Last week I asked you what your favorite holiday-movie houses were and was amazed by the number of tweets, Facebook comments, and emails that came pouring in. One of the most mentioned was the classic Miracle on 34th Street, starring a precocious 8-year old Natalie Wood as the little girl who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus.
My favorite part of the movie has always been when Susan sees her dream house and realizes that Kris Kringle has gotten it for her. That made a big impression on me as a kid. “You mean I can ask Santa for a HOUSE?”
Maureen O’Hara starred as Doris Walker, a single mom who works for Macy’s, organizing the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Let’s take a look at her New York City apartment. There are curtains on either side of the entry:
The movie was deemed “morally objectionable” by the Legion of Decency at the time because it featured a divorced woman. We see her neighbor Fred Gailey does a double-take when Susan tells him that her parents divorced when she was a baby.
It was also less common to see a successful professional woman onscreen in 1947, when the movie came out.
Edmund Gwenn played the kind-hearted old man who insists he’s Kris Kringle. He’s still one of my favorite onscreen Santas.
One of my favorite things to see in old movies are the kitchens because those are the rooms that have probably changed more than any other over the years. Considering how roomy the rest of the apartment is, this one is pretty cozy!
Fred (played by John Payne) had the perfect view of the parade from this windowseat:
The impressive scenes of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade were footage of the actual parade held in 1946. Edmund Gwenn was really Santa that year, too. They had to get all the shots they needed that day because retakes were impossible to get later.
In the end, Susan thinks Kris Kringle hasn’t come through for her, but she keeps telling herself, “I believe. I believe,” as she’s riding in a car with Fred and her mother. Then she sees the simple Cape Cod she had wished for with a “For Sale” sign in the yard.
I still get chills every time she cries, “Stop, Uncle Fred, stop!” and then runs up to the front door.
A few of you mentioned that you love the remake of this movie that John Hughes cowrote and produced in 1994, so I watched it again last night, too. Susan’s dream house in that version is a big, beautiful yellow house that is fully furnished and decorated for Christmas. We’ll take a look at that one next Monday! (Did you see which Christmas-movie house got the most votes in last week’s poll?)
P.S. Maureen O’Hara was in another classic that features great sets: The Parent Trap.
Looking for photos from your favorite movie? Check the list!