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An Essential Film for Christmas each and every year
on 4 December 2004
"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).