4 of 4 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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4 of 4 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
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 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
5.0 out of 5 stars White Christmas  [Blu-ray] [US Import],
This review is from: White Christmas [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) [Import] (Blu-ray)
White Christmas  [Blu-ray] [US Import] White Christmas is a treasure of IRVIN BERLIN classics, among them “Count Your Blessing Instead of Sheep,” “Sisters,” “Mandy” and the beloved holiday song “White Christmas.” In this incredible Blu-ray disc debut that you will find on this timeless musical, and Special Features that include backstage stories, and a look at the actors and more!
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’s now in financial trouble. And the result is the stuff dreams are made of!
FILM FACT: 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. The song "What Can You Do with a General?" was originally written for an un-produced project called Stars on My Shoulders.
Cast: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen, Dean Jagger, Mary Wickes, John Brascia, Anne Whitfield, Percy Helton, I. Stanford Jolley and Barrie Chase
Director: Michael Curtiz
Producer: Robert Emmett Dolan
Screenwriters: Norman Krasna, Norman Panama and Melvin Frank
Composer: Irving Berlin
Cinematography: Loyal Griggs
Screenwriters: Writers: Melvin Frank, Norman Krasna and Norman Panama
Resolution: 1080p [Techincolor]
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 [VistaVision]
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono (Original), French: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono and Portuguese: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese
Running Time: 120 minutes
Region: Region A/1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review – Most composers would consider themselves lucky – 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, 1942's '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 Berlin well 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 movie's title, and Bing would be back to star and sing once more. The result proved just as irresistible as 'Holiday Inn,' and in the intervening 56 years, 'White Christmas' has become an equally beloved and revered classic. In my house, we all feel like Ebenezer Scrooge if we don't give this warm and sprightly flick an annual viewing each December.
I love 'White Christmas' and never tire of watching it, but, let's be real; when matched up against such immortal musicals as 'Singin' in the Rain,' 'Meet Me in St. Louis,' 'An American in Paris,' and 'Gigi,' it pales in comparison. (director Michael Curtiz did a great job with 'Casablanca,' but he's no Vincente Minnelli), a trite and predictable script (paging Betty Comden and Adolph Green), and with the exception of the title tune and a few others, a bunch of second-rate songs (sorry, Irving, but your 'Holiday Inn' score is far better), 'White Christmas' remains very much a typical genre entry, but the enthusiasm and talent of its first-rate cast and intoxicating seasonal allure make it seem far better than it is.
Much like the Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland let's-put-on-a-show backyard musicals it so closely resembles, as well as Garland's 1950 vehicle 'Summer Stock,' 'White Christmas' tells a showbiz story sprinkled with romance and 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 Judy and Betty Haynes [Vera-Ellen and Rosemary Clooney], and the comely sisters of one of their old army pals. Also aspiring entertainers, Judy and Betty finagle their way into Phil and Bob'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' tries its best to dazzle and entertain, and for the most part, it succeeds. Even mediocre 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 by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. (Watch as Bing totally cracks up as a result of Danny's over-the-top prancing and swishing – one of the movie'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 song – 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 ba-ba-ba-Bing Crosby that helps sustain the film between songs. Kaye and Vera-Ellen supply the comic relief, and their wisecracking provides a nice contrast to the gooey 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 DVD, but this Blu-ray blows that relic 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 appear fuzzy and slightly unstable, but the Blu-ray crystallizes 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 – just look at the inky hue of 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 (also an option on the inferior DVD) and a brand new 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track are included on the 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' 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 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 movie with Rosie, who comes off more as an enthusiastic aunt or grandmother than a high-falutin' movie star.
Documentary: Backstage Stories from White Christmas [HD] [12:00] This easy-going documentary examines the film's casting (and how Danny Kaye got his part over contenders Fred Astaire and Donald O'Connor), the vitality and talent of the four leads, the impact of dancer George Chakiris (best known for his Oscar-winning turn as Bernardo in 'West Side Story') in his brief appearance with 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 Chakiris' own personal perspective.
Documentary: Rosemary's Old Kentucky Home [HD] [13:00] Rosemary Clooney's brother (and George's father) Nick and other relatives discuss the singer's bond to her girlhood hometown and how her home was turned into a museum after her death. A tour of the museum's exhibits comprises the bulk of this interesting documentary.
Documentary: Bing Crosby: Christmas Crooner [HD] [14:00] Bing's family and biographer talk about the musical influence and personality of the actor/singer, and the importance of the song 'White Christmas' 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 [HD] [13:00] Actor Robert Wagner, Kaye's daughter Dena, and composer Leslie Bricusse, among others, pay tribute to this "renaissance man" of entertainment, as well as his considerable charitable work. 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 [HD] [7:00] The story behind one of the most famous holiday songs ever written is chronicled in this slick documentary. Berlin's daughter provides first-hand accounts of her father's background, how he composed, and the impact of his work.
Documentary: White Christmas: From Page to Stage [HD] [4:00] The artistic team behind the stage adaptation talks about transforming the classic film musical into a Broadway show and the changes necessary to make it work.
Documentary: White Christmas: A Look Back with Rosemary Clooney [17:00] A holdover from the previous DVD release, this standard making-of documentary showcases Clooney's memories, which run the gamut from casting and her relationship with Vera-Ellen to the chemistry between Kaye and Crosby and an impromptu on-set visit by the king and queen of Greece.
Theatrical Trailers [HD] [5:00] The Original Theatrical Trailer and a re-release Trailer are included.
Finally, 'White Christmas' is one of Hollywood's most beloved holiday classics, and its arrival on Blu-ray is good news indeed. 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, this is why I was so keen to own this classic festive film, 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!,
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,
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,
"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!,
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!
5.0 out of 5 stars The Film That OWNS Christmas,
I am not going to waste one minute of anybody's time here doing a re-cap of the story line to this movie. If you grew up in the United States of America at any time over the last fifty years you know who Wallace & Davis are, you know who the Haynes Sisters are, and you know who General Waverly and his family are. You know where the Columbia Inn is, you know it has trouble paying its way financially because it is a winter resort that doesn't have any snow, and you know that Wallace & Davis are going to pull out all the stops to save the day. AND you know they WILL (...They ALWAYS do! Every Christmas!).
You also know that the centerpiece song of this film was first written for, and performed in, another Bing Crosby film called "Holiday Inn" (an Inn that HAD snow), released twelve years earlier and took off in popularity during World War Two to ultimately become the single most popular song ever written (though Paul McCartney's "Yesterday" has long tried to "edge" it). You know also that this same song...and others from "Holiday Inn",got recycled AGAIN into another movie titled "Blue Skies" (Crosby & Astaire once more) that fell IN BETWEEN "Holiday Inn" and "White Christmas". But you also know that the old saw about "Third Time's The Charm" came true here big time. THIS Irving Berlin Christmas extravaganza is the one that really hits the home run right out of the ballpark.
So, enough with what you know!!! Here's what yours truly knows. There are people out in this world who like to consider themselves "cool", and "hip", and "with it", and they like to snicker and smirk and revel in cynicism and sarcasm...believing these are the hallmarks of "sophistication"...and such people tend to regard films with strong sentiment like "White Christmas"as being "cornball" and "sugary syrupy" and "cloying".
Well guess what, people. THESE turkeys are the kinds of JERKS Wallace & Davis say the army makes "thousand dollar jobs" for.
They are emotional ignoramuses.The "Soulfully Challenged". Nobody needs their opinions. They can take their black clothes,
their tie-dyed hair, and their 847 body piercings, and TAKE A HIKE!If you POSSESS a heart and a soul, the end of this film is one of the most moving things you will ever see in your life. If you don't , then more's the pity for you. "White Christmas" is a gift in and of itself to each person who sees it, because not only does it make one's spirit soar to watch it, but it lays down an example for all of us. It says if you will unselfishly "go that extra mile" for someone else...not only at Christmas, but ANYTIME...then you can sometimes get a real-life spiritual payback that can send your heart right over the moon.
Watch this film. Love this film. And let it love you back.
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White Christmas 40th.Ann.Lt by Michael Curtiz (VHS Tape - 2004)
Used & New from: CDN$ 179.90