Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Miracle on 34th Street" Kicks off the Holiday Movie Season

Natalie Wood and Maureen O'Hara
Does Macy's tell Gimbels?
Miracle on 34th Street, starring Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, and Natalie Wood is a true holiday classic. Released in 1947, the movie boasts some terrific location shots of New York City during the late 1940s, including interior and exteriors of the landmark Macy's department store located near Times Square.

On Location in New York City
Twentieth Century Fox film studios actually filmed the real Macy's Day Parade to lend authenticity to the production. O'Hara and Gwenn are right in the middle of all the action along the parade route which starts at 77th St. and Central Park West to Columbus Circle (59th St.), continues up Broadway to 34th St., turning at Macy's Herald Square, and ending at Seventh Ave. The Macy's Day Parade is a New York tradition that started in 1924.

Prince Charming was a rat!
The story centers around Doris Walker (O'Hara) as a busy Macy's executive and single mother trying to raise her young daughter, Susan (Wood). O'Hara believes in always being truthful with her daughter and considers myths like Santa Claus harmful. She thinks that filling up her daughter's head with a bunch of fairy stories paints an unrealistic portrait of life and leads to disappointment and heartache in adulthood. What Doris doesn't realize is that it's her own bitterness and disappointment that is driving most of her parenting decisions.

John Payne, Wood, and Edmund Gwenn
Enter an eager, young lawyer, Fred Gailey (Payne), who challenges Susan first and then Doris to believe in something bigger than themselves. When Fred finds himself proclaiming a kind, old gentleman (Gwenn) as the one and only Santa Claus in a New York City courtroom, the city and its colorful inhabitants get swept up in the spectacle.

Honored Classic
Winner of three Academy Awards, including one for Best Writing, Screenplay (George Seaton), Best Writing, Original Story (Valentine Davies), and Best Supporting Actor (Gwenn), Miracle on 34th Street is a classic for all seasons.

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