Short review: A series of conniving schemes culminate in a reunion of Army buddies as a gift to an aging retired General and two romantic couples pairing off.
Wallace and Davis
Meet, romance the Haynes sisters
Full review: White Christmas is a movie musical built around an Oscar-winning song from an entirely different musical. In 1942, Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire starred alongside Virginia Dale in Holiday Inn, a movie about a retired stage performer who runs a specialty inn in Connecticut that is only open on holidays, complete with themed entertainment for the guests who show up on those particular dates. White Christmas was among the songs included in Holiday Inn, and twelve years later someone decided it would be a great idea to make another movie, this time centered entirely around that song.
The original idea behind the White Christmas movie was to reunite Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, as it was a fairly common practice to pair up a singing lead like Crosby with a dancing lead like Astaire, sometimes even throwing in a comedic lead such as was done in On the Town where singer Frank Sinatra, dancer Gene Kelly, and comic actor Jules Munshin held the lead roles. Unfortunately, Astaire declined to be in the movie after reading the script. Looking for a capable actor to place opposite Crosby, the studio hired Donald O'Connor to take the place declined by Astaire. When Donald O'Connor had to drop out due to illness, Danny Kaye was recruited at the last minute to take over the part. One has to imagine that the movie would have been quite different with Astaire in the dancing lead role, and a number of staging decisions seem to have been made with Donald O'Connor in mind, as he was not quite as accomplished as a dancer when compared to Astaire, and may have not been as good as Danny Kaye.
|The first time Bing sings|
White Christmas in the movie
|The Haynes Sisters floor show act.|
|This is the one time Kaye gets a|
big dance number as Vera-Ellen's
|This is the funny version|
|Everyone singing about snow that won't|
be there when they reach Vermont.
|At least they aren't in blackface|
|Scheming up a fake engagement that Judy wants to be real|
|I'm mad, but I won't tell anyone why|
|Rosemary and four of her dancing boys|
|Wishing they were on|
Uncle Sam's payroll again
|The big finale. Won't those ballet dancers and everyone|
in the audience get cold with that barn door open?
1 Actually, only one sister sings in the song as Vera-Ellen's singing was dubbed for the entire movie. For most of the songs, her singing voice was dubbed by Trudy Stevens, but for the song Sisters, Rosemary Clooney sang both parts.
2 In Holiday Inn, the song Abraham was performed with the entire cast in blackface. Apparently, at one point the intent was to perform The Minstrel Number in this movie in blackface as well, but someone thankfully thought better of the idea before it was filmed. As it is, the number is still somewhat embarrassing, as the minstrel shows that the singers pine for in the lyrics were performances in which white people dressed in blackface and portrayed fairly racist caricatures of African-Americans. The routine relating to "Mr. Bones" involving references to Mr. Bones, Mr. Interlocutor, and a joke relating to misunderstanding what a word means, are direct references to these sorts of racially offensive performances.
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