Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Did You Know Tuesday: White Christmas (1954 Movie)

White Christmas is a classic Christmas movie.  It was directed in 1954 by Michael Curtiz, and it starred Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye, and Vera Ellen.  It features wonderful songs by Irving Berlin.

When I was a little girl, this was broadcast regularly on tv channels that showed old movies, and I saw White Christmas many times with my family.  It has always been my favorite Christmas movie.

The movie tells the story of two former WWII soldiers who become entertainers.  They meet a sister act and romantic sparks fly between the two couples.  They end up all going to a picturesque inn in Vermont to put on a show.  When they arrive at the inn they discover it is owned by their former commanding officer ... and in big financial trouble.  The soldiers and the sister act decide to put on a big Christmas show to raise money to save the inn.

This is a lovely movie with great singing (Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney!), fun production numbers, and a beautiful Mid-Century Technicolor look.

I found some fun facts about the movie:

This was the most successful movie of 1954.

Danny Kaye's role was first offered to Fred Astaire, who turned it down.

The "Sisters" act, as performed by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, was not in the script.  The actors were cutting up on set, and the director kept it in the movie.

The scene where Bing Crosby tells Rosemary Clooney about foods that cause dreams was also improvised.

Bing Crosby also sang "White Christmas" in Holiday Inn and Blue Skies.

The song "Snow" (one of my favorite numbers in the musical) was originally called "Free" and had nothing to do with snow or winter. 

Rosemary Clooney played the older sister in this movie, but she was actually seven years younger than Vera Ellen.

In real life, Rosemary Clooney started out in a sister act with her sister Betty Clooney.  She was also the aunt of George Clooney!

Vera Ellen's singing voice in the movie was dubbed by Rosemary Clooney and Trudy Stevens.

At one point Vera Ellen shows the boys a picture of her brother.  It is actually a picture of Carl Switzer, who played Alfalfa in Our Gang.

Rosemary Clooney was contractually not allowed to record the songs for the soundtrack album, so she was replaced by Peggy Lee on the album.  (I have never heard the album and this trivia surprised me!)

The Vermont inn set was renovated from the set of Holiday Inn

George Chakiris, who later found fame in West Side Story, appeared in  the "Abraham" and "Mandy" dance scenes.

Bob Fosse (uncredited) did choreography for this movie.  He also danced in three numbers.

Edith Head designed all the beautiful 1950's fashions.

One of my favorite scenes is "Count Your Blessings" with Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney.  You can enjoy it below:

Have you seen this movie? What are your favorite scenes?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.