Classic Or Contemporary? Miracle On 34th Street (1947)

When you hear Miracle on 34th Street, what do you think of? Do you think of the original or the remake?

If I am being honest, for many years I had no idea that there was an original film, as I thought the 1994 version was the first version made. I was pleasantly surprised a few years ago to find out about the 1947 original. I have always loved the remake, so I settled down on the sofa to watch this version, and I was not disappointed!

If you have yet to see Miracle of 34th Street, the story follows young Susan Walker, played by the future famous Natalie Wood, who lives with her mother in New York. Susan’s mother has never been one for fairytales and imagination, so Susan does not believe in Santa Claus. However, after a meeting with a special department store Santa, Susan begins to think maybe there is such a thing as Santa and goes about spreading the Christmas spirit, especially to her mother. When Santa gets in trouble, it is up to Susan, her mother and their neighbour Fred to help him out.

Natalie Wood playing Susan would eventually become a famous adult Hollywood actress, staring in Rebel Without a Cause and West Side Story. There can be no doubt that her abilities as an actress were already stapled as a child; she is brilliant in this film. As is the adult cast including Maureen O’Hara as her mother, and Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle, who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film.

On release, this film was a critical success, and regarded as one of the best films released in 1947. It is now well and truly a Christmas Classic. With a heart-warming message and the beautiful surroundings of New York playing a central role in the film, this is a festive favourite which can be enjoyed with all of the family. If you have seen the 1994 remake or have yet to see either version of Miracle on 34th Street, may I recommend this version before the remake – you won’t regret seeking it out!

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About writingsuzanne

History graduate. Freelance writer and reviewer. Passionate about film, theatre and music (film soundtracks!).
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