“Maybe he’s only a little crazy, like painters or composers, or some of those men in Washington.”
I don’t know how “little crazy” applies to “those men in Washington” but Kris Kringle certainly isn’t crazy.
Almost from the beginning we love the old man who notices little things like how toy reindeer are ordered. And we’re not entirely sure of whether he’s not crazy or the real thing. We want to believe…but it’s a hard pill to swallow.
But then he starts the genius that is putting customer happiness above immediate profit and sending people where they can actually get what they want…which in turn leads to actually making more profit. I’m perpetually dumbfounded that this did not become standard policy for stores after this movie came out, it seems to me that it would work…after all a lot of places are showing what the prices on certain items are at competitors (even if they undercut the price)…why shouldn’t stocked items be similar.
But the great salesmanship isn’t my favorite part of the movie. Nor is seeing the only time in history where a branch of the federal government ever acted with intelligence and wisdom (in real life the post office would probably have just shot some random people). Or that when the D.A.’s son is on the witness stand. Or not (okay can we just admit this movie has a lot of great scenes and move on)… And it’s not even when Natalie Wood gets her dream house. My favorite part is when at Macy’s Kris talks to the Dutch girl who has just emigrated from war ravaged Europe. I don’t know where the writer/director found the actress who plays the Dutch girl but the face she makes when he begins talking to her in Dutch perfectly encapsulates all the joy children have at Christmas (and I think the actress playing the mother really is on the verge of crying). It’s a beautiful scene.
And again I’m struck with how different the art of the trailer was back then…
I realized I had yet to include the honorable mentions, so now is as good a time as any.
3 Godfathers: John Wayne as one of the Three Wise Men directed by John Ford. That’s about as Christmassy as it gets, what with the bank heist and death of two wise men and all…but it’s still a good movie.
While you were Sleeping: more happens around New Years than Christmas, but still an excellent Christmas time movie.
Serendipity: It begins and ends at Christmas other than that it has nothing to do with Christmas. But this story of destiny taking a strong hand in the lives of two star-crossed lovers appeals to the New Ager in me.
We’re No Angels: A Christmas movie, in the South Pacific, that’s a comedy starring Humphrey Bogart. No I’m not on any kind of hallucinogens; they actually made a movie with that improbable plot as a set up. And it has a murderous snake. Don’t ask me to explain…just go see it.
The Ref: Thematically this has nothing to do with Christmas, even if the whole movie takes place on Christmas Eve. But I love witty, dark and dry comedy.
Same reason for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
And I actually have never been a fan of Meet Me in St. Louis as a whole…but you can’t deny how wonderful a song “Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is.