This semi-remake of Holiday Inn (the first movie in which Irving Berlin's perennial, Oscar-winning holiday anthem was featured) doesn't have much of a story, but what it does have is choice: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosema... more »ry Clooney, an all-Irving Berlin song score, classy direction by Hollywood vet Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, The Adventures of Robin Hood), VistaVision (the very first feature ever shot in that widescreen format), and ultrafestive Technicolor! Crosby and Kaye are song-and-dance men who hook up, romantically and professionally, with a "sister" act (Clooney and Vera-Ellen) to put on a Big Show to benefit the struggling ski-resort lodge run by the beloved old retired general (Dean Jagger) of their WWII Army outfit. Crosby is cool, Clooney is warm, Kaye is goofy, and Vera-Ellen is leggy. Songs include: "Sisters" (Crosby and Kaye do their own drag version, too), "Snow," "We'll Follow the Old Man," "Mandy," "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep," and more. Christmas would be unthinkable without White Christmas. --Jim Emerson« less
One of my favorite Christmas classics. This is such a clean, innocent movie-- so much more than today's movies. I recommend it for everyone!
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
White Christmas Has Received a Face Lift--of Sorts
Tom Anderson | Piney Flats, Tennessee United States | 10/11/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
""White Christmas," one of my favorite movies of all time, had always looked bad on home video. The VHS version was a pale, pastel shadow of the original until the 40th anniversary edition of 1994 when all Paramount did was greatly darken the picture. Unfortunately, this was also the print that was used to make the first DVD release in 2000: a dark, dark picture with no contrast, tons of grain, and a barely-in-focus picture that revealed little detail. Fortunately, most of this has been improved in the newly-released 2-disc Anniversary Edition that has just hit the stores.
Although Paramount obviously did not want to fund a complete restoration, the picture now has vibrant colors (the "Mandy" number will knock your socks off!) with much better sharpness and detail and very little grain to speak of. However the picture is still a little too dark and flat, at least one scene still has registration problems (when Bing meets Doris, the "Mutual, I'm sure" girl), some scenes could have a sharper focus, and there's some trouble with minor flicker (stability) of the image. The bonus material is very enjoyable and above average, with family members, critics, and cultural historians to add perspective.
So in summary I definitely recommend this latest version of "White Christmas" as a rebuy on the strength of the improved picture alone, with the bonus material as a very nice plus. I would have given it my highest rating if the picture quality had presented absolute clarity and if the film itself were more inspired, but it still remains a sentimental favorite and a must-see!"
New 2007 "remaster" huge disappointment!
Lars Sandell | Sweden | 10/10/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Recently, Paramount has offered us wonderful new DVD-issues of classics like To Catch a Thief and Funny Face, both shot in Vista-Vision, and now looking better than ever on home video thanks to Paramount using original camera materials for the transfers. Naturally, I expected that the same loving treatment would be given an old favorite like White Christmas, which was the first feature film shot in Paramount's superb wide-screen process called Vista-Vision. Not so! This new "remaster" is just as dreary-looking as the older DVD. Grainy and soft with an unstable look and dull colors except in some brightly lit "performance" scenes. Also lots of dirt marks and scattered speckles, plus an ugly splice or two. And NO new extras! Where is the expected featurette about the Vista-Vision system - newly made or at least some old promotional reel taken from a shelf in the archives? A huge disappointment! And by the way, where are all the many beloved Paramount classics from the fifties and sixties that have not yet been released on DVD? Not a single title in sight for the coming months. Sad."
It Can Be Christmas Any Time of Year
Paul C. Visby | Eagan, MN United States | 10/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was stunned to find this new anniversary edition at Target this past Tuesday - stunned because it is not being released for another month. I picked it up hoping for the best. It is a 2-disc edition with all the bonus features on the second disc. I see Amazon has finally listed those features above. They are actually quite good and I learned things I had never known. But the movie presentation is a disappointment. As usual, Paramount has NOT cleaned up the film. The colors are slightly off - skin tones don't look quite right and it sometimes looks faded, yet most of the time the colors are very bright and pop; the picture is not sharp and sometimes looks a little fuzzy; there is flickering throughout the whole film; etc. Why can't Paramount take a cue from Warner? They take the time to put out a beautiful product. Paramount seems to just throw it out. This is the third release on DVD for "White Christmas" and considering it is the 55th Anniversary, you would think more care would have been put into making the film look spectacular. It's 2009 so we should be seeing the best possible picture. But I guess this is the best we can expect from Paramount. I do give Paramount credit on their TV show releases as they do restore/clean them for the most part (Example: I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, The Andy Griffith Show, etc - which are all beautiful prints). They just do nothing for the motion pictures. Oh, the audio is in 5.1 or restored mono. The 5.1 is horrible. It is fine until the singing starts. The vocals are much louder than the music and has an echo-y sound. If you own "Grease," you'll understand. It is unwatchable! So I switched to the restored mono and it sounds great. What a difference! I would love to watch it with stereo sound but Paramount has screwed-up yet again. I sold my copy of "Grease" because of the ruined soundtrack, but at least this one has a great mono soundtrack. But it is too bad the picture has not been improved to what it could be. I give it four stars because of all the added extras - it would be five stars if the film looked better. Is it horrible? No! It is very watchable but I was a little distracted by the unrestored print. I'm just happy to have this anniversary edition. You make the choice."
Great Clooney Commentary
J. B. Barton | Saint Petersburg, FL | 10/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) come together as a song and dance team after Phil saves the life of headliner Wallace on the battlefield on Christmas Eve. Anything Phil wants, he can get from Bob by making reference to the arm he injured (a phantom injury to be sure) in the saving. Now, he just wants Bob to take things slower. To that end, he is trying to get him to settle on a girl. Enter the Haynes's sisters, Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy (Vera-Ellen), one of whom forges a letter from their brother to Bob and Phil to come see their act and give some pointers as a favor to an old army buddy. It appears that Judy and Phil may have orchestrated the whole thing - Phil to get Bob to settle down and Judy to get tips from the pros. Now, Bob - though attracted to Betty - is a cynic and figures everyone's got an ulterior motive and is not surprised to find out the letter is a forgery. Betty is, however, offended that he thinks the SHE is playing an angle. Later, she will be convinced that Bob is playing an angle at someone else's expense and the resolution of the conflict makes for a wonderful and classic romance story. After getting the girls out of a jam, thanks to Phil, the foursome end up going to Vermont where they run into their old general running a ski resort. But there is no snow. Bob & Phil come up with a plan to boost the old man's spirits. There are two plot lines here - one the romance between Bob and Betty, and, two, the relationship between the general and his old troops. It is maybe not a GREAT movie/musical but it certainly is good. Songs include White Christmas (of course), Sisters, The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing, Count Your Blessings, and What Do You Do With a General. The Clooney commentary is very interesting. She points out a lot of things I would not have noticed and has a lot of funny stories about virtually every scene. For instance, the drag scene where Crosby and Kaye are performing "Sisters" ... they had already made so many mistakes that they didn't think it would be used and just really cut up. When she pointed it out, I saw things I hadn't seen before."