What does one do when they see their former friend and a commander who served in the war for the protection of the country struggling to get his once flourishing business up and running once again after it starts to struggle, leading to their beloved commander having financial difficulties?
Directed by Michael Curtiz, a brilliant musical film released on October 14, 1954, titled “White Christmas” focuses on a similar storyline with two singers and their partners meeting their former commander in Vermont during a show and deciding to do something magical to get his business up and running again.
The film did exceptionally well amongst the audience with a box office collection of $30 M with an initial investment of $2 M, making it one of the few movies that does well with the audience even though it is made on a low budget.
The 120-minute musical drama film stars Bing Crosby playing the role of Bob Wallace, a singer, Danny Kaye playing the role of Phil Davi, another singer, Vera-Ellen playing Judy Haynes’s role, Rosemary Clooney playing Betty Hayne’s role, Dean Jagger playing Major General Tom’s role, Mary Wickes playing Emma Allen’s role, Johnny Grant playing Ed Harrison’s role.
John Brascia playing John’s role and Anne Whitfield playing Susan Waverly’s role in the lead. The film focuses on Bob and Phil deciding to join Betty and Judy for a performance in rural Vermont, where they coincidentally encounter Waverly, the commander in World War II, and learn about him having financial difficulties due to his inn not doing well and deciding to help him by performing a Christmas miracle.
The question that remains is whether they were able to perform the Christmas miracle or did they fail to deal with the troubles life threw their way.
The film starts with the scene set during the height of World War II, on Christmas Eve, with Captain Bob Wallace, a former Broadway star, and Phil Davis, an aspiring performer entertaining the 151 division 151st division with a soldier’s show with the men having just received a word informing them about their beloved General Thomas f. Waverly having been relieved from his duty as commander.
After the soldiers are informed about his departure, Waverly arrives to deliver an emotional farewell message before the men send off Waverly by singing a chorus of “The Old Man.” Things take a turn after Waverly’s departure as the area the soldiers are staying at is attacked by the enemy crew leading everyone to take cover before Phil pulls Bob away from a shambling wall but gets injured himself by the falling debris.
This makes Bob feel indebted to Phil as he asks him what he can do to repay Phil for saving his life, which leads to Phil suggesting they become a duo act. Even though Bob isn’t interested in the idea, he agrees due to Phil having saved his life.
After the war is over, Bob and Phil become a hit as a duo performer and then receive fame for being fantastic producers known for launching Playing Around, a hit musical, before they receive a letter from Ben, their former mess Sergeant requesting them to view a act his sister is putting together.
After the two agree to view the performance of Ben’s sister, the pair go on to watch Judy and Betty, Ben’s sister’s performance at a Florida nightclub named Novello’s, where Phil decides to play matchmaker after he notices Bob’s interest in Betty.
After Betty and Judy’s performance comes to an end, the four meet where Phil and Judy connect instantly, hitting it off while Betty and Bob get into an argument due to Bob’s cynicism, and it gets revealed that Judy was behind writing the letter to the duo to invite them to watch their performance instead of Ben.
Meanwhile, Judy reveals to the duo that their landlord is falsely suing them for a damaged rug going as far as to involve the cops to get Judy and Betty to cough up money leading Phil to give the girls the tickets to New York that the dup purchased earlier to spend Christmas there.
Phil and Ben do an improvised performance to buy time for Betty and Judy to escape and catch the train without any trouble before they also arrive at the station, and much to Bob’s charging, the duo now needed to sit in the Club Car.
Meanwhile, Betty and Judy convince the dup to forgo New York altogether and spend Christmas with them in Pine Tree, located in rural Vermont, where they had booked to be the performers for the evening.
Once the foursome arrives in Vermont, they realize that every tourist has left due to lack of snow and unseasonably warm weather, leading them to check in an empty Columbia Inn, where they are left shocked after discovering General Waverly is the landlord of the inn is on the verge of bankruptcy.
This leads Phil and Bob to invite some cast members of Playing Around to Pine Tree to stage a brilliant show to draw people’s attention, thus inviting guests to the inn, and the pair decide to include Judy and Betty in the show, where romance blossoms between Bob and Betty.
Meanwhile, Bob also discovers the humiliating rejection letter Waverly received to his request to join the army, making him determined to prove to Waverly that he isn’t forgotten, neither is the sacrifices made him forgotten, so he makes phone calls to Ed, a former Army buddy to help.
Well, Ed suggests Bob uses Waverly’s misfortune in the show to make people attracted and aware of the favor Bob and Phil are doing for their former commander, but Bob angrily refutes the idea as luck would have it, the first half of the conversation gets heard by Emma, the housekeeper who relays Bob’s idea to Betty who becomes cold towards a clueless Bob.
Meanwhile, Judy and Phil stage a fake engagement as the two believe the reason behind Betty not reciprocating Bob’s feelings is her feeling guilty for leaving Judy behind and alone, but it backfires after Betty accepts to be a part of a gig in New York and leaves promptly.
Judy and Phil admit the truth behind their fake engagement to Bob, who rushes after Betty enraged, and the two do reconcile before Bob meets up with Harrison and invites the 151st division to surprise Waverly back in Pine Tree.
On Christmas Eve, the battalion of soldiers surprises Waverly by singing the chorus of “The Old Man,” which brings him to tears after he realizes that he isn’t forgotten by his people. The film ends with Betty and Bob getting engaged while Phil and Judy also decide to turn their fake engagement into a real one before everyone continues to enjoy and sing “White Christmas” while thick snowfall takes place in Vermont.
White Christmas – Filming Locations
1. Los Angeles, California
Known for being the home of several Hollywood celebrities, a beautiful city sprawling on the southern side of California, Los Angeles, was used by the crew to film some parts of the movie.
Paramount Studios – 555 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, was used to film the entire movie, while 20th Century Fox Studios – 10201 Pico Blvd, was used by the production crew to film the part with the train station scenes.