Maureen O’Hara loses her temper, John Payne saves Christmas, and Natalie Wood tugs on Santa’s beard a couple of decades before being turned into a lip-syncing Puerto Rican caught between two snappy street gangs.
Okay, break out the eggnog because we are officially starting the Christmas movies. For the record, I like this original version more than the 1994 remake. I also liked Bob Barker more than Drew Carey but that is neither here nor there.
OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade isn’t quite the same today as it was in this movie. Nowadays we get to see big stars like Jimmy Fallon, Manheim Steamroller, and the all-state marching band from Wyoming.
This movie isn’t so much about believing in Santa Claus as it is having faith in doing the right thing, or defending what Fred Gailey calls the “intangibles.”
Mr. Gailey was pushed out of his law firm for choosing to defend an old man who claimed he was Santa Claus. Where most people saw a crazy old man who needed to be locked up, Mr. Gailey saw a person who embodied an important symbol.
This reminds me of a quote from Elder John A. Widtsoe:
“There are men who object to Santa Claus, because he does not exist! Such men need spectacles to see that Santa Claus is a symbol; a symbol of the love and joy of Christmas and the Christmas spirit.”
Here’s how Mr. Gailey put it during a scene with Ms. Walker:
MR. GAILEY: It’s not just Kris that’s on trial, it’s everything he stands for. It’s kindness and joy and love and all the other intangibles.
MS. WALKER: Oh, Fred, you’re talking like a child! You’re living in a realistic world and those lovely intangibles of yours are attractive, but not worth very much. You don’t get ahead that way.
MR. GAILEY: That all depends on what you call getting ahead… Someday you’re going to find that your way of facing this realistic world just doesn’t work. And when you do, don’t overlook those lovely intangibles. You’ll discover those are the only things that are worthwhile.
God gives man the inspiration to do good, and will help us accomplish great things, even miracles, if we just have the faith to act on that inspiration.
“Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.” – Mosiah 8:18