Of all the christmas films out there currently, this is my absolute favourite – I actually can’t remember a christmas when I haven’t watched Miracle on 34th Street. Even though it’s the re-make of the 1940’s classic I much prefer the casting of this feature. There’s just something about Richard Attenborough’s warm, kind nature that really brings this joyful feature to life. I have also always loved little Mara Walker, in all of her childhood roles (Mrs. Doubtfire, 1993 and Matilda, 1996) and so she naturally adds to the adorable nature of this film.
If you haven’t seen either of the two takes on the story by Valentine Davis then I urge you to see one (or both) of them at least. The story begins on the day of the annual “Cole’s Department Store Thanksgiving Day parade”, however the man hired to play Santa during the finale has got himself drunk leaving Dorey Walker (director of Cole’s department store’s special events) desperately searching for a replacement. She stumbles upon protagonist, Kris Kringle who is basically a walking Santa Claus and he agrees to help her and acts as Santa in the Parade. He does such a great job that Dorey hires him as the Santa in Cole’s ‘Santa’s Grotto’.
Meanwhile, Dorey’s 6-year old daughter Susan is back at their apartment with babysitter and neighbour Byran Bedford. She explains that she knows ‘the secret’ – that Santa Claus does not exist; her mother has told her so. However this is not the case where Kris Kringle is concerned; he genuinely believes that he is Santa and later vows to get Susan the only present she’s ever wanted, “a house a brother and a dad”.
One of the reason’s this is my go-to film to watch every christmas is mostly because of the magical Kris Kringle, and how he not only captures the hearts of New York City, but of every viewer that comes across this feature. I can’t begin to describe to you how much you will root for the characters in this film, all the way through you’re wanting Dorey and Byran to get together, Susan to get her Christmas wish and Kris Kringle to just be believed in. I always feel like a child again when I’m watching and I hope you feel the same when you discover it.
My Christmas Rating; 9/10