Flicks in Five: Miracle on 34th Street

by Lynne Warfel
November 25, 2014

Listen Flicks in Five: Miracle on 34th Street
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Still from Miracle on 34th Street (Courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

By 1947, America had changed; its sense of safety and innocence had been altered by World War II.

The second Christmas after the war's end, a movie came out that reflected those changes; it was called Miracle on 34th Street. The star was the lovely Maureen O'Hara, who played a single mother who works in the promotions department at Macy's department store. She lives in an apartment with her daughter, Susan, the role that introduced a precocious Natalie Wood to the world. Kris Kringle was played by the affable Edmund Gwenn.

Miracle on 34th Street was one of the first movies to film on location, both in New York City and inside Macy's, which was very unusual for the time.

The film boasts a a score by the British composer Cyril J. Mockridge, who had a long tenure with 20th Century Fox, composing for Shirley Temple's movies in the 1930s and for Marilyn Monroe's in the '50s.

In the score for Miracle on 34th Street, Mockridge uses "Jingle Bells" as Kris Kringle's theme, and he weaves it in and out of the movie in various moods, depending on where the story takes us.

The original 1947 trailer for the film includes snippets of Mockridge's music: