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Miracle on 34th Street (VHS-50th Anniversay Edition)
Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn
Miracle on 34th Street has been a favorite holiday movie since its release in 1947, and sharp-eyed observers may or may not have noticed that the film essentially retells the New Testament's story of the life of Jesus Christ. The movie was set in New York City in 1947 and utilized a large amount of location shooting (courtesy of Fox's Movietone News Studios, located in Manhattan) to give it a realistic texture; while screenwriter Valentine Davies' original story seems, superficially, to be the height of whimsy, about Santa Claus's appearance in the midst of that realistic setting, it becomes clear on closer examination that Davies borrowed liberally from the New Testament. Edmund Gwenn's Kris Kringle is almost more a substitute for Jesus than a screen-bound Santa. He enters a big city with his message of generosity and foresaking commercialism; he meets some doubters and some interested onlookers, and soon they're listening to him and starting to believe in him. Then he's betrayed and put on trial, not for his life but for his identity: he must prove he is who he says he is, or be imprisoned and labeled a madman and a pretender. The New York locations and use of New York "types," including Thelma Ritter's portrayal of a harried mother, Jack Albertson's postal worker, and Alvin Greenman as the simple, trusting Alfred (Greenman also appeared in the 1994 remake), only heightened the realism of this modified retelling of the trial of Jesus. And all of it was done so subtly--as opposed to, say, Frank Capra's more obvious retelling in Meet John Doe--that it was scarcely noticed by most viewers. However, the film adds a happy ending, reflecting a postwar feeling of confidence and helping to ensure its endurance across the decades.
This is a previously viewed VHS tape in very good condition!
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