Saturday, November 25, 2006

White Christmas (1954)

White Christmas is one of those great movies that never get boring even after you've seen them every year for a million years.I watched this movie multiple times every holiday season for as long as I can remember, and every time I find something new I love. Bing Crosby is a wonderful straight man to the enchanting antics of Danny Kaye, and his version of the title song will last forever.. This movie is a must-see for anyone who appreciates "old movies", regardless of whether or not it is the holiday season.

Did you know?

  • Who doesn't know and love that song? Irving Berlin wrote it in 1940. Bing Crosby first performed it on December 25, 1941, on his CBS radio show. In May 1942 he recorded it, and in August of that year, he could be seen singing it on screen in the hit movie Holiday Inn. Soon it was at the top of the charts, where it remained for eleven weeks, and in early 1943 it won the Oscar® for Best Song. It hit #1 again in 1945 and 1947 and went on to hold the record as all-time bestselling single for over 50 years. (The song that finally knocked it down to #2? Elton John's 1997 recording of "Candle in the Wind," with lyrics rewritten to honor the late Princess Diana.)
  • The original idea was to reunite Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby, as they had been successful in Holiday Inn (1942). Astaire refused, as he had "retired" at the time, so the part was reworked for Donald O'Connor. O'Connor pulled out, and the part was reworked for Danny Kaye.
  • According to author David Leopold (Irving Berlin's Show Business), Kaye asked for a huge paycheck - $200,000 plus ten percent of the gross - never expecting that it would be accepted. But Paramount realized that waiting for O'Connor would cost them about that much, and they bit the bullet
  • White Christmas it was the highest-grossing film of 1954 ($12 million); it was the biggest hit of director Michael Curtiz's career; co-stars Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye were ranked at the time as the #1 and #3 box office stars in the country; and "White Christmas" was already the most successful song in American history .
  • Paramount chose White Christmas to be its first movie produced in VistaVision, the studio's widescreen answer to CinemaScope
  • Even though Betty was the elder of the Haynes sisters, Rosemary Clooney was actually seven years younger than Vera-Ellen in real life.

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