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Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

“White Christmas” – A Timeless Christmas Classic

White+Christmas
Courtesy of: BBC
“White Christmas”

For every good Christmas movie, there are requirements.  Romance, comedy, and that feel-good sensation when audiences walk away after the movie ends are necessities.  There is only one thing that not every movie can achieve: timelessness.  Irving Berlin’s White Christmas achieves this, without fail.  For nearly 70 years, White Christmas has been a classic Christmas movie in many homes throughout the Christmas season.

When two friends from the Army, Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye), return to the States after World War II, they plan on making a name for themselves in show business as a duo.  10 years later, they are national sensations.  The duo encounter the Haynes Sisters, a sister act starring Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy (Vera-Ellen) Haynes.  Soon, the group of four travel up to Vermont where they will stay at the Columbia Inn for Christmas.  Little do they know, Thomas Waverly (Dean Jagger), the general who commanded Wallace and Davis in the war, owns the inn and is facing financial trouble.  Wallace and Davis put their minds together to try to save General Waverly’s inn and make this Christmas one to remember.  With an amazing story by Michael Curtiz, music by the legendary Irving Berlin, dancing by Bob Fosse, romance, and a bit of snow, we have ourselves dreaming of a White Christmas.

The Christmas classic was released on October 14, 1954.  Immediately, it made history.  It was the first film to be filmed in Vista Vision, a 35mm film with a higher resolution, made specifically for widescreen.  The movie’s premiere was at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.  Funnily enough, Vera-Ellen was a Rockette less than two decades prior at Radio City.

Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen (Courtesy of: YouTube)

Fred Astaire was meant to play the role of Phil Davis, but since he had retired, the casting directors looked to Donald O’Connor (from Singin’ in the Rain), but changed their minds because he got sick.  Their only option was Danny Kaye, making him the perfect actor to play the role of the comical Phil Davis.  Nonetheless, the chemistry between the four actors is incredible.  Many people are shocked by the age difference between the cast members (for example, Crosby was 53 and Clooney was 26), but then again, age is just a number.  Rosemary Clooney conducted an interview in 2000 titled White Christmas: A Look Back with Rosemary Clooney.  By that time, she was the only surviving main cast member.  The entire cast got along well, but Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen couldn’t be more different.  Clooney called Vera “disciplined, which [Clooney] was not.”  A famous difference between the two actresses, however, was “that [Vera] couldn’t sing.  So, her voice was dubbed.  If they could’ve dubbed my dancing, now, we would’ve had a perfect picture,” said Clooney in the interview.

White Christmas is my favorite movie of all time.  It is impossible to choose a favorite number.  I’ve been watching it for as long as I can remember.  To this day, I am still fascinated by Vera’s dancing and the swaying of her dress when she dances (pictured in the pink dress.  Phenomenal job, Edith Head).  The dancing in “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing” and the “Abraham” number continue to captivate me.  I’m still upset when Betty leaves for New York.  I’m overjoyed when Bob sees Betty onstage after she left (it’s such a heartwarming moment).  My mom and I can pick out all of the editing flubs, which makes us laugh.  This is a Christmas movie that I highly recommend and will never get old.

Happy holidays, “and may all your Christmases be white!”

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About the Contributor
Shan Raneri, Writer
Hello!  My name is Shannon Raneri.  I am a junior and this is my second year writing for The Viking Times.  I chose to join this outlet so that I can share my love of writing with our community.  I write a wide range of articles; movies, sports, history, and current events.  When I'm not writing, you can catch me reading, listening to music, playing with my dogs, or binge-watching "Friends." Thank you for reading The Viking Times!

Comments (3)

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  • C

    Chele BernerJan 5, 2024 at 10:59 am

    One of my faves!!

    Reply
  • M

    Mark W DixonDec 22, 2023 at 9:35 pm

    I have a fraught relationship with Christmas movies: I believe Die Hard is the best holiday film made, and I didn’t bother seeing Elf until this very month. But strangely, this sounds like a more complicated picture than it might seem at first…

    So If I watch this, it will ONLY be due to the compelling nature of this review.

    Reply
    • S

      Shan RaneriJan 1, 2024 at 8:28 pm

      You can’t go wrong after nearly seventy years. It will be worth your time.

      Reply