Sunday, December 12, 2010

Why White Christmas Is An Awesome Movie

UPDATE:  December 1, 2011 -- I've noticed that this post has been getting a ton of hits from Google and Pinterest and if you are visiting, I just wanted to say hello and welcome!  White Christmas truly is a Christmas classic and I will no doubt watch it a dozen times before NYE.  Hope you love it, too! 

Merry Christmas!  --Katie
I still remember the first time I watched Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen do the "Sisters" fan dance in their fluffy, blue lace dresses.  I was playing in the living room of my grandma's house on a Sunday afternoon.  I'm not sure exactly how old I was, but I remember stopping whatever I was doing and just sitting mesmerized by the whole scene.  I think we ended up watching most of the movie, but I only really remembered that scene.  I wanted to be those girls.

Not to be confused with these "sisters."
I've spent most of my life fascinated by musicals.  My brother, on the other hand, has spent most of his life begrudgingly sitting through musicals that his sisters were in.  Which is why it cracks me up that his wife loves old movies, particularly White Christmas, which she convinced him to watch with her recently.  While we had dinner last week, the subject of this movie came up and Mel and I argued that it was one of the best Christmas movies.  Matt was unmoved.  So, on this snowy Sunday, I decided I would rewatch the movie (like that was a chore!) and make notes, proving that I was, as usual, correct.  Here's the proof:

Of course, I don't expect you to be able to actually read these notes.  I've broken them down into a few simple categories.

The Cast - Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen should be enough.  I mean, seriously, the banter alone should win this argument.  Anytime "the couples" have one-on-one screen time, it melts the scenery.  But to make things even better, you bring in Mary Wickes as Emma Allen (who was also the crotchety nun in the Sister Act movies, and it's darn near perfect. 
The Songs and Dances - I find it poetic that Vera Ellen was a wonderful dancer, but couldn't sing (they dubbed in vocals for her) and Rosemary Clooney could barely dance!  But that doesn't make any difference when you're watching.  My favorite song is "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep" but there are so many great numbers it's hard to pick!  But I could watch Vera Ellen tap and cartwheel all day.  People who can dance fascinate me (as I cannot!).  And how could you not want to be Rosemary when she sings "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me"?  I mean, the dress alone!  (Which we will get to in a second!)  Not that Bing and Danny are slouches in either department! 

Snappy Dialogue -  I love when writers do a great job, but don't seemed too pleased with themselves at the same time.  The "engagement" scene between Vera and Danny alone is argument enough, but you throw in a few of the General's deadpans and Emma's sharp wit and you've got yourself some dialogue!  I suppose some of this is due to my general belief that I was born in the wrong era.  I love the 40s/50s feel of this movie in general.  Bing and his pipe, the warm Vermont ski lodge.  It's just ideal!  (tee hee!)

The Fashion - No list was longer than the dresses I coveted!  It's not like they started with women that were hard to make stunning...

 But add in dresses like the Mrs. Claus themed ending ones and you've got my attention.  There's just something about the fine detail of the costuming departments in these old movie musicals!  In the scene where they are arriving in Vermont, Vera is wearing an adorable yellow coat, but with leopard print accessories!  Or even before that, those blue lace numbers or the dresses they wear after to meet the men at dinner.  Take one look and Vera and Danny during "The Best Thing Happen While You're Dancing" and tell me you don't wish for a dress with an accenting petticoat to swish around in!   From the matching pajama sets, to the show costumes, nothing makes me want to have a 24" waist quite like Rosemary in the black dress at the night club in NYC.  Take a look:
(Photo credit:  This isn't a scene from the movie, but it is the dress.  It's everything that's womanly about fashion.  Great cut, perfect details.  I could go on and on, but I won't.

I think I've clearly made my case.  Of course, judging from all the love I got on here last week for loving this movie, I don't think it's you all who need convincing!  I will, however, be sharing my notes with my sister-in-law!  I'm sure if Matt watched it just one more time, he'd see exactly why it's so great!


  1. You make a strong case here. I'm not really a fan of old movies, but I may just have to see this one!

  2. I just discovered you while looking for a photo of Danny Kaye from this, my all-time favourite Christmas movie! I'm a bit older than you and I saw this many moons ago, but I share your feelings about it to a tee! I really like your blog; it is well-written and attractive and interesting. I'd be pleased if you'd give mine a look sometime.


  3. P.S. I don't want you to think I only saw it once - I watch it every year!

  4. I love the costumes from this film! Those big 1950s skirts were so gorgeous, and I would like to dress like that every day. (I'm working on a 1950s christmas dress right now).

    Merry Christmas!


  5. The movie is actually called "Holiday Inn" but was changed in the past few years because most Americans didn't know the real name.

    1. Holiday Inn is a completely different movie starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and Marjorie Reynolds. You can learn more about it here

      I can see where there might be some confusion between the two, however.


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