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Posts Tagged ‘Danny Kaye’

I love Christmas. I love old Hollywood musicals. And I love Bing Crosby. Therefore, I still can’t believe I didn’t see White Christmas in its entirety until I was in my 20s.

Sure, I’d seen parts of it on TV, and I love the title song. But the Christmas movies at our house were mostly animated – and starred the Grinch, Rudolph (the Claymation version), Frosty the Snowman, the Sesame Street cast, and of course, Charlie Brown and friends. (That last is my favorite of all.)

Jeremiah, however, has a mom who loves Christmas, and they watched this movie together every year when he was a kid. So it’s one of his favorite Christmas movies. And when we were dating in college, he couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it.

This is the third or fourth year I’ve loved it, and this year I finally bought the DVD (and watched it last week when I stayed home with a cold). And on Saturday, we headed to the Paramount (easily the loveliest movie theatre I’ve ever been to), to watch it on the big screen.

I always cry at the beginning and end of this movie – during both renditions of “The Old Man,” the song the soldiers sing for the general. I love that they plan such a “slam-bang finish” for him as he retires from the Army, and man, do I love the reminder, ten years later, that they still love and respect him. The waterworks start for me (at the end) when he comes down the stairs in his uniform. And I always lose it when he walks into the inn’s dining room and sees all the men who have traveled to Vermont just for him.

Aside from that, though, I love so many things about this movie. I love the bright 1950s Technicolor and the mod fashions the Haynes sisters wear. I love Danny Kaye’s facial expressions and Emma Allen’s sarcasm and the incredible footwork in the dance numbers. I love the songs – every single number from “Snow” to “Mandy” to “Gee! I Wish I Was Back in the Army” to The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing”  (which might be my favorite) to “Sisters” – especially the part where the guys are goofing off. And I love, love, love the witty dialogue. Here are some of my favorite lines:

General Waverly: I’ll make my own decisions, Emma. I got along very well without you in the Army.
Emma Allen: It took fifteen thousand men to take my place.

Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): We like to take care of our friends.
Betty Haynes (Rosemary Clooney): We’re practically strangers!
Phil: Well, we’d like to take care of that too.

Phil Davis: My dear partner, when what’s left of you gets around to getting what’s left to be gotten, what’s left to be gotten won’t be worth getting whatever it is you’ve got left.
Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): When I figure out what that means, I’ll come up with a crushing reply.

Phil Davis to Judy Haynes: You know, in some ways you’re far superior to my cocker spaniel.

From the “Sisters” song: Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister/And Lord help the sister who comes between me and my man!

Totally classic. As my friend Harry pointed out the other night, Christmas is really just the backdrop for this film – but it’s a gorgeous one. And I always gasp with childlike delight at the end when they pull back the doors – and there’s snow.

Real white Christmases are rare in this part of the country, but thanks to this wonderful film, I get a white Christmas every year. And songs that stay in my head for days afterward. And a buoyant, heartwarming story that ends so happily, sprinkled with snowflakes and wrapped in a big red bow.

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