(1954, Michael Curtiz)
A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general.
To be honest, this movie is not what I thought it was like. Once again, I thought there would be more Christmas. I think I am used to movies like Elf or The Grinch who stole Christmas. Movies that are set right at Christmas. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this movie, but as it played I started to understand the appeal.
Firstly, Bing Crosby. When I was a kid Bing summed up at Christmas for me and my family. We would fill our glasses with eggnog, put on Bing’s Christmas album, and put up the tree. It was tradition, and it was wonderful! It is funny though, his voice doesn’t match his face to me. Maybe that is just me.
Danny-fucking-Kaye! He plays the go-getter and is a bit smarmy.
The movie opens during the second world war at Christmas. Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) are putting on a Christmas show for their fellow soldiers. After the war, Bob and Phil become a two-man singing act and become successful. They are hoping to meet some women, and then they do! The women are a sister act, comprised of Betty Haynes (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen). They decide to go to Vermont, because of SNOW! Unfortunately, they get there and find no snow! Damn! But they do find a General from the war, who is running the inn they are staying at. The girls are to perform at the inn, but feel bad because no one is at the inn due to the lack of snow. The boys decide to help their war buddy by putting on their flashy act. They incorporate the girls into their act. Sparks fly between Betty and Bing. Keep in mind, in real life Bing was about 20 years older than Rosemary Clooney. Gross.
Speaking of Rosemary Clooney, she was George Clooney’s aunt. Vera-Ellen, was the youngest member of the Rockettes. And boy, can she dance!! She had been doing it since she as 10, had been in a bunch of Broadway shows, and in many musical movies, with the likes of Fred Astaire.
The General decides that he wants to get back into the army, but they don’t want him because he is fucking old. He is appropriately sad about this, and feels useless. Bob plans to try to get some of the men from the General’s army outfit up to the inn.
Not sure about the “choreography” number?! It had a Funny Face feel to it. Vera-Ellen saved it. Danny-fucking-Kaye was weird. Just weird.
I didn’t realize it at first, but Mary Lazarus from Sister Act is in this movie. Her real name is Mary Wickes, and she plays Emma Allen, the nosy housekeeper. Emma mishears Bob on the phone with an old army buddy who hosts a variety show talking about televising their show on Christmas. She is not pleased to hear about this, mostly because she does not want the general to be embarrassed on tv. Emma tells Betty what she has heard, who then gives Bob the cold shoulder. Judy decides that if they want Bob and Betty to get together, then they should fake an engagement. The schemes in movies are astounding! Unfortunately, Betty does not take the news well and cannot forgive Bob. It really turns into a cruel joke. Poor Betty thinks that their act is over and she is losing her career and sister. Betty decides to leave the inn, exactly the opposite of what Phil and Judy plan.
The dance numbers in this movie are aces! Vera-Ellen is awesome!
Phil and Judy tell Bob about their stupid plan, and he leaves to go to New York to get Betty to come home.
Judy sings a song about heartbreak, which she does so well! She is a badass chick. I really love the idea of going out for dinner and a show. I would love to do this! Does this still happen anymore?
Bob goes on his war buddy’s variety show to sing a song about the general. He asks for ex-soldiers to come to the inn on Christmas eve to show the general that he is still important to people. Betty watches his plea on tv and falls in love with him. You can see it in her eyes.
In the end, all the guys show up, Betty comes back, and it snows! Perfect ending. Oh, and they all end up hooking up: Judy and Phil, Betty and Bob.
This movie is good, but I really think they should have had more Christmas carols. But, at least they do sing White Christmas at the end. One of my all-time favs.
It is a heart-warming tale, and I think everyone should watch it at least once.
Quotable: “Oh, my word, if I wasn’t such a mean old biddy, I’d break right down and cry.” -Emma Allen (Mary Wickes)
White Christmas receives 4 Danny-fucking-Kayes out a possible 5.