This week on the Late Late Review, White Christmas gets the Die Hard interrogation… Is it really a Christmas film?
Release Date: October 1953.
Awards: Nominated for Best Original Song (for Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep). That’s it…
Rating: 7.6/10 on IMDb and an 88% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Right, so. During WWII, crooner Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) gets saved from a bomb by his soldier buddy, and aspiring crooner, Phil Davis (Danny Kaye). Guess what, Phil uses his life saving antics as a form of emotional blackmail to convince Bob to create a double act when they get home.
The boys then get a letter from their old war friend, who asks them to go see his sisters (Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen) double act. Anyway, the boys get all smitten and decide to help the girls run away from a bill and go with them to their Christmas booking, where there’s no snow. Oh, also, their quadron leader owns the hotel and is struggling for business.
Before we go any further, White Christmas is literally the only christmas song in the movie. It’s literally full of music, and the ony other song which comes close is the one called Snow. I know we agreed last week that I’m a massive pedant about christmas films, but this is literally called White Christmas, and that feels a bit like false advertising.
The song White Christmas was actually written for another movie (and won that movie an Oscar for Best Original Song). Between that and Snow being written, under the title of “Free” for another film, this appears to be something of a Frankenstein’s musical monster. It sounds pretty cohesive though, so I guess it all worked out in the end.
The performances in this movie though are pretty amazing. Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen’s dancing is insane. Bing Crosby’s singing is – well it’s Bing Crosby’s singing. Enough said. The proper heart of the film though seems to be Clooney. She’s arguably the best actor of the four.
It’s a warm film, with a really nice heart. Even though the boys intentions are just to hit on the girls, they end up with a chance to make a real difference, and they take it. At the time the film came out, WWII was less than 10 years before and so the romantic portrayal of being in the army isn’t too surprising, but seems a bit odd now!
So, is it worth a watch? of course it is. You only have to look at the enduring appeal of the title song to know it’s going to be an alright use of a couple of hours while you wrap your presents!
Is there an iconic film or album you think I should have experienced by now? Let me know @MoveToTRASHUK #latelatereview