No. 95: White Christmas
The melancholy beauty of sacred-secular America
1954, dir. Michael Curtiz. Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” was introduced in a different film, the charming 1942 musical Holiday Inn. But it’s this 1954 remake that has stuck around. The plot is dopey, the dance sequences awkward, the palate garishly Technicolor. In other words: It’s a tinsel-swathed vision of Christmas at the affluent height of the Eisenhower era, with Bing Crosby presiding beneficently over the proceedings in a retina-scalding bright red Santa suit. The centerpiece, of course, is a Russian-Jewish immigrant’s hymn to the sacred-secular All-American festival: Berlin’s timeless title song, with melancholic beauty that cuts through all the glitz.