The holiday season is in full swing when a cultured gentleman with twinkling eyes, an ample belly, and a snowy beard (Edmund Gwenn) is hired as Macy's department store Santa. He claims his name is Kris Kringle, and soon fills everyone with Christmas spirit - except for his boss, Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara), who's raising her daughter Susan (Natalie Wood) to not believe in Santa. But when Kris is declared insane and put on trial, everyone's faith is put to the test as old and young alike face the age old question: Do you believe in Santa Claus?
Excellent and warm-hearted Christmas Movie, if a bit dated.
- Miracle on 34th Street review by PV
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Little known fact? Edmund Gwenn became the first Welsh actor to win an Oscar for his role as Kris Kringle here.
OK, so this has dated quite a bit since 1947 (there is a newer version from the 80s with Richard Attenborough in the Santa role). I can imagine feminists spitting feathers at the portrayal of women and their aspirations - one wife wishes at one point she'd married a baker or a butcher and not an overcomplicated publisher.
And it's amusing (and sad) to see how much better society used to be in terms of manners, courtesy and people trusting their neighbours. These days the little girl here would be wrapped in cotton wool, never allowed to talk to strangers or go out, and would be sat for hours in her room staring at her screen (and probably obese too).
The legal scenes are funny and intelligent - well-paced too.
Anyway, this is still a fine Christmas film - the ending is weak and unrealistic. But apart from that I enjoyed it all. Not as good as It's a Wonderful Life or Alistair Sim in A Christmas Carol. But a top 10 Christmas movie.