starring Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, Gene Lockhart
screenplay by George Seaton, based on the story by Valentine Davies
directed by George Seaton
by Alex Jackson George Seaton's Miracle on 34th Street isn't my Christmas movie of choice. My most potent movie memory of Christmas is actually watching the Star Wars trilogy when it was broadcast on the USA network however many years ago. Accordingly, I make it a point of marking the holiday by watching some kind of Star Wars-like "deep reality" science-fiction or fantasy film, such as The Lord of the Rings, or Blade Runner. A couple years back, I watched The Passion of the Christ. But I digress. Of all the major Christmas movie cults--including those surrounding A Christmas Story, It's a Wonderful Life, Elf, and 1951's A Christmas Carol--the Miracle on 34th Street cult is the one with which I'd most want to spend the holidays. The film manages to be irreverent without becoming sacrilegious and sentimental without becoming saccharine. It's a pretty silly film, but I guess you could say that it's serious about being silly. It values silliness for its restorative, therapeutic quality.