We all have a favorite holiday film. For me it’s the 1994 remake of “Miracle on 34th Street.”
The original 1947 classic still stands the test of time but I’m more emotionally attached to the remake, being that I grew up with it.
In both versions the story concerns a department store Santa Claus claiming to be the real deal. He is institutionalized as insane, while a young lawyer tries to prove in court that the man’s claims are genuine.
The 1994 version, written by John Hughes, isn’t radically different but remixes the story into a contemporary setting.
The performances, especially that of Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle, are wonderful. The score by Bruce Broughton is also worth mentioning. It exudes holiday nostalgia, bringing back memories of Christmases past.
The core theme running throughout either version is faith, not just in Santa Claus, but in a more general sense.
This theme is strengthened with a line in the 1947 original: “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”
The underlying idea is there can still be hope in a world that has become jaded and cynical.
There are people out there that look beyond their selfish needs to focus on the needs of others. If people no longer believe in what the symbol of Santa Claus is then we are doomed to live a life filled with doubt.
If you haven’t seen either version of the film, you are missing out on a true classic.