Miracle on 34th Street
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The classic tale about a department store Kris Kringle who spreads the joy of Christmas by making a cynical little girl believe in Santa Claus.
Anyone skeptical of updated retreads of Christmas movie classics may be genuinely surprised by this 1994 version of Miracle on 34th Street. Based on the 1947 holiday classic, this new Miracle sticks close to the original's story, though it offers more contemporary, crisper pacing and a tone curiously more reflective--even sorrowful--than before. Richard Attenborough is charming and twinkly as Kris Kringle, the part that won Edmund Gwenn an Oscar. Mara Wilson is the little New York City girl who doesn't believe in Santa Claus until Kris persuades her otherwise. Elizabeth Perkins is her hardened mother, and Dylan McDermott plays the handsome lawyer next door who defends Kris during an insanity hearing. While screenwriter John Hughes has toughened up the dialogue a bit, and McDermott's intensity looks like a dry run for his then- future role on television's The Practice, this Miracle is as persuasively sweet as the one previous. --Tom Keogh
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--Disc 1: Full Frame Feature: Black and White Version
--Disc 2: Full Frame Feature: Colorized Version
--Commentary by Maureen O'Hara
--The 1955 The 20th Century Fox Hour of Stars TV remake
--"AMC Backstory: Miracle on 34th Street" featurette
--"Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Floating in History" featurette
--Movietone News: Hollywood Spotlight
The colorized version is very well done and adds sharpness and pleasure to the images. It is highly recommended! The B&W version is always there for those who prefer it.
This movie's screenplay and direction was by George Seaton who also did Teacher's Pet, Airport (the 1970 original from the novel), and many other classics. George Seaton had a gift for economy and clarity in scriptwriting and directing... there isn't one unneeded word or shot in the entire movie. When you watch other George Seaton movies, you can see the same scriptwriting and directing techniques and they are a pleasure to behold.
Heads up if you purchase the Two-Disc Special Edition: It appears that someone sometimes splits the "Disc One" and "Disc Two" slim-cases apart that come together in the box, selling them separately. If you receive only a single disc, but it is marked "Disc One" or "Disc Two," contact the seller (as we had to do).
All in all, we highly recommend this movie and the colorized version and extra features in the Two Disc Special Edition. It is definitely the best value and contains the most material about this wonderful movie.
Wood is finally realized in the end that will give you a happy glow.