Dec 1, 2006

Movie of the Month

I was thrilled to come across this veritable gem of a holiday film while resting from a traumatically disappointing Thanksgiving last week (our pies melted...all of them), and after buying the DVD with much haste, I must admit I've fallen in love. White Christmas is simply a classic in every sense of the word.

Regardless of how you feel about musicals, it's a rare heart that isn't touched by this film in some way, be it its humor, or simply the sentiments provoked by its timeless title tune. Christmas boasts an inimitable pairing of great talents: Bing Crosby, the voice of an era; the velvety-voiced, fresh-faced Rosemary Clooney; the lithe, delicate and under-appreciated dancer Vera-Ellen; and lanky comic Danny Kaye, whose considerable comedic talents are slightly subdued as he plays the meddling pal to Crosby's straight man. The musical segments are in turn tender and hilarious, Vera-Ellen's choreography displays stunning athleticism and sizzle, and Kaye proves a formidable partner on their paired number, while celebrated crooners Clooney and Crosby both provide memorable ballads, allowing each of the four leads to showcase their own discrete talents in the film. And you can't overlook the efforts of veteran director Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, Yankee Doodle Dandy), the unforgettable melodies of Irving Berlin, or the distinctly beautiful costume designs of Edith Head, whose signature styles appear in over four hundred classic films.

Though its two-hour runtime can be a bit weary after repeated viewings within one holiday season, much can be said for its reasonably sturdy plot, a rare element of its contemporary musicals, and for the nearly-seamless manner in which the songs and choreographed segments are incorporated into the storyline. Romance, loyalty, nostalgia, Christmases past: there's something to appeal to everyone, from its unforgettable theme song right down to its Vistavision format. If White Christmas isn't a holiday tradition for you and yours, it certainly should be...but don't blame me when you tear up during "Count Your Blessings".

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