The Christmas Spirit, Part 4

Two more movie classics for Christmas.  I generally don’t care for musicals, but White Christmas is hard not to like, especially as it was filmed in glorious eye-stretching VistaVision.  I didn’t make that up, that’s how they marketed this back in 1954; “eye-stretching” sounds painful to me, but maybe it sold a lot of tickets back in the day.  Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, at the tops of the careers, play two ex-GI’s who come to the aid of their former commanding officer (Dean Jagger).  While he may have been an able general, seems he makes a bad innkeeper, and so it’s up to Bing and Danny to save his resort.  This 120 minute extravaganza is chock full of Irving Berlin songs and some pretty nifty dance numbers.  I have to say, the sets are kind of cheesy and that snow looks fake, but I suppose you don’t watch a movie like White Christmas as much as you listen to it.

Some people think the movie White Christmas introduced the classic song, White Christmas, to the world, but that isn’t so.  Than honor belongs to another Christmastime musical, Holiday Inn, made in 1942, and filmed in glorious black and white.  If you get White Christmas and Holiday Inn mixed up, you’re in good company.  Both feature a ton of music by Iriving Berlin and not dissimilar stories.  They also share Bing Crosby!  It’s interesting to watch the two movies back to back (if you have nothing better to do) just to see how Bing aged!  Holiday Inn covers every American Holiday from “Easter to Christmas,” with songs and very cool dance number courtesy of the great Fred Astaire.

I like both of these movies, but I think I lean slightly more to Holiday Inn.  Filmed at the height of WW2, a movie like this must have seemed like a light in the darkness, putting a smile on war-weary faces.  White Christmas, though, was a huge money-maker in its day.  So, I’ll let you decide which is the better movie.

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