSBY) has the backdoor opened to reveal the winter spectacle to the crowd of soldiers and their families, who have gathered to give their formal general of WWII a most heartwarming memorable Christmas reunion ever! I cry all the harder! The songs of Irving Berlin are priceless. Next to WHITE CHRISTMAS, I throughly enjoy two other songs; SISTERS, SISTERS and COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS! But the true magic of WHITE CHRISTMAS, isn't just the music or the SNOW, but something that lies deep inside of all of us! When Wallace and Phil Davis (DANNY KAYE) tag along with the Hayne Sisters, Betty (ROSEMARY CLOONEY) and Judy (VERA MILES) and travel by train to an inn in Pine Tree, Vermont, they chance encounter the boys former general the landlord of the inn! With good intentions Wallace invites the whole crew from New York to come up and rehearse in Vermont, at quite an expensive price tag! All goes well until nosy housekeeper Emma (MARY WILKES), overhears part of a phone conversation between Wallace and producer Ed Harris, and spills the beans to Betty without getting the FACTS! (SOMEBODY OUGHT TO SHOOT EMMA! I WOULD NOT WANT ANY SNOOPER LISTENING ON MY VERY PERSONAL AND PRIVATE PHONE CONVERSATIONS! THAT'S TRESPASSING!!!!) Betty becomes infuriated with Bob, thinking he's pulling an ANGLE, heads for a new job at a N.Y. nightclub. To make matters worse Davis and Judy fake an engagement, thinking Betty wouldn't have to take care of Judy any more! (BOY! PEOPLE REALLY JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS WITHOUT GETTING ALL THE FACTS FIRST!!!! STUPID EMMA!!!!) But only when she sees Bob making his pitch on TV and learning the FACTS that this is a special Christmas present, not a publicity stunt, she regrets her decision and returns to Vermont to help out with the show. Danny Kayes performance is a gem! Who else could play the simpleton grateful soldier who uses that old "I SAVED YOUR LIFE-BUT YOU OWE ME A FAVOR ANYTIME (remember my broken arm) GIMMICK!!!!" This is ROSEMARY CLOONEY'S, DANNY KAYES, and DEAN JAGGER'S greatest film ever! To see General Waverly dress in unform again makes your heart warm inside! Then the surprize revealed to him in the dinner theater brings tears to your eyes! And then the SNOW! WOW! WHITE CHRISTMAS is all this and much more! The music, the performances, all memorable! As for the SNOW, I live in Connecticut, in New England! And Vermont is here with us too! To me WHITE CHRISTMAS is New England at Christmastime! A time for joy, love, celebration and great faith! WHITE CHRISTMAS will always be a treasure to cherish every year! This is true PEACE ON EARTH!
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White Christmas 54 by Michael Curtiz (VHS Tape - 2001)