DIRECTED BY GEORGE SEATON (1947) AND LES MAYFIELD (1994)
WRITTEN BY GEORGE SEATON BUT THE 1994 VERSION HAD SOME HELP FROM JOHN HUGHES
STARRING: – 1947- MAUREEN O’HARA, NATALIE WOODS, JOHN PAYNE, EDMUND GWENN
-1994- ELIZABETH PERKINGS, MARA WILSON, DYLAN MCDERMOTT, RICHARD ATTENBOROUGH
RELEASE DATE: MAY2, 1947 AND NOVEMBER 18, 1994
In my house we have this little tradition of watch every single Christmas on TV as soon December starts, so we always watch some classic like It’s a wonderful life, Miracle on 34th st, Home Alone 1 and 2 and new classics like Love Actually. But Miracle on 34th St is a truly Christmas Classic. What makes Miracle a genuine miracle of holiday filmmaking is the pitch-perfect balance of social cynicism and human generosity.
Here we have a little problem, we have to versions. Some may said that the remake is not as good but I like it, and may be a little more contemporary for kids. The original version, in on hand had a little Natalie Wood, while the remake had Dylan McDermott.
The movie re-make was produced by John Hughes and directed by Les Mayfield, who follow the original fairly closely, but with a quieter, more elegiac tone. As in the earlier version, this “Miracle” begins with a charming old gentleman who is hired on sight and pressed into service after the department store’s Santa gets drunk at the start of the annual New York Thanksgiving parade. The old man says his name is Kriss Kringle. Played in 1947 by Edmund Gwenn, Santa’s portrayed this time by Richard Attenborough.
In the Original movie the store was Macy’s (which yes is in 34st in NY), but the store did not want to be part of the remake, so in the 1994 version the store name is Cole’s. For a remake, 1994′s Miracle on 34th Street is surprisingly old fashioned, which is good because all it needed was some kid teaching Santa Claus to breakdance and the whole thing would’ve been down the tubes. Its greatest suspense is that it teeters on the brink of failure throughout but still manages to stay in the viewers good graces. Another good thing about the remake is the color of the movie which was created to resemble a black and white movie that was colored.
So you decide which one you want to watch a black and white classic or a cute colorful remake.
When the department store’s Santa gets drunk before taking part in the Thanksgiving parade. Cole’s director of special events, fires him and must find a replacement immediately. She spots an old man ( berating the drunk Santa, and begs him to take over. He claims his name is Kris Kringle. Kris does so well during the parade that he is immediately hired to be Cole’s main Santa for the holiday period. All the children in New York begin to believe that he is the real Santa, with the exception of six-year-old Susan, Dorey’s daughter.
Brian Bedford, Dorey and Susan’s neighbor does his best to convince Susan to believe. While being babysat one night by Kris, Susan shares with him her Christmas wish, she would like a dad, a house (used every year for the Cole’s catalogue photoshoot) and a baby brother. Kris asks if she would begin to believe in Santa if she got all those things. Susan agrees that she would.
Kris is credited with bringing in many more sales to Cole’s than previous years, until one night, when he is arrested, then sanctioned for supposedly assaulting a man on the street. Later, the truth emerges, that the man he assaulted was the original drunk Santa, who set up Kris to be arrested, with the help of members of staff from a rival of Cole’s.
With the help of Brian, Dorey takes Kris’ case to court, and drums up support from him from the public. It soon becomes clear that to get Kris acquitted and freed, Brian must prove that not only does Santa exist, but that Kris is the real one. It is a seemingly impossible task until Brian comes up with a plan that requires some help from Susan.
Just as the judge is about to make his decision — and it seems he was going to rule against Kris — Susan walks up to the judge with a Christmas card containing a $1 bill. On the back, the words “In God We Trust” are circled. The judge realizes that, since the U.S. Department of Treasury can believe in God with no hard evidence, then the people of New York can believe in Santa Claus in the same way. This leaves the elated judge no other choice but to declare that Santa is real, thus freeing Kris.
Following the court case, Dorey and Brian are maneuvered by Kris into realizing their true feelings for each other, and are married in a very small ceremony right after the Christmas Eve midnight mass. On Christmas morning, Susan wakes to the news of the marriage and is elated to see that she has part one of her Christmas wish, a dad. Together, Susan, Dorey and Brian drive out to the catalogue house and upon arrival, find that Kris has arranged for them to purchase the house. Susan, now having got two out of three of her wishes, excitedly runs upstairs in the house to look at her bedroom. Dorey and Brian ask her what the last part of her Christmas wish was, and she triumphantly announces that it was a baby brother. Dorey and Brian both look at each other, shocked, before glancing down at Dorey’s stomach. The film ends with the belief that Susan has now gotten all she asked for.
We invite you to ask yourself this one simple question: Do you believe in Santa Claus?