16
Dec 04

THE ADVENT CALENDAR OF CHRISTMAS FILMS 16: Miracle On 34th Street

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1947 version. It really is no contest. Cute little Nathalie Wood versus that kid from Mathilda who looks like she is constantly sucking a thistle. No, we like our sugar coated sentimentality dished up firmly with a black and white spoon. Though perhpas one of the strangest things about Miracle On 34th Street was that it was not a Christmas film at all. Sure, it is about Santa, and set at Christmas – but it was actually released in May as the studio chiefs thought more people went to the cinema in the summer. I think it might have been something to do with fleapit heating.

Of course Kringle is clearly mad. There is no Santa Claus and if there was a Santa he would not be knocking around in a department store. In that respect the film is awfully daring with using the scapel of a legal trial to show the deep logical flaws in this Christmas myth. Luckily though this is a Hollywood trial which follows no real legal precedent and therefore despite clear intimations to contrary, it turns out that Kringle may well be Claus after all. Absolute tosh of course, but rarely has a film skirted so dangerously with disillusioning its audience, and then recovering from this in the last reel.

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