Stars: Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Gene Lockhart, Natalie Wood
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Runtime: 96 minutes
Anyone skeptical of updated retreads of Christmas movie classics may be genuinely surprised by this 1994 version of Miracle on 34th Street. Based on the 1947 holiday classic, this new Miracle sticks close to the original's story, though it offers more contemporary, crisper pacing and a tone curiously more reflective--even sorrowful--than before. Richard Attenborough is charming and twinkly as Kris Kringle, the part that won Edmund Gwenn an Oscar. Mara Wilson is the little New York City girl who doesn't believe in Santa Claus until Kris persuades her otherwise. Elizabeth Perkins is her hardened mother, and Dylan McDermott plays the handsome lawyer next door who defends Kris during an insanity hearing. While screenwriter John Hughes has toughened up the dialogue a bit, and McDermott's intensity looks like a dry run for his then- future role on television's The Practice, this Miracle is as persuasively sweet as the one previous. --Tom Keogh
All right, you go back and tell them that the New York State Supreme Court rules there's no Santa Claus. It's all over the papers. The kids read it and they don't hang up their stockings. Now what happens to all the toys that are supposed to be in those stockings? Nobody buys them. The toy manufacturers are going to like that; so they have to lay off a lot of their employees, union employees. Now you got the CIO and the AF of L against you and they're going to adore you for it and they're going to say it with votes. Oh, and the department stores are going to love you too and the Christmas card makers and the candy companies. Ho ho. Henry, you're going to be an awful popular fella. And what about the Salvation Army? Why, they got a Santa Claus on every corner, and they're taking a fortune. But you go ahead Henry, you do it your way. You go on back in there and tell them that you rule there is no Santy Claus. Go on. But if you do, remember this: you can count on getting just two votes, your own and that district attorney's out there.
Judge Henry X. Harper:
The District Attorney's a Republican.
You see, Mrs. Walker, this is quite an opportunity for me. For the past 50 years or so I've been getting more and more worried about Christmas. Seems we're all so busy trying to beat the other fellow in making things go faster and look shinier and cost less that Christmas and I are sort of getting lost in the shuffle.
Your Honor, every one of these letters is addressed to Santa Claus. The Post Office has delivered them. Therefore the Post Office Department, a branch of the Federal Governent, recognizes this man Kris Kringle to be the one and only Santa Claus.
Judge Henry X. Harper:
Uh, since the United States Government declares this man to be Santa Claus, this court will not dispute it. Case dismissed.
There's no such thing as giants.
What about the one Jack killed?
Jack? Jack who?
Jack from "Jack and the Beanstalk".
I never heard of that.
Sure you have. You must have forgotten. It's a fairy tale.
Oh... one of those. I don't know any of those. My mother thinks they're silly.
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