Review: ‘Miracle on 34th Street’

So you don't believe in Santa Claus? If you want to stay a non-believer don't see Miracle.

So you don’t believe in Santa Claus? If you want to stay a non-believer don’t see Miracle.

Film is an actor’s holiday, providing any number of choice roles that are played to the hilt. Edmund Gwenn’s Santa Claus performance proves the best in his career, one that will be thoroughly enjoyed by all filmgoers. Straight romantic roles handed Maureen O’Hara and John Payne as co-stars also display pair to advantage.

Valentine Davies’ story poses question of just how valid is the belief in Santa Claus. Gwenn, old man’s home inmate, becomes Santy at Macy’s Department Store, events pile up that make it necessary to actually prove he is the McCoy and not a slightly touched old gent. Gwenn is a little amazed at all the excitement because he has no doubt that he’s the real article.

Gene Lockhart’s performance as judge is a gem, as is Porter Hall’s portrayal of a neurotic personnel director for Macy’s. Surprise moppet performance is turned in by little Natalie Wood as O’Hara’s non-believing daughter who finally accepts Santy. It’s a standout, natural portrayal.

1947: Best Supp. Actor (Edmund Gwenn), Original Story, Screenplay.

Nomination: Best Picture

Miracle on 34th Street


20th Century-Fox. Director George Seaton; Producer William Perlberg; Screenplay George Seaton; Camera Charles Clarke, Lloyd Ahern; Editor Robert Simpson; Music Cyril J. Mockridge; Art Director Richard Day, Richard Irvine


(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1947. Running time: 95 MIN.


Maureen O'Hara John Payne Edmund Gwenn Gene Lockhart Natalie Wood Thelma Ritter

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