#18. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Do you believe?

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Miracle on 34th Street is one of those classic Christmas movies that continues to steal your heart no matter what your age. With its simple, yet significant message of faith and love, it inspires audiences each year.

 

Maureen-OHara-in-Miracle-on-34th-Street

Payne, O’Hara, & Wood

In this Christmas classic, Maureen O’Hara and Natalie Wood star as a mother and daughter who both have a little too much common sense and not enough faith. Doris Walker (O’Hara), an executive with Macy’s department store enlists a man named Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) to serve as a last minute replacement for the drunken Santa and to lead the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. After a phenomenal “performance” as Santa Claus, he is hired to become the official Macy’s store Santa—a coveted job for any Santa impersonator. Although, Kringle’s authentic portrayal of Santa Claus quickly wins the hearts of many, he is determined to restore a sense of faith to a non believing Doris and Susan (Wood). Unfortunately, Kringle’s claims of really being Santa Claus cause complications that lead him to a mental ward. One of Kris’s most faithful believers—and O’Hara’s love interest throughout the film—is lawyer, Fred Gailey (John Payne). With a little help from Gailey, Kris needs to defend his sanity and prove his authenticity.

A few fun facts about the movie that I think are worth sharing:

  • Being that Natalie Wood was only 8 years old when filming Miracle on 34th Street, she truly believed that Edmund Gwenn was actually Santa Claus.
  • In order to film one of the most iconic scenes of the movie, Edmund Gwenn actually played the part of Santa Claus for the 1946 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
  • Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Hearns, Stern’s, Gimbels, and McCreery are all department stores mentioned throughout the film. However only Macy’s & Bloomingdales still remain in business today.
  • Each year, courts around the world reenact the trial of Kris Kringle for the children.
  • In a report from Hedda Hopper on May 3, 1947, Macy’s department store closed early so it’s 12,000 workers could see the film.
  • In 1985, Miracle on 34th Street became one of the first black and white films to be computer colorized.

“Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”

Being the beloved story that it is, Miracle on 34th Street has been retold
onscreen—and onstage—many times over the last 60 years. While the original 1947 film is critically acclaimed, the 1994 remake by John Hughes is a longtime favorite of mine. One of the things I love most about

Capture

Top: Edmund Gwenn & Natalie Wood in the 1947 film, Bottom: Richard Attenborough & Mara Wilson in the 1994 film.

this film is the importance of magic and believing in the impossible. No matter what age I am or how many times I have seen it, Miracle on 34th Street never ceases to warm my heart. The message of the film is “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to,” and that life’s intangibles are the things really worthwhile. Love and joy are worth more than material things…simple enough, yet so easily forgotten. Life as a 20-something is nothing short of unpredictable. When I graduated college, my life began to change as I became a ‘real-life adult’, even though I still felt so much like a kid. Most of us have always had a roadmap for life, telling us exactly what our next chapter entails. And unfortunately for most of us, that roadmap ends upon college graduation. In your mind the next step is to begin your career and find that dream job that you have been picturing in your head for years (even though you aren’t quite sure what that is anymore).  As my fellow 20-somethings know, finding that ‘perfect job’ to create that ‘perfect life’ is much easier said than done!  Although being in my 20s is exciting and invigorating on its own, there are a lot of times when I still feel lost. I have to constantly remind myself that’s OK!! It’s keeping hold of those dreams and having faith that they will happen that helps me navigate through these terrific and turbulent times.

 

My Rating: ★★★★★

 

Merry Christmas!!

X

Gaby

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