Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 12/23/00
Miracle on 34th
1947 (1999) - 20th Century
review by Greg Suarez of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B/B/D-
Specs and Features
97 mins, NR, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, single-layered,
Amaray keep case packaging, theatrical trailer, film-themed menu
screens with animation and music, scene access (21 chapters),
languages: English and French (DD Mono), subtitles: English and
Spanish, Closed Captioned
Okay, so Miracle on 34th Street
isn't about finding the true meaning of Christmas. But it does
address a problem that has grown to gargantuan proportions in the
last half of the 20th century: the over-commercialism of Christmas.
And, if that weren't enough, it looks like there are some people out
there who have lost their faith in, well
faith. There's only
one guy who can make this right - Santa Claus.
It's just another Christmas season for stuffy, single-mom Doris
(Maureen O'Hara) and her equally stuffy daughter, Susan (Natalie
Wood). A broken heart long ago caused Macy department store
executive Doris to be cynical about life - an attitude she passed on
to her daughter. They don't believe in fairy tales, magic or Santa
Clause for that matter. But when Doris unknowingly hires the real,
honest-to-goodness Santa Clause (Edmund Gwenn in an Oscar-winning
role) to play himself at the store, good ol' Kris Kringle makes it
his mission to become friends with Doris and Susan, and turn them
around. Kris slowly tears down the pair's sad facade, and wins their
hearts and faith. However, Kris gets into trouble, when the state of
New York wants to throw him in the nut house for claiming to be the
real Santa Claus. Kris won the hearts of his new friends, but can he
convince the entire state of New York?
Putting aside the glaring irony that the filmmakers are preaching
about the over-commercialization of Christmas by making Santa Claus
the savior of the characters, Miracle on
34th Street is truly a heart warming and classic holiday
film. Edmund Gwenn is the reason. His portrayal of Kris Kringle is
sincere and completely touching in every respect. I mean this guy
really IS Santa! He has enough twinkle in his eyes, charm in his
character and love in his voice to succeed in being the most
convincing Santa Claus in the history of film.
Fox has presented Miracle on 34th Street
on DVD in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The black
and white image is good with decent shadow delineation, and an
impressive gray scale. Print damage is never an issue a - the film
is in as good of shape as you can expect for its age. My only issue
with this disc is that the image looks overly hard and "digital"
- maybe a little too much edge enhancement was used. The monaural
audio is aged, but acceptable, without harshness or excessive hiss.
As for extras, the theatrical trailer is the only present you'll
find in this stocking.
Miracle on 34th Street remains
a true holiday classic, and has captivated children young and old
for more than five decades. The story is as timely now as it's ever
been, reminding people that faith is believing when common sense
tells you not to. We all gotta believe in something, and I for one
still believe in the big guy in red!