Miracle on 34th Street

  • Directors: George Seaton
  • Producers: William Perlberg
  • Writers: Valentine Davies, George Seaton
  • Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Maureen O Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood, Edmund Gwenn, Harry Antrim

Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) is indignant to find that the person (Percy Helton) assigned to play Santa in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is intoxicated. When he complains to event director Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara), she persuades Kris to take his place. He does such a fine job that he is hired to be the Santa for Macy’s flagship New York City store on 34th Street.

Ignoring instructions to steer parents to goods that Macy’s wants to sell, Kris tells one shopper (Thelma Ritter) to go to another store for a fire engine for her son that Macy’s doesn’t have. She is so impressed, she tells Julian Shellhammer (Philip Tonge), head of the toy department, that she will become a loyal customer. Kris later informs another mother that archrival Gimbels has better skates for her daughter.

Fred Gailey (John Payne), an attorney and neighbor of Doris, is babysitting the young divorcee’s nine-year-old daughter Susan (Natalie Wood) and takes her to see Kris. When Doris finds out, she lectures Fred about filling Susan’s mind with fantasy. Meanwhile, Susan sees Kris talking and singing with a Dutch World War II orphan girl in her native tongue and begins to wonder if perhaps Kris is real. When Doris asks Kris to tell Susan that he really isn’t Santa Claus, Kris surprises her by insisting that he is.

On Christmas morning, Susan is disillusioned because Kris was unable to get her what she told him she wanted most. As they are about to leave, Kris gives Fred and Doris a route home that will supposedly avoid traffic. Along the way, Susan is overjoyed to see the house of her dreams (exactly matching the drawing she had given Kris earlier) with a For Sale sign in the front yard. Fred learns that Doris had encouraged Susan to have faith, and suggests they get married and purchase the house. He then boasts that he must be a great lawyer, since he managed to do the seemingly impossible. However, when he notices a cane leaning against the fireplace that looks just like the one Kris used, he wonders “Maybe I didn’t do such a wonderful thing after all.”

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