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White Christmas

Editorial review of White Christmas (1954) starring Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, courtesy of‚ Amazon.com

Buy from Amazon.comWhite Christmas, starring Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, Vera Ellen, Rosemary Clooney 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, Rosemary 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

Trivia for‚ White Christmas‚ (1954) starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye

  • Danny Kaye‚ was a last-minute replacement for the originally cast Donald O’Connor.
  • The first film produced in Paramount’s wide screen process “VistaVision”.
  • The TV camera in the Ed Harrison Show scene is a real one (a classic RCA monochrome; the cameraman is hiding the telltale logo with his hand), but the call sign atop it was real as well – it was that of Channel 4, NBC’s (and thus RCA’s) flagship station in New York, which changed its call sign to WRCA-TV the year of the film’s release. (They adopted their current WNBC-TV calls in 1960.)
  • The original idea was to reunite Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby, as they had been successful in Holiday Inn (1942). Astaire refused, as he had “retired” at the time, so the part was reworked for Donald O’Connor. O’Connor pulled out, and the part was reworked for Danny Kaye.
  • The photo that Vera-Ellen shows to Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye of her brother, Bennie, is actually a photo of Carl ‘œAlfalfa’ Switzer.
  • All of Vera-Ellen’s costumes, down to her robe and sleepwear, were designed to cover her neck, which was aged beyond her years due to her eating disorder, anorexia.
  • The Vermont inn is the remodeled Connecticut inn set of Holiday Inn (1942).
  • The song “Snow” was written by Irving Berlin many years before the film. It was originally called “Free,” and included a different subject and lyrics. Berlin rewrote the song with a winter theme for White Christmas (1954).
    The “Sisters” comedy act that Bing and Danny perform was not originally in the script. They were clowning around on the set and the director thought it was so funny that it was written in.
  • Even though Betty was the elder of the Haynes sisters, Rosemary Clooney was actually seven years younger than Vera-Ellen in real life.
  • According to Rosemary Clooney, the “midnight snack” scene in which Bob Wallace expounds on his theory of what foods cause what dreams was almost entirely improvised.
  • Many of Bob Wallace’s more unusual turns of phrase were lifted straight from Bing Crosby’s own speech patterns.

Funny Movie Quotes from‚ White Christmas‚ (1954), starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye

Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): When what’s left of you gets around to what’s left to be gotten, what’s left to be gotten won’t be worth getting, whatever it is you’ve got left.


Doris: Well how do you like that? Not so much as a ¢â‚¬Å“kiss my foot¢â‚¬ or ¢â‚¬Å“have an apple¢â‚¬.


Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): How do you do?
Doris: Mutual, I’m sure.


Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): I want you to get married. I want you to have nine children. And if you only spend five minutes a day with each kid, that’s forty-five minutes, and I’d at least have time to go out and get a massage or something.
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): That’s very funny. Ho, ho, ho. The crooner is becoming the comic.


Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): How can a guy *that* ugly have the nerve to have sisters?
Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): Very brave parents.


Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): Oh, Phil, when are you going to learn that girls like that are a dime a dozen?
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Please, don’t quote me the price when I haven’t got the time.


Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): You don’t expect me to get serious with the kind of characters you and Rita have been throwing at me, do you?
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Well, there have been some nice girls, too, you know.
Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): Oh yeah, yeah. Like that nuclear scientist we just met out in the hall.
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): All right, they didn’t go to college. They didn’t go to Smith.
Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): Go to Smith? She couldn’t even spell it.


Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): In some ways, you’re far superior to my cocker spaniel.


Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Give me one reason, one good reason, why we should spend our last 2 hours in Florida looking at the sister’s of Freckle-Face Haynes, the dog-faced boy.
Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): Let’s just say we’re doing it for an old pal in the army.
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Well, it’s not good, but it’s a reason.


Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): It’s cozier, isn’t it? Boy, girl, boy, girl.
[to the Haynes sisters]
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Mr. Wallace was just saying how remarkable it was that Benny Haynes sisters should have eyes¢â‚¬¦
[voice cracks]
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): …I mean, blue eyes. That is eyes¢â‚¬¦
Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): Nice out.


[after Betty finds Judy and Phil embracing]
Betty Haynes (Rosemary Clooney): What is this? The best two outta three?
Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen): I guess I got carried away.
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Yeah, she carried me right with her – I don’t weigh very much.


Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen): We’re booked for the holidays.
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Vermont, huh?
Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen): Oh, Vermont should be beautiful this time of year, with all that snow.
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Yeah, you know something¢â‚¬¦ Vermont should be beautiful this time of year, with all that snow.
Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen): That’s what I just said.
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): We seem to be getting a little mixed up.
Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen): Maybe it’s the music.
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Maybe it isn’t only the music.


Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): Miss Haynes, if you’re ever under a falling building and someone offers to pick you up and carry you to safety, don’t think, don’t pause, don’t hesitate for a moment, just spit in his eye.
Betty Haynes (Rosemary Clooney): What did that mean?
Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): It means we’re going to Vermont.


Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): How much is ¢â‚¬Å“wow¢â‚¬?
Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): It’s right in between, uh, ¢â‚¬Å“ouch¢â‚¬ and ¢â‚¬Å“boing¢â‚¬.
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Wow!


Gen. Thomas F. Waverly: There’s no Christmas in the Army!


[General Waverly has told the jeep driver to take the new Commanding General back to Headquarters via a short cut]
Joe, Adjutant Captain: [pointing after the departed jeep] That’s not the way to Headquarters!
Gen. Thomas F. Waverly: Joe, *you* know that, and *I* know that, but the General doesn’t! At least he won’t for the next two hours.
Joe, Adjutant Captain: That sergeant will be a private in the morning.
Gen. Thomas F. Waverly: [wearily] Yes, isn’t he lucky.


[General Waverly has come downstairs for the Christmas Eve show in his uniform]
Gen. Thomas F. Waverly: [to Susan] You didn’t expect me to come down in my bathrobe, did you?


Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): [into his water glass] Pushing, pushing.


Gen. Thomas F. Waverly: [to Capt. Wallace] Don’t just stand there – how do I get off?


Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): When I figure out what that means I’ll come up with a crushing reply.


Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): We like to take care of our friends.
Betty Haynes (Rosemary Clooney): But we’re practically strangers!
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Uh, we like to take care of that too.
Betty Haynes (Rosemary Clooney): But I don’t understand. Why are you doing this? I mean, what’s in it for you?
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Forty-five minutes all to myself.


Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): We wouldn’t be any good as generals.
Gen. Thomas F. Waverly: You weren’t any good as privates


Betty Haynes (Rosemary Clooney): [singing on the train] I want to wash my hands, my face, my hair with snow.


Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Oh,I hope I can take back the electric blanket back.
Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): Where’s that?
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Under the underwear.


Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): We ate, and then he ate. We slept and then he slept.
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Yeah, then he woke up and nobody slept for forty-eight hours.


Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): [Buying train tickets] Uh, I don’t seem to have any cash.
Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): Where’d you leave that? In your snood?


Emma Allen: [Regarding the inn] This place used to be a grist mill and a barn. Now it’s a Tyrollean haunted house.


Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): We looked at this big ski lodge and said isn’t it ideal. That’s the word we used, ideal. Absolutely, ideal.
Gen. Thomas F. Waverly: We’ve acknowledged that the ski lodge is ideal.


Betty Haynes (Rosemary Clooney): Why, all of a sudden, are people so concerned about my eating habits? Why don’t people just leave me alone?


Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen): [after creating her phony engagement with Phil] Don’t you think we ought to kiss or something?
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): [Obviously nervous] Not until it’s absolutely necessary.


Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): [Regarding Phil] I don’t know what you see in this tall drink of charged water, but after you get to know him he’s almost endurable.


Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): [to Judy] You’re lucky! You might have been stuck with this weirdsmobile for life!


Betty Haynes (Rosemary Clooney): Mr. Bones? Mr. Bones? How do you feel, Mr. Bones?
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Rattlin’!
Betty Haynes (Rosemary Clooney): Mr. Bones feels rattlin’. Ha ha. That’s a good one. Tell a little story, Mr. Bones.
Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): A funny little story, Mr. Bones!
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): How do you stop an angry dog from biting you on Monday?
Betty Haynes (Rosemary Clooney): That joke is old. The answer is to kill the dog on Sunday!
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): That’s not how you stop a dog from biting you on Monday!
Betty Haynes (Rosemary Clooney): How do you bring a thing about?
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Have the doggy’s teeth pulled out!
Betty Haynes (Rosemary Clooney): Oh, Mr. Bones, that’s terrible!
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Uh-huh.
Betty Haynes, Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): Yes, Mr. Bones, that’s terrible!
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Uh-huh.


Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen): Looks like it’s absolutely necessary.


Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): I have a feeling I’m not going to like this.
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): I have a feeling you’re gonna hate it.
Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby): Then why should I do it.
Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): Let’s just say we’re doing it for an old
Bob Wallace, Phil Davis (Danny Kaye): pal in the army … yeah

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