Following the in-depth analysis of the movie 'Miracle on 34th Street', it is evidenced that, the story is pegged on the Christmas classic events and cinematic explorations (Davies, 2013). Notably, as events unfold in the movie, it begins with a thanksgiving day in New York City which presided major events in the entire movie. Significantly, this research paper intends to explore the movie 'Miracle on 34th Street' by providing critical analysis as well as a useful movie review.To begin with, 'the miracle on 34th Street' is a 1994 Christmas themed movie based on a story by Valentine Davies (Davies, 2013). It presents a perfect fantasy aligned with comical creation as depicted in it. On the same account, it is worth acknowledging the absolute fact that, the movie is written and directed by the renowned award-winning artist, George Seaton. The movie, initially released in the United Kingdom as 'The Big Heart,' features incredible characters such as Edmund Gwenn, who perfectly played the role of Kriss Kringle.
Kriss acts as a replacement for a drunk Santa Claus who was to initially preside over a thank giving parade at Macy's store in New York City. With Edmund Gwenn are main actors; Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara) who plays the role of events director; Fred Gailey (John Payne) as attorney and Susan (Natalie Wood) as young divorcee's daughter (Shama, 2017).
The movie commences with Macy's store organizing a thank giving day parade in New York City (Shama, 2017). The man who was initially set to take the role of Santa Claus becomes too intoxicated. Kriss Kringle fronts himself as a perfect replacement of the drank Santa and plays his new position so well that the events director, Doris Walker, decides to hire him full time. Twist of events unfolds when Kriss chooses to direct a customer to a competitor's store by the name Gimble. The customer getting impressed with Kris' gesture, thanks to the toy department head and promises that she will be their loyal regular customer. Kris' likable character and love for children draws in a lot of customers. On the other hand, Fred, an attorney and also a neighbour to Doris and Susan decides to visit Santa with the young divorcee's daughter, Susan. Kris had initially claimed that he is the real Santa and much to Doris' anger, who rejected this notion, he goes on to inform Susan that indeed he is the one. This assertion irritates Doris to the point that she ends up firing Kris. When Kris visited Macy's psychiatrist for evaluation, he ended up passing the test. Macy, having realized the influence of Kris on the growth on her store, she decides to retain Kris. Macy's store had grown large on account of referring customers to competitor's stores. Competitor Gimble upon realizing the success of this policy also decides to adopt the same. Kris ultimately succeeds in reconciling bitter rivals, Gimple, and Macy (Manta, 2016).A physician from a memorial home where Kris stays, Pierce (James Seay), visits Macy's looking for Santa. Doris questions him whether Kris poses a threat to anyone at the nursing home which he denies. Kris would later get involved in a heated argument with Sawyer, the psychiatric. Kris claims that Sawyer had been discussing him with a young employee, Alfred, over his unstable condition which sawyer relates to Kris' kind-heartedness. The argument results in Kris hitting sawyer with an umbrella on the head. Sawyer exaggerates his pain to ensure Kris is locked up. Kris ends up willingly failing his examination after being set up to believe that Doris lied to him. Macy suggests that he be permanently committed.
The matter eventually ends up in court with judge Henry X. Harper (Gene Lockhart) presiding over the case. A heated argument ensues in the courtroom. Thomas Mara, the District Attorney, pleads with the judge to render a ruling that Kris is not the real Santa as perceived. Fred refutes this claim and insists that Kris is in his normal senses while making such claims. Harper's principal political consultant, Charley Halloran, in privacy, cautions him to be much careful with his ruling since that would end up jeopardizing his political dream of seeking reelection. Doris, on the other hand, picks up a quarrel with Fred over his decision to resign from his well paying occupation to be part of Kris' defence team. Macy joins in as a witness after being invited by Fred. Mara questions her if indeed it's true that Kris is Santa. She becomes quiescent for some time, seemingly trying to recall how Kris had been so nice to her. She eventually agrees that he is Santa. Macy then decides to sack sawyer probably due to mistrust. Fred again invites Mara's little son to the courtroom so that he too can give his testimony. The kid testifies that his father, Mara, had at one point told him that Santa does exist and is real. Mara concurs with his son's statement. Mara, with his determination to win the case, requests Fred to provide concrete proof to the court that Kris is the only Santa and non exists other than him. While Fred helplessly tries to prove this, Susan commends Kris through a letter signed by Doris. This letter lands in the hands of a New York Post Office employee who is responsible for sorting out letters. He finds the letter addressed to 'Santa Claus' and decides to deliver them all to him in the courtroom. After almost losing hope in the case due to his failure to prove that Kris is the only Santa, Fred gets relief after a court official informs him of the letters. The hearing commences and Fred hands over three of the letters to the judge. The letters are addressed merely to 'Santa Claus' and explicitly delivered to Kris. The judge then demands to have with him all the letters which Fred unwillingly gives him. Fred then tells the court that even the United States Post Office recognizes Kris to be the only Santa Claus. The judge (Harper) then affirms that since it is true that the United States Post Office Office, a government branch has recognized Kris as Santa Claus, he has no choice but to consent. Kris wins the case.
The following morning, on a Christmas day, Kris fails to gift Susan what she expected, highly disappointing her. Kris suggests that Fred and Doris take on another road that had less traffic. Along the way, Susan notices and admires a house on sale. Fred suggests that they get married and buy the house. Fred then boasts of his success in proving that Kris was Santa. He again doubts Kris after seeing a stick that exactly resembled his.
The movie creation presents a perfect piece of art, full of thrill, fun, and anxiety, to produce a highly enjoyable and entertaining experience. A viewer instantly hooks into the movie after simply grasping its theme and relating that to its production design. It revolves around a 'Santa Claus' while at the same time it is on a Christmas Eve. Another commendable aspect is the lighting. It is perfectly balanced and controlled throughout the entire movie length, and adjusted to match and fit every scenery. The preferred costume, especially for the Santa Claus, perfectly played by Edmund Gwenn, a drama genius, suitably marches the play. Despite these incredible combinations of creations, I feel the movie would create confusion among the Christian faithful. For instance, why would the government, through the court, a politically constructed institution, dictate who the real Santa Claus is, in-spite of Santa Claus directly associated with Christianity? And to add to that, why was Santa acquitted of the charges even though he assaulted Sawyer? These worrying questions signify an apparent failure by the producers to perfectly link the theme to the existing religious norms and traditions. It is good to reckon that politics and religion are completely separated and that federal law does not dictate religious doctrines. The movie also portrays the court as unjust and corrupt when judge Henry X. Harper is informed by his political adviser, Charlie Halloran, not to heed to Mara's call that he issue a ruling that Santa does not exist. He warns him that doing so would make him fail his reelection bid. This advice only proves that the decision the judge settled on was primarily influenced by his interest rather than of the interested parties.
Most of the acts in this play also prove a culturally and politically complex society, with almost all possible characters presented. Kris perfectly plays the role of an impersonator when he decides to take the place of the drunken Santa at Macy's. He undoubtedly fits in the task considering his old, bearded face and love for children. All these bring in a character one would expect from a real Santa Claus. His success in reconciling business rivals, Gimble and Macy portray the benefits of the act of forgiveness, an action from which both benefited. Maureen O'Hara (Doris Walker) proves to be a strong woman who maintains her stand and sticks to what she believes in. She continuously insisted that Kris is not real Santa and even told her daughter to think the same.
The movie so far brings through a perfect moral lesson to society. All the acts and characters depicted here mirrors what goes on among social interrelations. To point out, it revolves around the creation of interpersonal conflicts, as in societies, then coming up with possible acceptable solutions from which we can learn. For instance, when Gimble and Macy's stores had long term rivalry, Kris comes in to resolve this difference unusually. He refers customers from Macy's store to Gimbles for assistance. Macy at first does not find this right, but when he starts experiencing a surge in customers, who streams-in based on the kind gesture from Kris, he changes his mind. Gimble too adopts the same, and mutual friendship between the two stores develops. I this masterpiece of high-level creativity is one to bet on come every Christmas season. The fun is timeless!
Davies, V. (2013). Miracle on 34th Street. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Manta, I. D. (2016). Branded. SMUL Rev., 69, 713.
Shama, G. (2017). Miracle near 34th street: wartime penicillin research at St John's University, NY. Endeavour, 41(4), 217-220
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