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Movie Spotlight-“Miracle on 34th Street” (1947)

“Miracle on 34th Street” was released in 1947.  It stars Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, and Natalie Wood.

 

To read my review click here.   I want to warn you this blog entry contains spoilers.

 

This movie is about a man who claims to be Santa Claus.  Doris Walker, a Macy’s employee who urgently needs a new Santa employs him not knowing he believes he is the real Santa.  Doris doesn’t believe in Santa and has taught her young daughter, Susan, not to believe in anything fantasy.  When he is institutionalized as insane for believing himself to be Santa, a young attorney and friend, Fred Gailey, defends him.

 

We live in a world where we are inundated with information.  Children seem to grow up so fast and lose their belief in magic younger and younger.  This movie is about maintaining belief in the unbelievable throughout life.

 

I love watching Susan go through this journey.  She’s torn between her mom telling her that Santa isn’t real and wanting to believe that this is the real Santa.  She tests him and observes him.  It’s really entertaining.  Natalie Wood did a wonderful job in this role.

 

Maureen O’Hara also does a wonderful job.  She plays a strong independent woman at a time when women were still considered homemakers.  The movie was a bit of a scandal at the time as O’Hara’s character Doris was divorced.  As a woman, I love seeing one who is successful, hardworking, but still a good mother and a good person.  This character was definitely ahead of her time.

 

Then there’s Santa.  He’s so adorable and expressive.  There are moments where he makes me tear up, like when he talks to the girl who doesn’t speak English.  He also makes me laugh, like when he learns to blow bubbles with bubble gum.

 

The movie has you asking if you believe.  They mean Santa but I also felt a greater meaning.   It’s like it’s asking if you believe in magic, in angels, in all things unproven.  Are you a person of faith in the unseen and unprovable?  I also love the 1994 remake.  The movie keeps the same basic story with a few updates to make it more relevant.  Even with the same story it feels like a different movie.   

 

 

I hope you give one or both of them a try.

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the movie.  Happy Viewing!