#ReelInfatuation Blogathon: Part II-White Christmas (1954) Overview…with Lots of Pics

This is Part II of my contribution to the  #ReelInfatuation Blogathon, which I’m co-hosting with Ruth of Silver Screenings. You can find Part I here.

The focus of this whole thing is, of course, Dean Jagger as General Waverly. I took care of that in Part I. Part II is just an overview of the film itself, which is so well-known as to be part of our cultural fabric. Part III will cover the amazing fashions featured in the film.

Vera-Ellen Reel Infatuation Banner

Vera-Ellen Reel Infatuation Banner

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Irving Berlin's White Christmas

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas

Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) are two entertainers serving in the Army in WWII. They’re not very good soldiers, but they are worth their weight in songs.

The Entertainment

The Entertainment

It is

Christmas Eve 1944

Christmas Eve 1944

and their beloved Commanding Officer, Major General Thomas F. Waverly (Dean Jagger), is retiring.

General Waverly

General Waverly

They send him off in style:

We'll Follow the Old Man

We’ll Follow the Old Man

We’ve already been informed that “there’s no Christmas in the Army.” That idea is brought home when Phil saves Bob from being crushed by a crumbling wall.

Saving a Life

Saving a Life

In true movie fashion, Phil believes this means that Bob is stuck with him. Forever. Or, at least until Bob gets a wife.

"I've kind of written a little song."

“I’ve kind of written a little song.”

Bob will never have peace again…especially after V-E Day:

Wallace-Davis Act Boffo

Wallace-Davis Act Boffo

Before you can say, “success story,” it’s a decade later: December 1954. Bob and Phil meet up with another talented duo, The Haynes Sisters.

Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy (Vera-Ellen) are finishing a gig in Miami, and then they depart in a hurry for Vermont. The boys follow.

Whirlwind Montage #1:

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When they disembark in Vermont they are in for two surprises. #1-It is seventy degrees. #2-The General owns the inn where the sisters are due to perform over the holidays. He has a sweet granddaughter named Susan (Ann Whitfield) and The Worst Employee in Vermont, Emma the housekeeper (Mary Wickes).

Whirlwind Montage #2:

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Up until now, the plot has been helped along by a few convenient lies. However, from here on out the whole film is lie-driven. Lie after lie after lie. Details don’t really matter, but The General has no idea what is about to hit him. He suffers a huge career disappointment, but his friends are sure to make things right. There are also some fine production numbers, two romances (but of course!) and amazing costumes.

Whirlwind Montage #3:

In the case of White Christmas, deceit really does pay off. The General has a heartwarming reunion with his old battalion. All’s well that ends well is based on a solid foundation of lies.

Whirlwind Montage #4:

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The End

The End

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WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954) 2 HOURS

RELEASE DATE: 14 OCTOBER 1954

CREDITS: MICHAEL CURTIZ (DIRECTOR); NORMAN KRASNA, NORMAN PANAMA, MELVIN FRANK (WRITTEN FOR THE SCREEN BY); LOYAL GRIGGS (DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY); EDITH HEAD (COSTUME DESIGN). STARRING: BING CROSBY (BOB WALLACE); DANNY KAYE (PHIL DAVIS); ROSEMARY CLOONEY (BETTY HAYNES); VERA-ELLEN (JUDY HAYNES); DEAN JAGGER (MAJOR GENERAL THOMAS F. WAVERLY); MARY WICKES (EMMA ALLEN); JOHN BRASCIA (JOHN); ANN WHITFIELD (SUSAN WAVERLY).

FUN FACTS:

  • White Christmas was the first film in VistaVision.
  • The photo used to represent the Haynes Sisters’ brother Bennie was of actor Carl Switzer (best known as “Alfalfa” from the Our Gang comedies).
  • Although Rosemary Clooney played the elder Haynes sister, in real life she was seven years younger than Vera-Ellen (Judy). In a similar vein, Dean Jagger (The General/”The Old Man”) was actually six months younger than Bing Crosby.
  • Three of the film’s performers were from the metro Cincinnati, Ohio area. Rosemary Clooney grew up across the river in Kentucky, and both Vera-Ellen and George Chakiris (uncredited dancer) were born in suburban Norwood, Ohio. (Extra Fun Fact: I lived in Norwood from 2013-2015. I don’t recommend it.)
VistaVision

VistaVision

Brother Bennie the Dog-Faced Boy

Brother Bennie the Dog-Faced Boy

Up Next: Part III-The Most Stylish Sisters of 1954

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8 thoughts on “#ReelInfatuation Blogathon: Part II-White Christmas (1954) Overview…with Lots of Pics

  1. Pingback: #ReelInfatuation Blogathon: The Most Stylish Sisters of 1954 | Font and Frock

  2. Pingback: #ReelInfatuation Blogathon: Links to My Posts About Dean Jagger in White Christmas | A Small Press Life

    • It’s currently on Netflix, at least in the US.

      Yeah, after re-watching it a few times for this blogathon I realized that the whole thing is based on a series of lies and manipulations. And that Emma is an awful person who needs to be fired.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: #ReelInfatuation Blogathon: Day 2 – Silver Screenings

  4. I love this movie and watch it at least once a week. I find it a very comforting movie and when I watch it I know that nothing bad can happen. I would love, to find an inn to frequent that looks like the Columbia Inn. Maybe someone, with a lot of money, should look at re-inventing the look of the Columbia Inn. Of course, I might not hire Emma as the housekeeper, but she would be great fun as the inn’s ‘concierge’:).

    Betty

    Like

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