“Miracle on 34th Street,” a 1947 movie starring Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn and Natalie Wood, is about a Macy’s department store Santa who calls himself Kris Kringle and claims to be the real thing. Doris Walker, a special events director at Macy’s, and other characters, including attorney Fred Gailey, Macy’s owner R.H. Macy, and judge Henry X. Harper do not initially believe the man’s claims, but their skepticism wanes over the course of the movie.Continue Reading
Kris Kringle is immediately a hit as Santa Claus, and his honest approach to directing customers to other stores has the reverse effect of building goodwill for Macy’s. He eventually wins over most of the characters, with the exception of psychologist Granville Sawyer, and the conflict between them escalates until Sawyer presses charges and commits Kris to a hospital.
Fred quits his high-profile law firm to defend Kris in court, and over the course of the case, builds a character witness defense, which includes the testimony of R. H. Macy, who affirms Kris’ identity as the real Santa Claus. Harper dismisses the case when mailmen deliver bags full of mail addressed to Santa to the courtroom on the assertion that the post office endorses the man’s identity as Santa.
The movie closes on Fred and Doris, who find their dream home based on the prodding of Kris Kringle, and a red cane inside the home hints that Santa is real.Learn more about Art & Literature