The Two Gay Geeks and our Staff are taking a much needed break from Thanksgiving through the end of the year, but we still wanted to have content for you to read during that time. As such we got busy and watched all of our favorite holiday videos. Some are classics and others are off-beat and loosely associated with the holidays. We hope you enjoy our offerings and that you holiday season is safe, sane, and satisfying.
It’s Christmas Eve during World War II and we see a group of young soldiers enjoying an impromptu cabaret type show in the ruins of what appears to be a village in Germany. Captain Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Private Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) are doing a tap dance routine, after which the Captain serenades the troops with “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” They are met by their commanding officer, General Waverly (Dean Jagger), who is leaving this particular theater of war and is presumably heading back stateside. As the troops break up they find themselves under attack and Pvt. Davis saves Capt. Wallace from a falling building, only to have is own arm injured in the process. Later, Capt. Wallace visits Pvt. Davis in the infirmary, and Davis presents Wallace with a song. When the Captain tells him that he works solo and that the song is for two people, Pvt. Davis uses his arm injury as a means of manipulating the Captain into saying yes.
And so it begins…
The war has ended and the team of Wallace and Davis are taking the entertainment world by storm. Starting with a radio show and then moving to a stage show they ultimately become a huge hit. They are then introduced to the Haynes Sisters through some manipulation by one of the sisters, Judy Haynes (Vera Ellen). Big sister Betty (Rosemary Clooney) sees that it’s a ruse, but that doesn’t stop them from meeting Wallace and Davis. The next day the Haynes Sisters are leaving for Vermont as they are booked at an Inn for the holidays, and Davis wants for both he and Wallace to join them. They get there only to see that their old commanding officer, General Waverly, is the owner and manager of the Inn.
Times are tough for the General, so the four entertainers put their collective heads together and try to stage a huge show to bring in people and raise money to save the Inn. Wallace decides to go a bit further and wants to create a reunion with all of the soldiers from that Christmas Eve.
Some minor miscommunication takes place between Wallace and Betty, but ultimately all is sorted out and they put on a phenomenal show, just in time for the first Christmas snow to start falling and for the big reprise of the song “White Christmas.”
White Christmas is all about the touchy-feely-schmaltzy good stuff that came out of Hollywood in that era. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye were already big names in the movies as they sing, dance, and perform comedy. Of course in the case of Danny Kaye he raises that bar to an unbelievable level. However, if we’re going to address dancing then attention must be paid to Vera Ellen as Judy Haynes. She was the real dancer of this cast and what she did in this movie proves it. With a waist size about as big as my thigh, and wearing the most ridiculous of high-heeled pumps, does some of the most amazing dance moves and could do a rapid-fire tapping like nobody’s business. As for Rosemary Clooney, she was best known for singing, but agreed to do this film because Bing was in it, and also because she was promised a song of her own to sing. Interestingly enough she ended up doing a sort of double duty because Vera Ellen couldn’t sing, much in the same way that Rosemary couldn’t dance. So, Vera handled all of the heavy dancing duties, and when it came to the singing Rosemary provided the singing voice for both her character of Betty and sister Judy.
The simple fact is that White Christmas is a fluff piece of a movie. Musicals of that day were comprised of very simplistic plots that served as a means to showcase production numbers and this movie is clearly no exception, but it is only after adding the romantic feel of the holidays does White Christmas then become a true yuletide, and traditional, classic.
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