Weekly Watch — “White Christmas”
Caelin Miltko | Sunday, December 7, 2014
Michael Curtiz’s 1954 “White Christmas” follows two army privates ten years after World War II. They’ve started a musical act, “Wallace and Davis,” together and become rather famous. After they receive a letter from another member of their division, they head down to Florida to see his sisters’ act. Davis (Danny Kaye) quickly decides to set up Wallace (Bing Crosby) with one of the sisters, Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and enlists the other’s, Judy, played by Vera-Ellen help in the effort.
Wallace and Davis end up following the sisters up to a Vermont ski lodge, which happens to be run by their former commander, General Waverly. Like South Bend this winter, the snow has all melted since Thanksgiving and the ski resort is entirely empty. Worried for their old commander, Wallace and Davis enlist Betty and Judy’s help in a plan to restart the general’s inn.
Punctuating the plans to help the General are Davis and Judy’s continuous attempts to set up Wallace and Betty, which ends up including a fake engagement and driving Betty to take a new job in New York City. The romantic mix-ups are hilarious, especially when it becomes clear that despite his desires for Wallace, Davis is equally frightened by the concept of commitment.
The best part of this movie is the singing-dancing duos that are created by both the male and female pairs. Bing Crosby is excellent vocally and Danny Kaye shows off his fancy footwork. Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen work similarly to balance each other. Perhaps the best scenes in the movie come when Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen combine forces to create some rather fun and incredible dancing scenes.
Similarly, Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney team up for some lovely duets throughout the movie.
The plot line is often obscured by fancy singing-and-dancing scenes, which are purportedly rehearsals for the final Christmas Eve performance at the General’s ski resort. Still, this is exactly what makes this movie fun (and perfect for studying — you can definitely follow it even while working on your final paper or finishing practice problem sets).
One of the best scenes in the movie takes place in Florida, just after Wallace and Davis meet the Haynes’ sisters. The police come to talk to the sisters, and Wallace and Davis help them make their escape by performing their act for them, copying their choreography and creating facsimiles of their blue outfits for the song “Sisters.”
This movie is perfect for preparing for the holidays this year. Despite its name, there’s not a lot of snow in the movie, and the December the cast experiences in Vermont bears remarkably similar to the weather we’ve had in South Bend the last couple of weeks. The songs are catchy (and their song about snow, which make very little logical sense, will still make you wish there was some on the ground, just to make it feel like Christmas).
The plot, while simple, is heartwarming and perfectly Christmas-y. The singing and dancing scenes are impressive and fun — you will end up singing the tunes for days and adding them to your Christmas/finals studying playlist. All in all, “White Christmas” is a perfect holiday movie, great for a long study break or stress relief session during these next two weeks.