‘White Christmas’ is a treasury of Irving Berlin classics, among them ‘Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep’, ‘Sisters’, ‘Blue Skies’, and the beloved holiday song, ‘White Christmas.’ Two talented song-and-dance men (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) team up after the war to become one of the hottest acts in show business. One winter, they join forces with a sister act (Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen) and trek to Vermont for a white Christmas. Of course, there’s the requisite fun with the ladies, but the real adventure starts when Crosby & Kaye discover that the inn is run by their old army general who’s now in financial trouble. And the result is the stuff dreams are made of.
I remember the first time I watched White Christmas. I was about six or seven years old, and all my siblings and I were having a sleepover at our grandparents’ house. If that wasn’t great enough in and of itself, they offered to let me watch a movie with them when all my siblings were asleep. (What do you think I said?) And that movie just happened to be White Christmas. I don’t remember much of it, only that the part where General Waverly is ‘scolding’ the assembled men about their lack of ties and general sloppiness, and then, “And I’ve never seen anything more wonderful in my entire life.” Anyway, I was too young to really understand much of what was going on, and after I watched it that one time, it took me almost ten years to see it again.
That’s right. Ten years.
Mom and I were chatting a few days before Christmas (2014), and she said that Elisabeth (my sister) and I should learn how to sing “Sisters” from White Christmas, because we’d become so close. I looked the song up on Youtube and was thoroughly charmed by it, and since I was going to the library that day, I decided to see if I could pick up a copy of the film (I mean, it was Christmas, so why not?). By some miracle, it was available (a miracle, because it was Christmas time, and by all rights there should’ve been a gazillion holds on it), and I watched it that very afternoon…and fell completely in love with the songs, the characters, the story, everything. I remembered enough from my viewing ten years back to turn to Mom right at the beginning (during the first performance of “The Old Man”) and say “I’m going to cry at the end of this, right?” Yep. I cried quite a few happy tears. It was wonderful and perfect and splendid all at once.
All the characters, and all the songs (with the exception of “Choreography” and “Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me”) in White Christmas are great (more than great, actually). Davis is funny, and Wallace is serious – but in a funny way (“Pushing, pushing…”), if that makes any sense. Judy is perky and fun, Betty is…well, Betty is Betty. I love General Waverly and Susan and Emma and, like I said, basically everyone, which is pretty rare because there’s usually at least one character in any given book or movie that I don’t really care for. Wallace is probably my favorite character, although it’s really hard to pick just one. (I very much like Susan too – I feel that we’re quite a bit alike.)
And the SONGS. Oh my goodness, the songs are fantastic. I’ve been humming them for weeks now, they’re so catchy. There’s “Sisters”, of course, which will always be very special to me, and another favourite of mine is “Count Your Blessings”, which I wasn’t sure I liked at first because it’s a bit slow, but now I love it. So beautiful. And “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing” is lovely – the song and the dancing and the dress. “White Christmas” is another big favourite (duh), both the first time it’s sung, and the second. One thing I really love about the music is that, instead of creating an entirely new score for the non-song scenes, the music team used instrumental versions of the different songs as background music. It’s perfect and usually more than a little emotional – like the scene where Judy’s telling Betty that since she (Judy) is engaged now, Betty can do whatever she wants, and Betty’s crying…and the music keeps segueing back and forth between “Sisters” and “Count Your Blessings”. FEEEEELS.
Pretty much the only complaint I have with White Christmas is that a big chunk of the plot hinges on a silly (yet serious) misunderstanding between Betty and Bob, because I hate that kind of thing in stories. Half the time, I’m internally yelling at them to stop being stupid and actually talk to each other for once, but it’s almost worth it to see Bob’s face when Betty’s unexpectedly reappears during the show. I really do love their relationship.
Other than that, I have no criticism. White Christmas is such a warm, wonderful, happy film – I love Judy and Betty’s friendship as sisters, all the songs, the characters, the jokes, the beautifully heartwarming moments throughout the whole thing, and…OH I ALMOST FORGOT THE COSTUMES. How could I ever forget the costumes? Both Judy’s and Betty’s entire respective wardrobes are absolutely gorgeous. Particularly Judy’s pink, sparkly dress and black + white plaid skirt and Betty’s white blouse/black skirt ensemble and dark green party dress. But, really, ALL the dresses would be amazing to wear. Plus those fans they have for “Sisters”. Those look delightfully fun to sing/act with.
So, that’s my review. White Christmas is a beautiful, charming film and I highly, highly recommend it to every single person on the planet. Trust me, you’ll love it.