Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Miracle on 34th Street</strong> (1947)

(On DVD, January 2018) Due to cultural osmosis, you already know how Miracle on 34th Street ends, with mailbags proving the existence of Santa Claus. But what may not be so iconic is the rest of the film, with its sugar-coated view of Macy’s department store, and especially with its Santa Claus character barging in on human affairs for a while. There’s a tension in seeing as pure a character as Claus trying to fit within the harsh reality of ordinary humans and Miracle on 34th Street does manage to get quite a lot of mileage out of this premise, and resolve it in a way that works for everyone. In-between, we get a rather lovely look at mid-century Manhattan in its airbrushed glory. Maureen O’Hara is fine as the sensible lead character, but Edmund Gwenn owns the movie as Kris Kringle in his genial charm. One of the quintessential Christmas movies, Miracle on 34th Street remains surprisingly interesting even absent the holiday element.

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