Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 53 mins

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This classic tale of faith and belief in miracles begins at the Macy's department store Thanksgiving day parade, where the actor playing Santa Claus is fired for drinking on the job. Doris Walker, the Street and straightforward events director, persuades a whiskered old man to take his place. The new Santa becomes a big hit, but doubts arise when people learn that he calls himself Kris Kringle and believes himself to be truly Santa Claus. Is he a mentally-unstable man with grand delusions? Or, is it just possible that miracles can and do happen even in our cynical and materialistic world?
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O Hara

Crew: George Seaton (Director), Charles G Clarke (Director of Photography), Lloyd Ahern (Director of Photography), Cyril J Mockridge (Music Director)

Rating: U (India)

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family

Release Dates: 02 May 1947 (India)

Tagline: Capture the spirit of Christmas with this timeless classic!

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Did you know? Ranked #5 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Fantasy" in June 2008. Read More
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as Kris Kringle
as Doris Walker
as Granville Sawyer
as Judge Henry X Harper
as District Attorney Thomas Mara
as Fred Gailey
as Susan Walker
as Julian Shellhammer
as Charlie Halloran

Direction

Director

Production

Producer

Distribution

Writers

Screenplay Writer
Story Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography

Music

Music Director

Editorial

Film Type:
Feature Film
Language:
English
Colour Info:
Black & White
Sound Mix:
Mono
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1, 1.37 : 1
Stereoscopy:
No
Taglines:
Capture the spirit of Christmas with this timeless classic!
Goofs:
Revealing Mistakes
One of the letters to Santa Claus delivered by the New York Post Office is postmarked Indianapolis, Ind.

Factual Mistake
While prosecutor Mara is making his final arguments to the Judge, defense attorney Gailey is out in the hall presumably talking to the postmen. Gailey returns to the courtroom just as Mara finishes his statement. No judge would allow final arguments to proceed in the absence of the attorney for the opposing party.

Crew/Equipment Visible
Outside the courtroom, the shadow of a camera can be seen on the pillar as Kris walks down the hall.

Continuity
At the end of the film, Susan refers to Fred Gailey as her Uncle, this is not mentioned at any other point during the film.

Continuity
Alfred's hands on the broom change positions between shots.

Continuity
Several shots of the judge show a lamp on his desk. When the mail is dumped in front of him, the lamp has disappeared.

Continuity
When Kris is finishing up his examination, Dr. Sawyer is portrayed in a combination of three camera angles. As the angles change his hands go from raised above the desk to palms down on the desk to folded on the desk. The hands change positions continually throughout the scene.

Continuity
When Kringle is in Sawyer's office, Sawyer is alternately drumming his fingers on desk and twiddling his eyebrow between shots.

Character Error
During the trial Gailey says that the US Post Office was founded on July 26, 1776. The correct date is July 26, 1775.

Character Error
Kris' license lists one of his reindeer as Donder (Dutch for thunder), yet whenever this name is spoken, the DVD captions (made 50 years after the film) show it as Donner (German translation). Both names are commonly used in popular culture.

Character Error
The judge looks to the audience's right when looking at his advisor, but the advisor is sitting on the audience's left.

Character Error
Kris claims that John Quincy Adams' Vice President was Daniel D. Tompkins. In fact, it was John C. Calhoun, while Daniel D. Tompkins had been Vice President under Adams' predecessor, James Monroe. The confusion arose because Adams was the 6th President whereas Tompkins was the 6th Vice President, some Presidents having had a different Vice President in each term, and one of the latter having served under 2 of the former.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Kris is standing on top of the awning at Macy's after the parade, his voice says "You'll find toys of all kinds at Macy's", but his mouth is moving to totally different words.
Trivia:
The house that Susan sees at the end of the movie that all three characters enter is, according to the Nassau County Tax Records, located at 24 Derby Road in Port Washington, New York.

Cinematographer Charles G. Clarke was taken off the picture and sent to Mexico to finish principal photography on the troubled production of Captain from Castile (1947). Lloyd Ahern replaced him.

This was one of the first films to be colorized.

The song that the little Dutch girl sings is "Sinterklaas Kapoentje, Leg wat in mijn schoentje, Leg wat in mijn laarsje, Dank je Sinterklaasje!" One translation is "Saint Nicolas Little Rascal, Put something in my little shoe, Put something in my little boot, Thank you little Saint Nicolas!"

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on December 22, 1947 with Maureen O'Hara, Edmund Gwenn, John Payne and Natalie Wood reprising their film roles.

The real R.H. (Rowland Hussey) Macy died in 1877, 70 years prior to the time of the film.

In 2011, Maureen O'Hara (Doris Walker) and Alvin Greenman (Alfred) are the last surviving major/semi major cast members.

The role of Kris was originally offered to Cecil Kellaway, who turned it down. The role went to Edmund Gwenn, Kellaway's cousin. Cecil Kellaway did play Santa in the Bewitched (1964) script A Vision of Sugar Plums, which featured child star Bill Mumy.

The Dutch girl spoke true Dutch, but with a heavy American accent.

The scenes at Macy's were shot on location at the main New York store on 34th Street itself. Shooting was complicated by the fact that the crew's power needs exceeded the store's electricity capacity and required additional power sources arranged in the store's basement.

When Dr. Pierce explains Kris' belief that he is Santa Claus, he offers for comparative purposes a Hollywood restaurant owner who believes himself to be a Russian prince despite evidence to the contrary, but rather conveniently fails to recall the man's name. This was a reference to Michael Romanoff, owner of Romanoff's in Hollywood, a popular hangout for movie stars at the time.

Natalie Wood was eight years old when she made this film.

The scenes of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade are of the actual parade held in 1946. As such, careful preparation was necessary for the shots as retakes were obviously out of the question. 20th Century-Fox had cameras positioned along the parade route at the starting line at 77th Street, on Central Park West, on the 3rd floor of an apartment building at 253 West 58th Street, in Herald Square and on 34th Street at 7th Avenue.

According to Natalie Wood's biographer, during the shoot, the young actress was convinced that Edmund Gwenn was actually Santa Claus (by all accounts, Gwenn was a very good-natured man on the set). It wasn't until Wood saw him out of costume at the wrap party that she realized he wasn't Santa.

Maureen O'Hara was ultimately forced into her role against her will, as she had just returned to Ireland before being called back to America for the film. However, she immediately changed her sentiments upon reading the script.

Both the actual Macy's and Gimbel's department stores were approached by the producers for permission to have them depicted in the film. Both stores wanted to see the finished film first before they gave approval. If either store had refused, the film would have had to been extensively edited and reshot to eliminate the references. Fortunately at the test viewing, both businesses were pleased with the film and gave their permission.

20th Century-Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck was very much against making this film because he thought it too corny to succeed. He finally agreed to a medium-sized budget provided writer/director George Seaton would accept his next three assignments unconditionally. Seaton, who desperately wanted to get the picture made, agreed.

Unbeknownst to most parade watchers, Edmund Gwenn played Santa Claus in the actual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade held November 28, 1946. He fulfilled the duties of most parade Santas, including addressing the crowd from the marquee of Macy's after the parade was over. He was introduced to the crowd by actor Philip Tonge (he played Mr. Shellhammer in the movie) and he later unveiled the mechanical Christmas display windows to the accompaniment of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite." This gesture symbolized the opening of the Christmas shopping season at the store.

According to Hedda Hopper's "Looking at Hollywood" newspaper column of May 3, 1947 "when the picture opens at the Roxy, Macy's will close for half a day so it's 12,000 employees can see the first showing."

Despite the fact that the film is set during Christmas, studio head Darryl F. Zanuck insisted that it be released in May because he argued that more people went to the movies during the summer. So the studio began scrambling to promote it while keeping the fact that it was a Christmas movie a secret.

2006: Ranked #9 on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time.

Ranked #5 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Fantasy" in June 2008.

Received a 'B' rating (morally objectionable in part) from the highly influential Legion of Decency because Maureen O'Hara played a divorcée.

There are 21 mail bags carried into the courtroom at the end of Kris's hearing.

Thelma Ritter's screen debut.

In the untranslated dialogue with the Dutch girl, Santa Claus asks the child what she wants for Christmas the girl says she wants nothing, telling Santa she got her gift by being adopted by her new mother.