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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Film for Christmas each and every year
"White Christmas" begins on the battlefield during World War II, on the fateful night when Danny Kaye saves the life of Bing Crosby and used the leverage to create what would be one of the most successful song-and-dance teams after the war. One night they check out the act of two sisters played by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, and the next thing they know the boys are...
Published on 4 Dec 2004 by Lawrance M. Bernabo

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Camp seasonal classic
Version I saw: UK DVD release (this version)
Actors: 6/10
Plot/script: 6/10
Photography/visual style: 5/10
Music/score: 7/10
Overall: 6
Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are former soldiers turned stage stars who put on a show to save their old commanding officer's hotel. To modern eyes it looks remarkably camp and curiously pro-military, but it's...
Published 7 months ago by Mr. R. A. Thompson


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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Film for Christmas each and every year, 4 Dec 2004
By 
Lawrance M. Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
"White Christmas" begins on the battlefield during World War II, on the fateful night when Danny Kaye saves the life of Bing Crosby and used the leverage to create what would be one of the most successful song-and-dance teams after the war. One night they check out the act of two sisters played by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, and the next thing they know the boys are on their way to Vermont where the girls are supposed to perform at a ski lodge. However, there are two big surprises up in Vermont: there is no snow and the inn which is threatened with financial ruin is run by General Waverly (Dean Jagger), their commander during the war. Of course, Bing is interested in pursuing Rosemary, while Danny is too busy trying to move that along to notice Vera-Ellen is after him.
This is one of the films I have to watch every Christmas or else the Holidays just do not seem right. Of course, this makes no sense because "White Christmas" does not seem like it has the makings of a Christmas Classic. The magic is due mainly to the songs of Irving Berlin, which in addition to the beloved title song includes "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep," "Blue Skies" and "The Best Things Happen While Your Dancing." Since they are putting on a show, there are all sorts of production numbers from the rehersal and the performance. The most memorable might be the version of "Sisters" done by Crosby and Kaye (which Bing was not happy to do, but you will never know by watching the one take). For me, the reason to watch this film each year is to get to the end. There is just something about when Jagger comes down those stairs that gets to me. Nothing like a happy ending to get you in the mood for Christmas, with or without snow (fortunately, where I live, that is never a problem).
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Count your blessings ......., 12 Nov 2000
This review is from: White Christmas [VHS] (VHS Tape)
What a classic. I have always been a fan of musicals but White Christmas has always been my number one. I first watched it at about 13 and now I can say the script to you straight off. At only 22 now there are not many people whose favourite film in the entire world is one that features Bing Crosby. BIng Crosby and Danny Kaye bounce off of eachother incredibly well and I cant think of anybody who would play the part of Betty any better than Rosemary Connelly. I know that some people think that I am a bit of a soppy tart but hey, everyone has a soft side, Bing just does it to me in this film as I am certain that other women will agree. I would like to also point out that I have not been able to find a copy of the film in any of the shops .... thanks Amazon.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars White Christmas, the definitive feel good movie., 17 Feb 2004
By 
R. F. Stevens "richard23491" (Ickenham UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: White Christmas [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
One of Hollywood's best; paper thin plot, poor continuity, but it is still so outstandingly good a musical you can forgive them anything.

This DVD version has good sound, but alas the picture has clearly not been re-mastered. Some weave and hop and film noise are still there at the start but disappear as you get deeper into the print. However, it is not as high a technical quality as Singin' In The Rain (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1952]. That being said this DVD of White Christmas is way, way better than my VHS copy.

An essential part of ones collection.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great BD of a nice film, 14 Dec 2010
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White Christmas is by no means an excellent musical. It is however a pleasant one. Seeing it on blu-ray is a new experience altogether though. White Christmas was the first film ever to be made in the 70mm VistaVision process, and the image quality, especially the sharpness and the vibrant colours are absolutely breathtaking. Watching White Christmas in high definition was like seeing the movie for first time, that's how big the difference is between a dvd version and this blu-ray.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars such a wonderful magical film, 11 Nov 2011
By 
D. Lench "David" (western europe) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
i absolutely love this film and i could so easily watch it over and over again and again i never get tired of watching it
it's a lovely film and i'm thrilled it has been updated to a blu-ray version and the quality is even better than i ever remembered
you'd have to ba the biggest idiot ever born if you don't like this film as all the stars in this film are great, the music the dancing the singing are wonderful and even the brightly coloured settings too
a great cast, the only thing that i really felt upset towards the end of the movie is sadly many of these wonderful cast are no longer with us
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm Dreaming, 14 July 2009
By 
Mrs. C. Churcher "'Red'" (Hampshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: White Christmas [DVD] (DVD)
this dvd is brillian and brings back lots of happy memories of xmas when I was a little girl....my daughter and grandchildren love it too...think Im going to have to buy another one as they keep borrowing mine!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars White Christmas, 6 Jun 2009
By 
This review is from: White Christmas [DVD] (DVD)
To me the second best Christmas film of all time only surpassed by "It's a wonderful life"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars White Xmas, 15 Feb 2009
By 
Mr Remski (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: White Christmas [DVD] (DVD)
It's a really good movie. One of the old american classics, and I can recomend it to anybody, who didn't see it. And you don't have to wait till Xmas do it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is THE Christmas film, 4 Jan 2009
By 
P. J. Wallace "Peter Wallace" (East Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: White Christmas [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
"White Christmas" has long been a favourite of mine, and is THE Christmas film above all other seasonal offerings. It is warm, funny, touching and tuneful.

Everyone knows the title song, but Irving Berlin composed some other great numbers such as "Sisters" and "Count Your Blessings" for the movie, which runs to almost two hours.

It's a great production with a cast which fits the bill perfectly.

This DVD also features an interview with the fabulous Rosemary Clooney, who also provides a film commentary if you so choose to listen. The Theatrical trailer is also one of the extras.

I love it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars White Christmas [1954] [Blu-ray] [US Import], 1 Dec 2013
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White Christmas [1954] [Blu-ray] [US Import] White Christmas is a treasure of IRVIN BERLIN classics, among them “Count Your Blessing Instead of Sheep,” “Sisters,” “Mandy” and the beloved holiday song “White Christmas.” In this incredible Blu-ray disc debut that you will find on this timeless musical, and Special Features that include backstage stories, and a look at the actors and more!

Two talented song-and-dance men BING CROSBY and DANNY KAYE, team up after the war to become one of the hottest acts in show business. One winter, they join forces with a sister act ROSEMARY CLOONEY and VERA-ELLAN and trek to Vermont for a white Christmas. Of course, there’s the requisite fun for the ladies, but the real adventure starts when Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye discover that the inn is run by their old army general, who’s now in financial trouble. And the result is the stuff dreams are made of!

FILM FACT: The song "Snow" was originally written for Call Me Madam with the title "Free," but was dropped in out-of-town try-outs. The melody and some of the words were kept, but the lyrics were changed to be more appropriate for a Christmas film. The song "What Can You Do with a General?" was originally written for an un-produced project called Stars on My Shoulders.

Cast: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen, Dean Jagger, Mary Wickes, John Brascia, Anne Whitfield, Percy Helton, I. Stanford Jolley and Barrie Chase

Director: Michael Curtiz

Producer: Robert Emmett Dolan

Screenwriters: Norman Krasna, Norman Panama and Melvin Frank

Composer: Irving Berlin

Cinematography: Loyal Griggs

Screenwriters: Writers: Melvin Frank, Norman Krasna and Norman Panama

Resolution: 1080p [Techincolor]

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 [VistaVision]

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono (Original), French: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono and Portuguese: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese

Running Time: 120 minutes

Region: Region A/1

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review – Most composers would consider themselves lucky – okay, blessed – to have one film built around a song they wrote, but Irving Berlin's 'White Christmas' became such a popular holiday standard it spawned two film musicals with yuletide themes. The first, 1942's 'Holiday Inn,' marked the introduction of Berlin's soon-to-be iconic tune by the quintessential crooner, Bing Crosby, who put such an indelible stamp on the song it would forever after be associated with him. Twelve years and millions of record sales later, Paramount went back to the Berlin well and approached the prolific songwriter about mounting another Christmas musical. This time, 'White Christmas' wouldn't be just a part of the score, it would be the movie's title, and Bing would be back to star and sing once more. The result proved just as irresistible as 'Holiday Inn,' and in the intervening 56 years, 'White Christmas' has become an equally beloved and revered classic. In my house, we all feel like Ebenezer Scrooge if we don't give this warm and sprightly flick an annual viewing each December.

I love 'White Christmas' and never tire of watching it, but, let's be real; when matched up against such immortal musicals as 'Singin' in the Rain,' 'Meet Me in St. Louis,' 'An American in Paris,' and 'Gigi,' it pales in comparison. (director Michael Curtiz did a great job with 'Casablanca,' but he's no Vincente Minnelli), a trite and predictable script (paging Betty Comden and Adolph Green), and with the exception of the title tune and a few others, a bunch of second-rate songs (sorry, Irving, but your 'Holiday Inn' score is far better), 'White Christmas' remains very much a typical genre entry, but the enthusiasm and talent of its first-rate cast and intoxicating seasonal allure make it seem far better than it is.

Much like the Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland let's-put-on-a-show backyard musicals it so closely resembles, as well as Garland's 1950 vehicle 'Summer Stock,' 'White Christmas' tells a showbiz story sprinkled with romance and schmaltz. (Christmas is merely a backdrop and plays a very minor role in the proceedings.) After aspiring song-and-dance man Phil Davis [Danny Kaye] saves the life of headliner Bob Wallace [Bing Crosby] during a Nazi strike in World War II, the two men team up and form a highly successful nightclub act. Their tour brings them to Florida, where they encounter Judy and Betty Haynes [Vera-Ellen and Rosemary Clooney], and the comely sisters of one of their old army pals. Also aspiring entertainers, Judy and Betty finagle their way into Phil and Bob's good graces, and the quartet heads up to Vermont for the sisters' holiday gig at a country inn, which they soon learn is run by Phil and Bob's former army commander, General Waverly [Dean Jagger]. Lack of snow and balmy temperatures threaten to close the struggling hotel and bankrupt the general, but Phil and Bob hatch a scheme to revive business and restore their respected leader's decaying sense of self-esteem. Yet pulling off the plan without upsetting the general's pride and their own burgeoning romances with the Haynes sisters proves to be quite a challenge.

Light and airy, with plenty of comic situations and big-time production numbers, 'White Christmas' tries its best to dazzle and entertain, and for the most part, it succeeds. Even mediocre Berlin tunes outshine some of his colleagues' finest work, and Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney give each their all. The charming 'Sisters' is performed straight by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, and then given a hysterical drag twist by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. (Watch as Bing totally cracks up as a result of Danny's over-the-top prancing and swishing – one of the movie's high points.) Ballads such as 'Count Your Blessings' and the torchy 'Love, Look What You've Done to Me' are given solid readings by Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, and Danny Kaye clowns to perfection in the avant-garde 'Choreography' and lilting 'It Happens While You're Dancing.' (His non-musical shtick is first-rate, too.) Vera-Ellen, one of Hollywood's most accomplished dancers, taps and twirls her way through a host of demanding routines, while providing some acerbic line readings that perk up the mundane screenplay.

Rosemary Clooney is known primarily as a singer – and remains one of the premier interpreters of American popular song – but she makes a fine dramatic impression here. Though her character is a bit too goody-two-shoes, Rosemary Clooney remains believable throughout and creates a comfortable chemistry with ba-ba-ba-Bing Crosby that helps sustain the film between songs. Kaye and Vera-Ellen supply the comic relief, and their wisecracking provides a nice contrast to the gooey cooing and sullen bickering of their co-stars. The priceless Mary Wickes is also on hand as the busybody housekeeper, and her impeccable timing and dry comebacks add welcome zing to each scene in which she appears.

'White Christmas,' however, is all about Bing Crosby, and in one of his last romantic roles, the crooning Bing Crosby seems to be having a ball. Though clearly reaching the upper limits in the leading man age bracket, he relies on charm, sophistication, and his velvet-toned voice to see him through, and the result is a wholly satisfying performance, which begins and ends with his signature reading of Irvin Berlin's holiday classic. The final five minutes of this cheery, heart-warming musical will surely have you and yours dreaming of a white Christmas, too, and no doubt inspire repeat viewings in the yuletide seasons to come.

Blu-ray Video Quality – I always thought 'White Christmas' looked pretty darn good on the inferior DVD, but this Blu-ray blows that relic out of the water, at last making this musical appear as vibrant and stunning as it surely did upon its initial release in 1954. The improvements are immediately noticeable, beginning with the VistaVision logo and opening credits. Clarity, contrast, and especially colour saturation are supreme. Delectably bold reds and deep, lush greens truly pop off the screen, yet never look garish. A few white marks dot the print, but the number of imperfections sullying the image has been drastically reduced from what afflicted the previous inferior DVD. The standard definition version looks dull, flat, and washed out compared to this glistening 1080p image transfer, which truly does the Technicolor photography proud. Varying shades of blue and yellow and the entire pastel palette are all perfectly timed and balanced so the picture always looks smooth and cohesive. Even the drab army scenes early in the film exude a faint sparkle they've hitherto lacked, and accents, like Bing Crosby's yellow socks or Rosemary Clooney's painted nails and lips, nab our attention without overwhelming the entire image.

Fine details are also much easier to discern. On the inferior DVD, background items often appear fuzzy and slightly unstable, but the Blu-ray crystallizes even the smallest objects so we feel much more immersed in the atmosphere. Textures, such as suede, wool, leather, and satin, are very strong, and close-ups, especially those of Clooney, nicely reconcile sharpness with the cinematography's inherent warmth. Black levels are pitch-perfect throughout – just look at the inky hue of Clooney's gown during 'Love, Look What You've Done to Me' and the jackets of Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby during the minstrel number – and the bright whites resist blooming.

The natural grain structure remains intact, providing the desired feel of celluloid. Grain intensifies a bit in the background, and at times, various elements can look a little soft, but such minor annoyances rarely drag down the film's enjoyment factor. Noise reduction, edge enhancement, and banding are all blissfully absent, making this transfer a pleasure to watch from start to finish. Once again, this high-definition effort from Paramount is a huge step up from the previous inferior old fashioned DVD and well worth the extra investment.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – Both the restored mono (also an option on the inferior DVD) and a brand new 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track are included on the disc. The track trumps the inferior DVD's 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, but doesn't provide any real wrap-around sensation. The sound is still largely front-based, and minimal stereo separation never widens the field enough to make an impression. Dynamic range is solid, with both highs and lows enjoying fine presence and clarity. Bass tones shine whenever Bing Crosby sings; when his dulcet baritone slides into the lower register, we're treated to full, resonant bass shadings that add immeasurable nuance and weight to his performances. Just the familiar phrase "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas…" proves why Bing Crosby wrote the book on crooning, and the audio here serves his marvellous instrument well. Rosemary Clooney's voice also sounds warm and velvety, and good fidelity distinguishes the instrumentals. Dialogue is always clear and comprehendible, and sonic accents like Vera-Ellen's taps and the slamming of doors are crisp and distinct.

Unfortunately, some surface noise remains audible during quieter scenes, and during Rosemary Clooney's 'Love, Look What You've Done to Me' some static-laced pops disrupt the torchy song. Such interference continues to rear its ugly head during subsequent musical numbers, marring enjoyment somewhat. Still, this is a good quality track that honours the Irving Berlin tunes that help lend 'White Christmas' its classic status.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Commentary by Rosemary Clooney: This commentary by the late, great Rosemary Clooney may not rank high on anyone's list of stellar efforts, but it's wonderful to hear the recollections of this accomplished singer, which are all presented in a delightfully honest, matter-of-fact manner. The large gaps in the beginning are off-putting, to say the least, as Clooney merely chuckles at the action on screen, but as the film progresses, she opens up a bit more, praising Irving Berlin, discussing a typical shooting day, and exulting Bing Crosby's style and impeccable preparedness. There's not a whole lot of substance here, and the gaps do continue throughout, but fans of the film will still enjoy watching the movie with Rosie, who comes off more as an enthusiastic aunt or grandmother than a high-falutin' movie star.

Documentary: Backstage Stories from White Christmas [HD] [12:00] This easy-going documentary examines the film's casting (and how Danny Kaye got his part over contenders Fred Astaire and Donald O'Connor), the vitality and talent of the four leads, the impact of dancer George Chakiris (best known for his Oscar-winning turn as Bernardo in 'West Side Story') in his brief appearance with Clooney, the VistaVision process, and the film's universal and lasting appeal. A number of film historians weigh in on these topics, and we're also treated to Chakiris' own personal perspective.

Documentary: Rosemary's Old Kentucky Home [HD] [13:00] Rosemary Clooney's brother (and George's father) Nick and other relatives discuss the singer's bond to her girlhood hometown and how her home was turned into a museum after her death. A tour of the museum's exhibits comprises the bulk of this interesting documentary.

Documentary: Bing Crosby: Christmas Crooner [HD] [14:00] Bing's family and biographer talk about the musical influence and personality of the actor/singer, and the importance of the song 'White Christmas' to him We also get a few glimpses of Crosby's boyhood home in Spokane, Washington and archive at Gonzaga University.

Documentary: Danny Kaye: Joy to the World [HD] [13:00] Actor Robert Wagner, Kaye's daughter Dena, and composer Leslie Bricusse, among others, pay tribute to this "renaissance man" of entertainment, as well as his considerable charitable work. Kaye's wide-ranging talent and commitment to UNICEF is explored through rare film clips in both black-and-white and colour.

Documentary: Irving Berlin's White Christmas [HD] [7:00] The story behind one of the most famous holiday songs ever written is chronicled in this slick documentary. Berlin's daughter provides first-hand accounts of her father's background, how he composed, and the impact of his work.

Documentary: White Christmas: From Page to Stage [HD] [4:00] The artistic team behind the stage adaptation talks about transforming the classic film musical into a Broadway show and the changes necessary to make it work.

Documentary: White Christmas: A Look Back with Rosemary Clooney [17:00] A holdover from the previous DVD release, this standard making-of documentary showcases Clooney's memories, which run the gamut from casting and her relationship with Vera-Ellen to the chemistry between Kaye and Crosby and an impromptu on-set visit by the king and queen of Greece.

Theatrical Trailers [HD] [5:00] The Original Theatrical Trailer and a re-release Trailer are included.

Finally, 'White Christmas' is one of Hollywood's most beloved holiday classics, and its arrival on Blu-ray is good news indeed. Though the story may be trite, the talent and enthusiasm of the accomplished cast keeps this musical fresh and lively throughout repeated viewings. With a lush video transfer, solid audio (despite a few glitches) and a healthy spate of new extra supplements, so making this one disc that will brighten even Ebenezer Scrooge's day. It's also a huge step up from the previous inferior DVD release, and is well worth owning on Blu-ray. Because of all this, this is why I was so keen to own this classic festive film, as it cannot be beaten and is also a timeless classic, as you get a warm glow viewing this amazing Blu-ray disc and that is why it is a great honour to have this included in my Blu-ray Collection. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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