Classic Film Guide

White Christmas (1954)

A quasi remake of the Mark Sandrich-Irving Berlin comedy Musical romance drama Holiday Inn (1942), this Michael Curtiz-directed version also stars Bing Crosby but teams him with Danny Kaye (in lieu of Fred Astaire) as well as Rosemary Clooney and leggy dancer Vera-Ellen. Norman Krasna (Princess O'Rourke (1943)) and Norman Panama & Melvin Frank (Road to Utopia (1946)) wrote the screenplay & story. Irving Berlin's Original Song "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep" received an Oscar nomination; his title song (#5 on AFI's 100 Top Movie Songs of All Time) had already won him his only Academy Award for the earlier film.

Crosby and Kaye are song and dance buddies who'd served in the army together during World War II. They follow the girls, who are sisters, to a Vermont lodge where they're to perform a winter show; the usual romantic pursuits and misunderstandings occur. They learn that the ski lodge, which isn't doing so well (e.g. there's no snow for skiing), is being run by their former commanding officer, played by Dean Jagger; Mary Wickes plays the retired General's reliable (busybody) employee. So, they decide to enlist the support of others, including those who'd formerly served in the General's unit, and turn the show into an extravaganza (with an uncredited Bob Fosse dancing with Vera-Ellen); Crosby croons "What Can You Do With a General?". Naturally, it snows just in time for the title song finale, and the skiers. Glimpse George Chakiris in two of the dance numbers, Percy Helton as a train conductor, Sig Ruman as an angry landlord, Grady Sutton trying to cut in on Crosby & Clooney (one of the pairings) dancing, and a photo of Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer - all appear uncredited.

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