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Cinematic Shorts: White Christmas

Ring a Ding Ding

White Christmas (1954)

     I generally am not much of a fan or celebrater of Xmas and I particularly dislike the classic songs that accompany the holiday from November onward. So for me to be fond of a film with the December tradition in the title is a bit of a rarity. I discovered White Christmas, oddly enough, during a summer showing a couple years ago at the Ohio Theatre in Columbus, where classic movies are projected on a big screen at the electric pleasuredome for a couple of months each year. I sought it out through a growing admiration of Bing Crosby and found my loyalty to the actor supremely rewarded.

     What I enjoy greatly about White Christmas is that although the holiday found its way into the title, the movie is not at all about it. The plot happens to take place around Xmas and the most famous song from the film happens to share the title, so thus we have White Christmas. It follows two army pals (Crosby and Danny Kaye) who went into show business together and a scheme to brighten the existence of their former general, who now owns a floundering country inn. Along the way they take on a sister act with Kaye’s character, Phil, instantly falling for Vera-Ellen‘s Judy. An adorable, complicated romantic plot develops between Crosby’s Bob and Betty, played by Rosemary Clooney.

     The picture is bolstered by the music of Irving Berlin, who ranks among my favorite song-writers. Outside of “White Christmas”, the movie also offers the goofy “Choreography” number and seasonal tunes such as “Snow”. In fact, I have “Sisters” stuck in my head as I am writing this. It is a fabulous soundtrack, and I would argue that Bing Crosby should be the only person permitted to sing the title tune — that mellow baritone voice of his compliments it perfectly. White Christmas was also how I came to adore Clooney (who, if you’re wondering, is the aunt of George). Her character is supposed to be the dowdier of the two sisters, but standing next to anorexically thin Vera-Ellen, Clooney’s curves make her the more appealing of the duo from my standpoint. Nevermind that her voice is absolutely awesome. Just try sitting through the “Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me” number and tell me you don’t love her.  

Sisters?

  • White Christmas is set for 8 p.m. ET Dec. 16 on AMC.
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