I was just re-watching my favorite Christmas movie, Miracle on 34th Street (1947) on DVD, though I was lucky enough to see it several years ago on the big screen. I like it because it has a real sense of the hustle-bustle of the season, of a chill in the air and the feel of ducking indoors for a hot cup of coffee. It even has an impressive documentary feel during the Macy's Thanksgiving parade sequence. It feels entirely modern, with its frank discussion of psychiatry and of the crass commercialism of Christmas. Of course, I'm a sucker for all the sentimental hogwash as well. I get all choked up when Kris Kringle sings with the Dutch girl.
One thing I noticed, though. Fox has released a new DVD of the film. I don't own it; I'm perfectly happy with my old edition from 1999. The new disc comes with a colorized version of the film as well as the original black and white, but it also comes with a full-color box cover, advertising Santa (Edmund Gwenn) in his bold red and white suit and ruddy pink face. I know Santa is always supposed to look like that, but I don't miss color in Miracle on 34th Street. Certainly the producers had the choice to film in color if they'd wanted to, and certainly color was more expensive, but they chose black and white and they stuck with it, knowing that it wouldn't detract from the film experience. It didn't. It was a hit and won three Oscars.