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Miracle On 34th Street [1947/1994] (DVD)

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Genre: Children's DVDs / Theatrical Release: 1947/1994 / Universal, suitable for all / Director: George Seaton, Les Mayfield / Actors: Maureen O'Hara, Robert Prosky, Natalie Wood, Edmund Gwenn, John Payne ... / DVD released 2008-09-29 at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: Box set, Black & White, Colour, PAL

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      18.12.2010 16:06
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      A typical old fashioned Christmas film!

      I remember I first saw the most recent version of 'Miracle On 34th Street' when I was about eight. My friend had the video, and every Christmas we would swap our Christmas videos which we would watch over the Christmas holidays. I remember year after year I used to borrow this film. The other day however, I was in Sainsbury's when I spotted this DVD selling as part of a 3DVD pack for £5.

      Miracle On 34th Street is an American Christmas movie which was released in 1947. The film stars Maureen O'Hara and Edmund Gwenn. This movie is also available to buy from Amazon along with the most recent version starring Mara Wilson for £5.99 from Amazon, which I think is great value for two DVDs.

      In this movie : Santa look-a-like Kris Kringle gets a job as Santa Clause at a New York department store. A little girl named Susan tells him, that she does not believe in Father Christmas. Soon, Kris Kringle has to go to court, to prove that he is the real Santa Clause? Will Susan change her mind? Watch Miracle on 34th Street.

      I really love the 90's remake of this movie, and when I think back to 'Christmas as a child', I always think of this movie. So, when I saw that there was a 1947 original version of this film, I was really interested to see what it was like.

      This movie is in black and white, and when I realised this (before watching the movie), I was a bit put off. Although, when I was watching it, I decided that I actually love this 'black and white' version, as it totally adds to the whole 'old fashioned Christmas' thing, which is something I love! This film is a real Christmas classic and is full of magic!

      There are some great characters in this movie. My favourite character was Kris Kringle as he was a kind old man! I felt really sorry for him when he had to go to court and when no one believed him. At first, I didn't like the character of the little girl Susan as she seemed quite stuck up and too mature for her ag (she's only six!), although as the movie went on, I grew to like her.

      This is the kind of movie which you can pull out and watch every single year! It's a perfect film which the whole family can sit down together and watch during these cold, dark winter nights, during the Christmas countdown. Children, as well as adults will love this movie, and it will get children who are at the age of starting to not believe in Santa, realise that he actually might be real!

      I watch this movie every single year, and could't imagine Christmas without it!

      Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas everyone!
      December 18th 2010
      xd-o-n-z-x (also posted on ciao under xdonzx)

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      30.04.2010 22:52
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      In God We Trust

      Miracle on 34th Street - [19471994] (DVD)

      I have got to admit that I haven't watched the 1947 film all the way through as, personally, I am not a big fan of older films but regarding the 1994 version I think that it is an absolutely magical watch.

      I might be 22 years of age but I have always adored this film and still watch it on a regular basis, I have replaced my original version of this which was on VHS to a DVD but could never dispose of the Video, I love it too much!

      The film is based around the story of an old man by the name of Kris Kringle (Richard Attenborough) who gets himself a job replacing the intoxicated Santa Clause at big depatment store Cole's Thanksgiving Day parade. This results in him becoming the stores in-house Santa for the rest of the festive period
      The Director of special projects at Coles, Dorey Walker (Elizabeth Perkins), a non believer in Santa Clause, has a daughter, Susan (Mara Wilson) and she delvelopes a special unbreakable friendship with Kris as shown throught the show and although her mother has told her that Santa Clause does not exist, she believes in her mind, and proves different.
      Kris Kringle is to be punished by the enraged original Coles Santa Clause, who is now working with rival store Shopping Express, for revealing that he was under the influence and "taking" his job. Kris Kringle, becomes quite a famous Santa Clause, due to recommending another store with a cheaper priced "Peter Pollywog" to a parent and sparking the Coles new and successful "If we dont have it or it's too expensive we will find it for you - even if it means sending you to another store" promotion. This makes him an easy target to be brought down and after an altercation with the old Santa he strikes in self-defence with his cane and is arrested and taken to a mental institution after admitting to two well timed "strangers" (that actually work for a rival department store, Shoppers Express) that he was indeed the real Santa Clause and caught on camera by reporters being arrested it is not long before the downward spiral starts.
      With the help of Brian Bedford (Dylon McDermott) a very good neighbour and friend of Dorey and Susan, the latter two and Coles, a campaign is started - The "I Believe", I believe that Santa Clause is Kris Kringle. Spending days in a courtroom will people realise that Kris Kringle is infact who he says he is, will he be freed or instatutionalised and will Dorey stay a non-believer?
      Watch this film to find out and I will guarentee you, you will not be disappointed.

      I love watching this film, it is amazing and when I watch it I, myself, feel like a child at Christmas and could quite happily watch this film over and over again. I only wish that there had been a follow up to this film. Although nothing could replace this classic.

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        02.01.2010 20:05
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        If you love christmas movies this is one for you and the family

        I thought this was just going to be an average christmas family film but it also works as an adult story.
        It starts with a christmas parade in New York put on by Coles the department store that is threatend by a takeover bid. The director for special projects hires Kris Kringle to replace their drunken Santa on the float, she quickley realises he's a great hit and gets him to sign a contract to be the in-store Santa.
        The store that is at the forefront of the takeover isn't happy as everyone is going back to coles to see the new santa, this threatens there takeover bid so they set him up to assault the drunken ex-santa so he gets arrested and sent for assesment as he believes he the real santa so he must be mad.
        The court case comes and Coles decide to stand by santa and do a huge promotion for everyone to 'believe'.
        Its touch and go as to whether he will win his case but in the end he does.
        Its a heart warming story that will be a definate christmas eve favourite in our house for years to come.

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          28.12.2009 15:59
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          two takes on a now classic Christmas tale

          Well, it would not be a traditional Christmas without Santa Claus, and here we get a double dose. One might ponder why someone would want two discs of the same film, especially when one is an old black and white and one is a colour remake. In this case, the original premise of the film is the same, but the movies actually differ in tone and content. Young Susan is being raised by her mother, a divorcee whose disillusionment with life has seen her ban things of the imagination for a colder, reality based cynical world view. Her mother works for a department store, where she works for the management and is in charge of hiring the Santa for their famous store's Thanksgiving Day parade and in store grotto. Cue something going wrong at the last minute and a chance encounter with a seemingly perfect replacement, whose name even really is Kris Kringle. You know then it is going to be a clash of ideals when this guy claims that he is the THAT Kris Kringle, with the department store staff and the state ultimately try to prove otherwise. Will Kris be vindicated in his self belief, and will young Susan learn that some things simply must be believed? Will her mother's heart be healed, by the idealistic lawyer defending Kris? It's going to take a miracle, but then it is Christmas, so one is probably headed over to 34th Street right on cue.


          The original film was filmed in 1947, and part of the premise was about two very famous rival New York department stores, Macy's and Gimbel's. Now, many people have heard of Macy's as their flagship New York store is an actual tourist destination. Every year Macy's throws a parade in New York City on Thanksgiving Day. It is not merely a Thanksgiving themed parade however, but a sort of warm up for the Christmas season, and it is hugely famous for featuring their in store Santa and his elves as well as enormous balloon figures of cartoon characters. This parade is so famous, it is broadcast live on the television across North America and streamed live over the internet to a worldwide audience. It is at this parade that we first meet Kris Kringle, as he stands in the waiting crowd just before the start of the parade, where he encounters Macy's Santa dead drunk. Needless to say, having the real Santa find you drunk while impersonating him is a bad move, and Mr Kringle is not standing for it. He then becomes the last minute replacement as Doris Walker frantically looks for a solution to her too drunk to go on Santa. Agreeing to also sit in at the store, he first encounters more trouble when he tells a parent to go to arch rival department store Gimbel's for a toy fire engine model her son is after, as Macy's does not have it. However, this frazzled mother is just overjoyed to know where to go to get it, and is quick to praise him and her new found customer loyalty as this shop has demonstrated it cares about the customers and not just pushing merchandise. Gimbels of course gets wind of it, and it becomes a tug of war, each one referring each other via advertisements and more, with corporate greed ending with a benevolent public handshake.

          If the retail aspect of Christmas is not crazy enough, Macy's on staff psychologist has his hands full. Not content dealing with the holiday stress related aspects of the employees lives, he has notions of being a "serious" sort of doctor. He goes about diagnosing all sorts of ridiculousness, and thinks that one kind hearted but gullible lad is just easy pickings. Talking this young man into believing he has a psychosis and needs regular visits, Dr Sawyer feels his ego greatly massaged. Sadly for him, Kris gets referred to him after he is observed speaking in Dutch to a foreign child and then asserting himself as THE Kris Kringle, causing Ms Walker to seriously get annoyed as her own child, Susan, begins to ponder if it is indeed possible that he is Santa. This is contrary to everything Doris Walker has raised her daughter to believe, because if you believe in intangibles, you will get let down, just as she was by her now ex-husband who disappeared from their lives all those years ago while Susan was still but a baby. Kris passes the psychological evaluation, but antagonises Dr Sawyer, questioning him on his own mental health, and the discovery of his manipulation of the impressionable young Alfred leads to a squabble. A small rap on the head by his cane gives Dr Sawyer the chance to milk it for what it s worth, pretending grave injury and outrageous behaviour. It's the loony bin aka Bellevue Hospital for Kris, with a sanity hearing to follow at court.

          Enter one idealistic lawyer who is friends with Kris and Ms Walker, and the desire to prove to Ms Walker that some things are true just because you believe in them. Young Susan and the children and adults of the United States become gripped by the sanity hearing as it becomes known that New York State is trying to lock up Santa just before Christmas. Lawyer Fred Gailey has his work cut out for him, as the world watches to see if he is going to be able to get this popular figure released from confinement, and it is a case that the judge hopes he wins as even his grandchildren are on his case at home as granddad is the meanie presiding over the case. It is the persistence of children though, that wins the day, as the Post Office every year gets letter after letter addressed to Santa Claus. It is illegal to deliver mail to anyone other than the intended recipient, and so it has to be conceded that when the US Post Office delivers sack after sack after sack of post to Kris at the courthouse, he must indeed be THE recognised embodiment of Santa as an official office of the US Government has said so. Hooray all the way round then, as Kris is released. The miracle has not happened yet though, for that is a miracle of the heart. No, that happens on the way home, as a young Susan sees the house of her dreams on the route Kris has told them to take to avoid traffic. A house, with a cane like Kris' leaned against the chimney and a wedding proposal from Fred to one now thawed hearted Doris. Aww...

          Starring Maureen O' Hara as Doris, John Payne (Fred Gailey), Edmund Gwenn (Kris Kringle), and a young Natalie Wood as the child Susan, it is indeed a star studded affair. Natalie Wood's childhood portrayal is precociously good, with no playing for the camera or simpering and makes this a fun film to watch. Maureen O'Hara does quite well with what could have been a difficult role to play. Doris Walker is a complicated character; she is caring, yet cynical and a bit hard, yet with a centre still a bit marshmallowy if you can get past the slightly crunchy exterior. She manages to pull it off, and it is in no small part due to the onscreen chemistry between her and her onscreen romantic interest (John Payne). Gwenn's Kringle is absolutely my favourite of all time, presenting a three dimensional being. Kris is jovial, kind, and speaks all languages (of course!), but, he is also a man who stands up for his ideals and is not afraid to chastise those in the wrong. This is the Santa that will definitely leave naughty children a stern note and a lump of coal in their stocking, so you'd better watch out and remove that pout off your face!

          The 1994 remake stars Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle, Elizabeth Perkins as the now renamed Dorey Walker, Dylan McDermott as the lawyer now mysteriously renamed Bryan Bedford, and Mara Wilson as Susan Walker (now aged six as opposed to Natalie Wood's character who was nine years old). Forget Macy's Department store, having looked over the script, they refused to let their name be used, and so it is now the Shopper's Express store (sounds like a cheap and nasty discount store of some kind, no?). Also forget a happy tale about the ability to believe in things without proof and good will and all that. This is an updated remake, and it is a tale about the commercialisation of Christmas and corporate greed. Young Alfred with his heart of gold is gone, as is the department store shrink. Instead, we get corporate intrigue as the Santa fired from the parade works with a rival chain to bring down Kris in order to get more sales! Kris gets locked up in an old folks home for being a bit daft in his old age, and the great courtroom scene becomes a grandstanding political event by two opposing lawyers, with points about the Roman Catholic Church downgrading Nicholas from an official saint, to references about the motto "In God We Trust" being imprinted on US currency. It is no longer about the innocence of childhood, but a family morality play about dirty tricks people play for money. In short, while it is a good piece of film making, with more than adequate, and indeed, often heart-warming performances especially on the parts of Richard Attenborough and Mara Wilson, it is not the feel good classic story from 1947 at all. This is perhaps why Macy's refused to lend their name to the remake, nor to reprise the their participation in the famous opening scene with the parade, for when the original was filmed, Macy's really DID have Edmund Gwenn portray their Santa and that is the actual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade one sees in the film. It is also probably why 1500 people actually bothered to return their ticket stubs to get a refund as offered by Twentieth Century Fox, who said if anyone did not like the remake, they could have their money back at the original 1994 cinema release. That is perhaps going a bit too far, as it is in itself not a bad film, but it does suffer from the same peril that plagues many a remake.

          The fault lies in the strange changes made to the scripts in an effort to "update", especially when it is a story that has a sense of timelessness about it. Rival chain Gimbel's may have folded years ago meaning a replacement chain was needed, but why change people's names, ages, and key plot points? This changes the film from an actual remake to an entirely new creation that is inspired by the original story. Sadly, this means when one is familiar with the original, the remake simply loses its lustre. The Oscar winning stagecraft of the original shines out like a thousand fairy lights twinkling merrily, while the remake simply spotlights itself in a sort of self congratulatory way. If I wanted yet another tale of greed at Christmas, I have A Christmas Carol, and if I had wanted a cute rendition, I own the Muppets version of it. For a story about the existence of Santa Claus, the right to childhood innocence with its lack of ego, and the ability of love to heal a betrayed heart, it is going to be 1947 for me every time.

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