The ‘No-Brainer’ Christmas Film

White Christmas (1954)


Considering the title alone, it’s of little surprise to see this yuletide musical make the cut.

While Irving Berlin’s 1942 hit ‘Holiday Inn’ is worth a mention, being the first film to include the iconic song ‘White Christmas’, it has not aged well and is tainted by a somewhat racist streak.

Berlin’s later film is the superior effort, full of charm, whimsy, and great songs backed up with wonderfully staged choreography.

Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye), two soldiers who have gone onto become entertainment sensations after the World War II, receive a letter asking them to watch an act made up of Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen).

Once having seen the sisters, circumstances lead to all four ending up in a Vermont ski lodge where romance, misunderstandings and more ensue.

The bulk of the film plays out like any other musical, but once proceedings finally turn festive, White Christmas is basically a living, breathing Christmas card; one of those picturesque ones you would get from your Grandparents as a kid.

Despite it’s obvious stage-setting you associate with studio musicals of the period, it perfectly encapsulates that preconception we all have when thinking of this time of year, even in its pre-Christmas build-up.

Admittedly, the film doesn’t live up to the hype, with many who haven’t seen the film assuming it’s a full-blown explosion-in-a-Christmas-shop, but what it largely lacks in visuals, it makes up for with it’s mawkish yet enjoyable tone, enchanting cast, entertaining story and overall charm.

The four principles do a great job of simply being likable throughout, seeing them all interact and plot with each other, with Danny Kaye as a personal standout.

Kaye manages to give us a fun character to watch as he devises plans with Ellen’s Judy, stumbles through embarrassing conversations, remarks and situations, tinkers with love and cheekily schemes in the nicest possible way.

It’s all very innocent and plays at an enjoyable pace with songs and routines that are a pleasure to see and hear; a true testament to Berlin’s song writing, considering he gets top billing despite not directing or writing the story.

When it comes down it, any festive film that centres round a Christmas song as timeless as ‘White Christmas’ is worthy of anyone’s time.

It’s a no-brainer Christmas film, but not necessarily for the reasons you’ll assume.

About The Author