Miracle on 34th Street (1994 film)
|Miracle on 34th Street|
Original theatrical poster
|Directed by||Les Mayfield|
|Produced by||John Hughes
William S. Beasley
|Screenplay by||George Seaton
|Story by||Valentine Davies|
|Based on||Miracle on 34th Street original screenplay by George Seaton|
|Music by||Bruce Broughton|
|Edited by||Raja Gosnell|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$46.3 million|
Miracle on 34th Street is a 1994 American Christmas fantasy film written and produced by John Hughes, and directed by Les Mayfield (the two would reunite for 1997's Flubber). It stars Richard Attenborough, Mara Wilson, Elizabeth Perkins, and Dylan McDermott, and is the fourth remake (and the second theatrical version) of the original 1947 film. Like the original, this film was released by 20th Century Fox, to mixed to positive reception.
The New York City based Macy's department store declined any involvement with this remake, so the fictitious "Cole's" was used as its replacement. Gimbels had gone out of business in 1987; hence it was replaced by the fictional "Shopper's Express".
Cole's Department Store's special events director Dorey Walker (Elizabeth Perkins) fires Tony Falacchi from being the Cole's Department Store's Santa Claus after he gets drunk before taking part in the Thanksgiving parade. Immediately trying to find a replacement, she spots an elderly man (Richard Attenborough) who was berating the inebriated Santa before the parade. When Dorey begs him to take over, he introduces himself as Kris Kringle. Kris does so well during the parade that he is immediately hired to be Cole's main Santa for the holiday period. All the children in New York begin to believe that he is the real Santa, with the exception of Dorey's six-year-old daughter Susan (Mara Wilson). Dorey's boyfriend, Bryan Bedford (Dylan McDermott), does his best to convince Susan to believe. While being babysat one night by Kris, Susan shares with him her Christmas wish, she would like a dad, a house (used every year for the Cole's catalogue photoshoot) and a baby brother. Kris asks if she would begin to believe in Santa if she got all those things. Susan agrees that she would.
Kris is credited with bringing in increasingly more sales to Cole's than previous years. One night, he is arrested for assaulting a man on the street, later revealed to be the original drunk Santa, Tony Falacchi. Falacchi had taken revenge by means of setting up Kris to be arrested, with the help of members of staff from a rival department store of Cole's, Shopper's Express. With the help of Bryan, Dorey takes Kris's case to court, and drums up support for him from the public. It soon becomes clear that to get Kris acquitted and freed, Bryan must somehow prove that not only does Santa exist, but that Kris is the real one. It is a seemingly impossible task until Bryan comes up with a plan that requires some help from Susan.
Just as the judge is about to make his decision – and it seems he was going to rule against Kris – Susan walks up to the judge with a Christmas card containing a $1 bill. On the back, the words In God We Trust are circled. The judge realizes that, since the U.S. Department of Treasury can put its official faith in God with no hard evidence, then the people of New York can believe in Santa Claus in the same way. Left with no choice, the elated judge dismisses the case and declares that Santa is real, existing in the person of Kris Kringle.
Following the court case, Dorey and Bryan are maneuvered by Kris into realizing their true feelings for each other, and are married in a very small ceremony right after the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass. On Christmas morning, Susan wakes to the news of the marriage and is elated to see that she has part one of her Christmas wish, Bryan as her new dad. Together, Susan, Dorey and Bryan drive out to the catalogue house and upon arrival, find that Kris has arranged for them to purchase the house, which they can now afford due to the size of the Christmas bonus Dorey has received as a result of Kris' work at Cole's. Susan, now having got two out of three of her wishes, excitedly runs upstairs in the house to look at her bedroom. Dorey and Bryan are about to kiss when Dorey asks her what the last part of her Christmas wish was, and she triumphantly announces that it was a baby brother. Dorey and Bryan both look at each other, shocked, before glancing down at Dorey's stomach and sharing a kiss. The film ends with the belief that Susan has now received all she asked for in her wish. It is mentioned that Kris has gone overseas.
- Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle, said to be the real Santa Claus. He reluctantly takes on the duty as Cole's Santa Claus after the original drunk Santa is terminated.
- Elizabeth Perkins as Dorey Walker, Susan's mother. She is the director of special events for Cole's, and Bryan Bedford's girlfriend.
- Mara Wilson as Susan Walker, Dorey's 6-year-old daughter.
- Dylan McDermott as Bryan Bedford, Dorey's boyfriend and neighbor.
- J. T. Walsh as Ed Collins, a lawyer
- Simon Jones as Donald Shellhammer, the general manager of Coles, known for his departing phrase "Chin-Chin".
- James Remar as Jack Duff, a minion under the greedy Victor Landberg.
- Jane Leeves as Alberta Leonard, another minion under the greedy Victor Landberg.
- William Windom as C.F. Cole
- Robert Prosky as Judge Henry Harper, the city judge presiding over Kris' case. He has a grandson who is seen thinking Kris is Santa Claus in the first scene of the film.
- Allison Janney as a brazen woman shopper in Cole's Christmas Shopping Center.
- Jack McGee as Tony Falacchi, the drunk Santa who was fired from being the Cole's Santa Claus.
- Joss Ackland (uncredited) as Victor Landberg, owner of a competing store who is eager to see Cole's go out of business so he can buy out the facility and extend his market.
The film received mixed to positive reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes giving the film a score of 61% based on reviews from 23 critics. TV Guide called the film "curiously depressing", while Desson Howe of The Washington Post claimed that, in contrast to the 1947 version, "[it] will not be found on television (or its computer equivalent) half a century from now." Its supporters include Gene Siskel & Roger Ebert, who gave the film "two thumbs up" on their show (the quote is also on the front of the movie's home video release). Michael Medved of Sneak Previews said "This is the new holiday classic America has been waiting for."
- Miracle on 34th Street at Box Office Mojo
- Reluctant Macy's Rains on New 'Miracle on 34th Street's' Parade
- Welkos, Robert W. (1994-11-22). "Weekend Box Office : Appealing to All 'Generations'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- Miracle on 34th Street at Rotten Tomatoes
- "Miracle On 34Th Street". TVGuide.com.
- "Miracle on 34th Street (PG)". The Washington Post. 1994-11-18.
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