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Monday, December 14, 2015

The song "White Christmas" was first sung by Bing Crosby in the 1942 movie "Holiday Inn." Thanks to its significant play on military radio and its vivid message of Christmas at home, the entire country developed a massive emotional attachment to the song. White Christmas appeared again in the 1946 movie Blue Skies, where it was sung again by Bing Crosby. In 1954, the song finally got its own movie, and the movie is as much of a fun holiday celebration as the song.

Any fan of the movie "Christmas Vacation" is well aware of the fact that there is a movie out there that has Bing Crosby tap dancing with Danny Kaye. This is that movie, and it is a holiday classic that is not going away any time soon. Even though White Christmas was made nine years after World War II ended, it still draws on that same 1940s energy that made the song famous and, dare I say, immortal.

White Christmas is the story of two entertainers (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) as they embark on their career together after the completion of World War II. The music is lively, the jokes are 1940s corny, and the music is a lot of fun. The comedy in this movie is not going to appeal to the crowd that likes to listen to Howard Stern, but it is the kind of comedy that would make the little ones giggle.

White Christmas was one of the most popular movies of 1954, and that was because it was the perfect combination of just about everything the movie fans of that era loved. The songs, the stars (Crosby, Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Mary Wickes, etc,), and plenty of the pageantry that people loved in the 50s are all in place. It is very easy to see why people in that era loved this movie, but it is also easy to see why it is hard for this movie to get over with newer audiences.

Christmas movies such as Alistair Sim’s Scrooge or It’s A Wonderful Life are timeless because the themes they deal with translate into each successive generation. White Christmas is a 1954 musical celebration that is very much rooted in 1954. By today’s standards, White Christmas is pretty dated. But it can still be a lot of fun for people who love old holiday movies.

If you are an emotional holiday sap (like me), then White Christmas might bring out some content grins and a few sniffles. I love the look of those old movies, and that 1950s movie look serves this production very well. The dull lines and obvious soundstage sets I associate with 1950s films are in full force here. I am not sure what the budget was for this movie, but it does look slapped together in parts. When the movie opens, I feel like I am on a soundstage in Hollywood, and not in Europe during World War II.

The other issue I have with White Christmas is that it really drags right at the moment when the tension should be rising. There is no question about the emotional peak of the movie because you know it is coming, and you know how it will play out. But, for some reason, that does not take away at all from the ability to enjoy the songs and the full musical productions.

All in all, White Christmas is a movie that anyone can watch, but it is not for everyone. Some will like it, some won’t like, and there will probably even be people who hate it. But it retains its place as a holiday classic, if for no other reason than it acts as Hollywood’s official tribute to the one Christmas song that America has come to love so dear.

Rating: 3 ½ out of 5

+George N Root III is a drive-in movie fanatic and a guy who just loves Christmas. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or send him a message at

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