White Christmas is the definitive seasonal musical. The story may be a simple variation on the “let’s put on a show” formula, but it all feels fresh thanks to a witty script, Michael Curtiz’s unfussy direction, a roster of great Irving Berlin songs and a wonderful cast.
Bing Crosby makes it all seem effortless, whether he is crooning the title song, delivering a moving speech to old army buddies or doing a drag-act. Rosemary Clooney is a perfect sparring and singing partner for him and Vera-Ellen really comes into her own in the dance sequences. However, the film is all but stolen by that extraordinary jack-of-all-trades, Danny Kaye, who makes a role originally written for Fred Astaire entirely his own.
This was the first film shot in Vista-Vision, and the sumptuous, widescreen Technicolor images and the elaborate musical numbers look stunning.