MIRACLE ON 34th STREET
DIRECTED BY GEORGE SEATON
PRODUCED BY WILLIAM PERLBERG
MUSIC BY CYRIL. J. MOCKRIDGE
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Information from IMDb
At the Macy's Department Store Thanksgiving Day parade,
the actor playing Santa is discovered to be drunk by a whiskered old man.
Doris Walker, the no nonsense special events director,
persuades the old man to take his place.
The old man proves to be a sensation and is quickly recruited
to be the store Santa at the main Macy's outlet.
While he is successful, Ms. Walker learns that he calls himself Kris Kringle
and he claims to be the actual Santa Claus.
Despite reassurances by Kringle's doctor that he is harmless,
Doris still has misgivings, especially when she has cynically trained herself,
and especially her daughter, Susan, to reject all notions of belief and fantasy.
And yet, people, especially Susan, begin to notice there is something
special about Kris and his determination to advance the true spirit
of Christmas amidst the rampant commercialism around him and succeeding
in improbable ways. When a raucous conflict with the store's cruelly
incompetent psychologist erupts, Kris finds himself held at Bellevue where,
in despair, he deliberates fails a mental examination to ensure his commitment.
All seems lost until Doris' friend, Fred Gaily, reassure Kris of his worth
and agrees to represent him in the fight to secure his release.
To achieve that, Fred arranges a formal hearing in which he argues that Kris
is sane because he is in fact Santa Claus.
What ensues is a bizarre hearing in which people's beliefs are reexamined
and put to the test, but even so, it's going to take a miracle for Kris to win.
Written by Kenneth Chisholm
Maureen O'Hara .... Doris Walker
John Payne .... Fred Gailey
Edmund Gwenn .... Kris Kringle
Gene Lockhart .... Judge Henry X. Harper
Natalie Wood .... Susan Walker
Porter Hall .... Granville Sawyer
William Frawley .... Charlie Halloran
Jerome Cowan .... Dist. Atty. Thomas Mara
Philip Tonge .... Julian Shellhammer
Jack Albertson .... Post Office mail sorter next to Lou (uncredited)
Harry Antrim .... Mr. R. H. Macy (uncredited)
Lela Bliss .... Mrs. Shellhammer (uncredited)
Walden Boyle .... Judge's Clerk (uncredited)
Kevin Burke .... Child on Santa's lap (uncredited)
Dorothy Christy .... Secretary (uncredited)
Jeff Corey .... Reporter (uncredited)
Teddy Driver .... Terry (uncredited)
Mary Field .... Dutch Girl's Adopted Mother (uncredited)
William Forrest .... Doctor Rogers at Bellevue (uncredited)
Jack Gargan .... Chauffeur (uncredited)
Robert Gist .... Department Store Window Dresser (uncredited)
Jane Green .... Mrs. Harper (uncredited)
Alvin Greenman .... Alfred (uncredited)
Alvin Hammer .... George (uncredited)
Theresa Harris .... Cleo (uncredited)
Percy Helton .... Drunken Santa Claus (uncredited)
Herbert Heyes .... Mr. Gimble (uncredited)
Clark Howat .... Extra in Macy's Lunchroom (uncredited)
Richard Irving .... Reporter (uncredited)
Robert Karnes .... Second Bellevue Interne (uncredited)
Fran Lee .... Customer (uncredited)
Marlene Lyden .... Dutch Girl (uncredited)
Robert Lynn .... Macy Salesman (uncredited)
Mae Marsh .... Woman in Santa Line (uncredited)
Ida McGuire .... Drum Majorette (uncredited)
Joseph McInerney .... Bailiff (uncredited)
Jean O'Connell .... Miss Adams (uncredited)
Anne O'Neal .... Secretary to Mr. Sawyer (uncredited)
Gil Perkins .... Court Officer Bearing Mail (uncredited)
'Snub' Pollard .... Mail-Bearing Court Officer (uncredited)
Lorin Raker .... Macy Salesman (uncredited)
Bob Reeves .... Bit Role (uncredited)
Thelma Ritter .... Peter's Mother (uncredited)
Stephen Roberts .... Security Guard (uncredited)
Jeffrey Sayre .... Courtroom Reporter (uncredited)
James Seay .... Dr. Pierce (uncredited)
Harry Seymour .... Studio Exec in Trailer Only (uncredited)
Irene Shirley .... R.H. Macy's Secretary (uncredited)
Patty Smith .... Alice (uncredited)
Ann Staunton .... Mrs. Mara (uncredited)
Brick Sullivan .... Guard (uncredited)
Anthony Sydes .... Peter (uncredited)
Guy Thomajan .... Lou (uncredited)
Basil Walker .... Bellevue Interne (uncredited)
Valentine Davies (story)
George Seaton (written by)
Charles G. Clarke
Despite the fact that the film is set during Christmas, studio head Darryl F. Zanuck insisted that it be released in May because he argued that more people went to the movies during the summer. So the studio began scrambling to promote it while keeping the fact that it was a Christmas movie a secret.
Maureen O'Hara was ultimately forced into her role against her will, as she had just returned to Ireland before being called back to America for the film. However, she immediately changed her sentiments upon reading the script.
There are 21 mail bags carried into the courtroom at the end of Kris's hearing.
Natalie Wood was eight years old when she made this film.
Thelma Ritter's screen debut.
20th Century-Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck was very much against making this film because he thought it too corny to succeed. He finally agreed to a medium-sized budget provided writer/director George Seaton would accept his next three assignments unconditionally. Seaton, who desperately wanted to get the picture made, agreed.
When Dr. Pierce explains Kris' belief that he is Santa Claus, he offers for comparative purposes a Hollywood restaurant owner who believes himself to be a Russian prince despite evidence to the contrary, but rather conveniently fails to recall the man's name. This was a reference to Michael Romanoff, owner of Romanoff's in Hollywood, a popular hangout for movie stars at the time.
2006: Ranked #9 on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time.
Ranked #5 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Fantasy" in June 2008.
The scenes of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade are of the actual parade held in 1946. As such, careful preparation was necessary for the shots as retakes were obviously out of the question. 20th Century-Fox had cameras positioned along the parade route at the starting line at 77th Street, on Central Park West, on the 3rd floor of an apartment building at 253 West 58th Street, in Herald Square and on 34th Street at 7th Avenue.
Cinematographer Charles G. Clarke was taken off the picture and sent to Mexico to finish principal photography on the troubled production of Captain from Castile. Lloyd Ahern replaced him.
In the untranslated dialogue with the Dutch girl, Santa Claus asks the child what she wants for Christmas the girl says she wants nothing, telling Santa she got her gift by being adopted by her new mother.
Unbeknownst to most parade watchers, Edmund Gwenn played Santa Claus in the actual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade held November 28, 1946. He fulfilled the duties of most parade Santas, including addressing the crowd from the marquee of Macy's after the parade was over. He was introduced to the crowd by actor Philip Tonge (he played Mr. Shellhammer in the movie) and he later unveiled the mechanical Christmas display windows to the accompaniment of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite." This gesture symbolized the opening of the Christmas shopping season at the store.
According to Hedda Hopper's "Looking at Hollywood" newspaper column of May 3, 1947 "when the picture opens at the Roxy, Macy's will close for half a day so it's 12,000 employees can see the first showing."
Both the actual Macy's and Gimbels department stores were approached by the producers for permission to have them depicted in the film. Both stores wanted to see the finished film first before they gave approval. If either store had refused, the film would have had to been extensively edited and reshot to eliminate the references. Fortunately at the test viewing, both businesses were pleased with the film and gave their permission.
The scenes at Macy's were shot on location at the main New York store on 34th Street itself. Shooting was complicated by the fact that the crew's power needs exceeded the store's electricity capacity and required additional power sources arranged in the store's basement.
The Dutch girl spoke true Dutch, but with a heavy American accent.
The role of Kris was originally offered to Cecil Kellaway, who turned it down. The role went to Edmund Gwenn, Kellaway's cousin. Cecil Kellaway did play Santa in the Bewitched script A Vision of Sugar Plums, which featured child star Bill Mumy.
"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on December 22, 1947 with Maureen O'Hara, Edmund Gwenn, John Payne and Natalie Wood reprising their film roles.
"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on December 20, 1948 with John Payne, Maureen O'Hara and Edmund Gwenn again reprising their film roles.
"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on December 21, 1954 with Edmund Gwenn again reprising his film role.
"Screen Director's Playhouse" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on December 23, 1949 with Edmund Gwenn reprising his film role.
"Screen Director's Playhouse" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on December 21, 1950 with Edmund Gwenn again reprising his film role.
Received a 'B' rating (morally objectionable in part) from the highly influential Legion of Decency because Maureen O'Hara played a divorcée.
In a separately filmed promotional trailer, actor Charles Tannen plays studio head Ed Schaeffer, a thinly disguised impersonation of Darryl F. Zanuck, and George E. Stone, Gene Nelson, and Harry Seymour play other studio executives at a mock screening of what was to be the original trailer for the film.
In a separately filmed promotional trailer, Rex Harrison, Anne Baxter, Peggy Ann Garner and Dick Haymes, all of whom were appearing in other Twentieth Century-Fox productions at the time, but not in this one, discuss the merits of the film.
The character of District Attorney Thomas Mara is clearly based on Thomas E. Dewey, a Manhattan District Attorney, who went on to become governor of New York state and twice the (unsuccessful) Republican candidate for President in 1944 and 1948. Jerome Cowan, the actor who played Mara and Dewey bear a strong physical resemblance and both wore mustaches, highly unusual for professional men of the time. Also, the Judge mentions that the District Attorney is a Republican, also a rarity back then for elected officials in New York City.
Maureen O'Hara (Doris Walker) is the last surviving cast member.
Awards: Won 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination
Crew or equipment visible: Outside the courtroom, the shadow of a camera can be seen on the pillar as Kris walks down the hall.
Plot holes: After Kris is accused of being mentally ill but before his hearing occurs, newspaper articles are shown on the screen. The headlines say that Kris will have a hearing, which is correct. But the articles say that the hearing has already occurred, and describe what happened in the courtroom. Yet that has not happened yet.
Audio/visual unsynchronized: When Kris is standing on top of the awning at Macy's after the parade, his voice says "You'll find toys of all kinds at Macy's", but his mouth is moving to totally different words.
Continuity: When Kringle is in Sawyer's office, Sawyer is alternately drumming his fingers on desk and twiddling his eyebrow between shots.
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): The judge looks to the audience's right when looking at his advisor, but the advisor is sitting on the audience's left
Continuity: When Kris is finishing up his examination, Dr. Sawyer is portrayed in a combination of three camera angles. As the angles change his hands go from raised above the desk to palms down on the desk to folded on the desk. The hands change positions continually throughout the scene.
Continuity: Several shots of the judge show a lamp on his desk. When the mail is dumped in front of him, the lamp has disappeared.
Miscellaneous: When Kris is talking to the window decorator at the beginning of the movie, the closed captioning on the DVD version shows a reindeer Kris refers to as "Donner," But when Mrs. Walker looks at his employment card later, under next of kin, the list of reindeer names shows the name "Donder." "Donder" was the original name of that reindeer in the famous poem that creates the legend of Santa Claus, but over the years since this film was made, the name has become "Donner." Obviously the closed captioning was done years after the film was made.
Continuity: Alfred's hands on the broom change positions between shots.
Factual errors: While prosecutor Mara is making his final arguments to the Judge, defense attorney Gailey is out in the hall presumably talking to the postmen. Gailey returns to the courtroom just as Mara finishes his statement. No judge would allow final arguments to proceed in the absence of the attorney for the opposing party.
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): Mr. Shellhammer tells Mrs. Walker on the phone that he made his wife's Martini's "triple strength." Since a Martini is a mixture of gin and vermouth, both of which contain alcohol, there's really no way to make it any stronger.
Anachronisms: At the last court scene Gailey said that the Post office department of the USA was found on July 26, 1776. However the post office department was found on July 26, 1775, not 1776. The fact that Benjamin Franklin was the first postmaster is correct.
19 East 61st Street, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
(store with 'mixed-up' reindeer)
Macy's Department Store - 151 West 34th Street, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
Madison Avenue, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
(Kris's walk during opening credits)
Port Washington, Long Island, New York, USA
(Susan's dream house)
Stage 3, Stage 6, 20th Century Fox Studios - 10201 Pico Blvd., Century City, Los Angeles, California, USA