‘Tis The Season Cinema: White Christmas

This week for the ‘Tis The Season Cinema Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs and I watched White Christmas. We pushed off our blog posts for it until today since we were both busy with family events for Thanksgiving, though Erin had a lot more going on than I did.

If this is your first time here, Erin and I have been watching Christmas movies since the beginning of November to get into the holiday spirit.

If you haven’t watched the movie White Christmas here is a little background without giving away the story:

The movie begins in December of 1944, during World War II, with Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby entertaining fellow soldiers at war.

The movie moves forward after that to Kaye and Crosby becoming an entertainment powerhouse duo who tour for years, have a fight, realize they’ve been working too hard and too long, and then later meet a couple of lovely ladies who are also singers/entertainers. To make a long story short, the four of them travel to Vermont to have a white Christmas and while there learn that the owner of the inn they are staying at is their old commander from the war. They then learn that the inn isn’t doing well financially and work to bring the inn back for their commander by holding their show at the inn.

While this movie is a Christmas movie, it isn’t all Christmas all the time and there is an actual plot instead of just one Christmas song to the next.

For those who don’t know, White Christmas was originally written by Irving Berlin for the 1942 movie Holiday Inn (which is on our list to watch in December). Holiday Inn also starred Bing Crosby. The song was first publicly performed by Crosby after the movie and later recorded by him, though he wasn’t that bowled over by the song to begin with (and probably hated it by the end of his life when he had to keep singing it).

(Off the subject a bit but I often get Holiday Inn and White Christmas mixed up in my head since there are two male leads in both movies and Crosby is in both movies.)

Wikipedia writes this about when the song was written: “Accounts vary as to when and where Berlin wrote the song.  One story is that he wrote it in 1940, in warm La Quinta, California while staying at the La Quinta Hotel, a frequent Hollywood retreat also favored by writer-director-producer Frank Capra, although the Arizona Biltmore also claims the song was written there. He often stayed up all night writing. One day he told his secretary, “I want you to take down a song I wrote over the weekend. Not only is it the best song I ever wrote, it’s the best song anybody ever wrote.”

I don’t know that I agree the song is the best ever written, but it is one of the most popular Christmas songs ever, and also very sweet.

As for the movie, which was released in 1954 we kick right off with the song about seven minutes into the movie, setting the tone for a sentimental and sweet ride, with a little bitter mixed in as you are forced to think about our soldiers and how they had to fight or be stationed overseas during Christmas and other holidays. As always, the singing of the song, while American soldiers look heartbroken in the audience, made me tear up again this year.

According to that same Wikipedia article (yes, I was lazy and looked things up on Wikipedia which isn’t always the most accurate site), Bing Crosby once told his nephew that the hardest thing he ever did was perform White Christmas in December of 1944 in a USO show with Bob Hope and the Andrew Sisters in front of 100,000 GIs without breaking down. Many of those men were killed two days later in the Battle of the Bulge.

There are many happy moments in the movie, though, even if some of the background is a bit tear-inducing. I would definitely call this one a feel-good movie, but not so feel-good there isn’t some depth in it. It’s, of course, a musical with plenty of impromptu songs and dance routines, especially as they rehearse for the big show to be held at the inn.

Kaye and lead actress Vera-Ellen were well-known dancers and actors at the time. They sizzle up the screen with their moves. Vera-Ellen always fascinated me because she looks like a real life Barbie doll. The cynical side of me wonders if she ate properly but I’m guessing her thin stature was from all the dancing.

I read in an article on Good Housekeeping that interestingly, Rosemary Clooney played Vera-Ellen’s older sister, but Vera-Ellen was actually seven years older at the age of 33. Bing played Rosemary’s love interest and was actually 25 years older than her, which is a bit creepy when you think about it. Rosemary did look a lot older than 26, though.

Another piece of trivia from that article was that one of the most famous scenes, when Crosby and Kaye dress up as Rosemary and Vera-Ellen, was actually not in the script. Crosby and Kaye were goofing off and it was written into the script because the director thought it was hilarious. Crosby and Kaye also thought the scene was hilarious because they kept laughing throughout.  

White Christmas is not only sung at the beginning of the movie but also in a large routine at the end, which produced the classic image of the singers in their white suits with the red trim (Santa suits in other words).

I would say this movie is the number one reason that people all over the world think they have to have snow on Christmas. It was hard for me to accept as a kid when we traveled to North Carolina and didn’t end up with snow for Christmas day, except for one year when they had a freak snowstorm.

Luckily, living in the North, we have White Christmases more often than not. Of course, it is nowhere near as romantic as the crooners make it sound when they are singing along about it on the train on their way to Vermont. When we are shoveling out our driveways we don’t sing, “Snow! Snow! Snow!” in perfect harmony. We more often mumble the words and follow them with some other choice words while flinging our shovels back in the garage.

I made a cup of cocoa to sip while I watched the movie, which I watched alone this year since we’ve seen it as a family several times and I was sure the family would want a break from it this year.

I might make my husband suffer through It’s A Wonderful Life again when we watch that one, which is a movie I like, but he doesn’t. Too bad for him. Ha.

To read Erin’s thoughts about the movie, see her post on her blog.

Up next for our ‘Tis The Season Cinema is Muppets Christmas Carol, if you’d like to join and blog with us about it.

The finishing list for the feature is:

Dec. 8: Holiday Inn                                                                           

Dec. 15: It’s A Wonderful Life

Dec. 22: Charlie Brown Christmas and Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas

10 thoughts on “‘Tis The Season Cinema: White Christmas

  1. One of my favorite Christmas movies. I didn’t know that scene was just those gents goofing off and was added in because it was hilarious — which it is! Anyways, I have two sisters and when we’re together at Christmas time (which doesn’t happen as often anymore), we find ourselves singing the Sisters song.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Sunday Bookends: Pretty Christmas lights, | Boondock Ramblings

  3. Pingback: White Christmas – ‘Tis the Season Cinema – Breath of Hallelujah

  4. I love this movie and watch it every year before Christmas. It is a feel-good movie.
    My dad was in the Battle of the Budge which began Dec 16, 1944. Dad was captured afterwards. He was held about a day. He escaped with a few others. World War II movies often remind me of dad.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love that that scene was a result of them goofing off! You can tell they are having an actual real good time doing it.

    And Vera-Ellen, yeah. I think I am still fascinated by the fact that she is that skinny! And I speculated on her eating habits as well. Let’s hope it is just because of her dancing burning calories.

    I didn’t know the little bits of trivia you added in – and I can imagine how hard that must have been. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: ‘Tis the Season Cinema: White Christmas – Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs..

So, what do you think? Leave me a comment! I love to meet new people and chat with ones I already know!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.