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Miracle on 34th Street is a 1994 American Christmas fantasy comedy-drama film co-written and co-produced by John Hughes, and directed by Les Mayfield. The film stars Richard Attenborough, Mara Wilson, Elizabeth Perkins, and Dylan McDermott, and is the first theatrical remake of the original 1947 film. Like the original, this film was released by 20th Century Fox.
The New York City based Macy s department store declined any involvement with this remake, saying “we feel the original stands on its own and could not be improved upon.” The fictitious Cole s became 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 (Jack McGee) 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, attorney 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 (Robert Prosky) 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 US Department of Treasury can put its official faith in God on US currency 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 (via the bright reflections of Dorey s engagement ring on the Christmas tree) and is elated to see that she has part one of her Christmas wish, Bryan as her new step-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 s 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 ask 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 Tony Falacchi is fired.
- Elizabeth Perkins as Dorey Walker, Susan s mother. She works as the director of special events for Cole s, and is Bryan Bedford s girlfriend.
- Mara Wilson as Susan Walker, Dorey s 6-year-old daughter.
- Dylan McDermott as Bryan Bedford, a lawyer who s Dorey s boyfriend and neighbor.
- J. T. Walsh as Ed Collins, a lawyer who acts as the city prosecutor.
- Simon Jones as Donald Shellhammer, the general manager of Coles, known for his departing phrase Chin-Chin .
- James Remar as Jack Duff, a Shoppers Express executive in league with Victor Landberg.
- Jane Leeves as Alberta Leonard, another minion under 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, a Cole s employee who was fired from being the Cole s Santa Claus after being caught intoxicated.
- Joss Ackland (uncredited) as Victor Landberg, the greedy 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 had its premiere at Radio City Music Hall on November 15, 1994 with a 30-minute stage show with scenes from The Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring The Rockettes as well as a performance from Kenny G. The Dreamstone 27th episode The Return accompanied the film s theatrical release.
At the box office, the film opened at #8 with $2,753,208 and eventually finished with $17,320,146 in North America and $46,264,384 worldwide.
Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 60% based on reviews from 35 critics. TV Guide called the film curiously depressing , while Desson Howe of The Washington Post said, in contrast to the 1947 version, will not be found on television (or its computer equivalent) half a century from now. Its supporters included Gene Siskel & Roger Ebert, who gave the film two thumbs up on their show. Michael Medved of Sneak Previews said This is the new holiday classic America has been waiting for.
|1.||Overture||Bruce Broughton||Bruce Broughton||2:40|
|2.||Jingle Bells||James Pierpont||Natalie Cole||3:35|
|3.||It s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas||Meredith Willson||Dionne Warwick||2:23|
|4.||Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas||
|5.||Santa Claus Is Coming to Town||
|6.||Joy to the World||
||Aretha Franklin & Members of the FAME Freedom Choir||3:04|
|7.||Santa Claus Is Back in Town||
|8.||Signing||Bruce Broughton||Bruce Broughton||2:05|
|9.||Bellevue Carol||Bruce Broughton||Bruce Broughton||2:15|
|10.||Song for a Winter s Night||Gordon Lightfoot||Sarah McLachlan||3:47|
- Tracklisting verified from the album s liner notes.
|Plot||A lawyer and a little girl must prove that a man claiming to be Santa Claus is the real thing.|
|Awards||Awards, 1 nomination|
|Writers||Valentine Davies, George Seaton, John Hughes|
|Stars||Richard Attenborough, Elizabeth Perkins, Dylan McDermott|
|Produced by||William S. Beasley, John Hughes, Bill Ryan|
|Music by||Bruce Broughton|
|Cinematography by||Julio Macat|
|Film Editing by||Raja Gosnell|
|Production Design by||Doug Kraner|
|Art Direction by||Steve Arnold|
|Set Decoration by||Leslie E. Rollins|
|Costume Design by||Kathy O Rear|
|Makeup Department||Milton Buras, Dominic Mango, Bernadette Mazur, Ben Nye III, Bunny Parker, Jamie Sue Weiss, Craig Lyman, Laine Trzinski|
|Production Management||William S. Beasley, Christine A. Johnston, Steve Rose|
|Second Unit Director or Assistant Director||Scott H.C. Delsner, Dean Garvin, James Giovannetti Jr., Freddie Hice, Aimee Kohn, Randy Suhr, Glen Trotiner, Michele Shelley Ziegler|
|Art Department||Carl Aldana, Paul V. Allen Sr., John Berger, Leslie Bloom, Troy Borisy, Robert J. Carlyle, David J. Chamerski, Daniel B. Clancy, William Dambra, Frank Didio, Richard Fernandez, Rossana Fiore, John R. Ford, Robby Green, Vincent Guarriello, Dick Hansen, Amelia Hochberg, Patricia Klawonn, Thomas W. Lay Jr., Blake E. Matthys, Quentin Matthys, John McDonnell, Nancy Mickelberry, Mike Monckton, Robert Bruce Myers, James Nedza, Troy Osman, Tyler Osman, Ron Petagna, Eric Rosenberg, Mike Sasgen, John J. Slove Jr., Carl J. Stensel, Glenn Stevens, Mike Swift, Tom Warren, Dave Weinman, William Allen Jr., Anthony Joseph Fatigato|
|Sound Department||Sandina Bailo-Lape, Tom Barwick, Phil Benson, Gloria S. Borders, Tony Eckert, Andre Fenley, Sue Fox, Clare C. Freeman, J.R. Grubbs, Scott Guitteau, Karen Harding, Tim Holland, Peter Ilardi, Robert Jackson, Ronald Jackson, Ron Judkins, Barbara McBane, Daniel Rosenblum, Claire Sanfilippo, Susan Sanford, Gary Summers, Ewa Sztompke, Randy Thom, Dennie Thorpe, Ethan Van der Ryn, Hugh Waddell, Kent Brown, Sean England, Ronald G. Roumas|
|Special Effects by||Steven Kirshoff, John D. Milinac|
|Visual Effects by||Karen deJong, Rhonda C. Gunner, Don Hansard, Bryan Hirota, Harry Lam, Gregory L. McMurry, Gus Duron|
|Stunts||John Casino, Ray Abbott|
|Camera and Electrical Department||Phil Abraham, Greg Addison, Roger G. Anderson, Frank Byers, Frank Byrne, Phillip V. Caruso, Joe Collins, Gerrit Dangremond, Andy Day, Edwin Effrein, Mark Gulbrandsen, Tony C. Jannelli, Thomas Jirgal, Chaim Kantor, Jeremy Knaster, George Kohut, Peter Kuttner, Gábor Kövér, John Robert Miller, Peter Morello, Mike Moyer, Hernán Otaño, Todd Palladino, Steve Parrington, Leon Sanginiti, Gerard Sava, Abe Schrager, Steven Silverstein, John Waldo, Frank Yario Jr., David Moenkhaus|
|Casting Department||Claudia Ciardelli, Susanna Griffith, Janet Hirshenson, Jane Jenkins, Moira Michiels, Karen Peake, Regina Prokop, Barbara L. Roche, Suzy Sachs, Maria Spaeth, Johnny White, John D. Bair, Christian Kaplan|
|Costume and Wardrobe Department||Michael Adkins, Jacqueline S. Beatka, Patricia Eiben, Bruce R. Hogard, Jennifer Jobst, Beulah Jones-Black, Eileen McCahill, Lisa Padovani, Gina Panno, Heather Pollock|
|Editorial Department||Gary Burritt, Penny Lee Hallin, Dennis McNeill, Kevin D. Ross, Fred C. Vitale, John M. Vitale|
|Location Management||Brett Botula, Kristin Dehnert, Bob Hudgins, James R. McAllister, Stan Mendoza, Rich Moskal, Lauri Pitkus|
|Music Department||Bruce Broughton, Terry Brown, Tom Brown, Ron Colvard, Wade Culbreath, Kevin Dorsey, Edie Lehmann Boddicker, Norman Ludwin, Morrie McNaughton, Maria Newman, Bill Olson, Bryan Pezzone, Allen Sides, Steven L. Smith, Del Spiva, Armin Steiner, Sally Stevens, Jim Walker, John Beal, Bruce Broughton, Thomas Cavanaugh, George Doering, Frank Macchia, Katherine Quittner, John Andrew Schreiner, Chet Swiatkowsky|
|Script and Continuity Department||Trudy Ramirez, Lori Yario|
|Transportation Department||Edward Iacobelli|
|Additional Crew||Joe Beal, Sonia Bhalla, Thomas Bianco, Robert F. Byrnes, Ken Cabrera, Al Cerullo, William Danaher, Bill Danaker, B. Ted Deiker, Melissa Givey, Mark Gulbrandsen, David Hummel, Kimberly Jase, Ross L. Kulma, Rosemary Lombard, Elizabeth J. Nevin, Gerald F. Nichols, Eric A. Pot, Julian Rad, Allen E. Taylor, Laura Tiz, Burton L. Warner, Richard Wicklund, Patty Willett, Derek Decelles, Steve Head, David Lanphier Jr., Sian Rees-Cleland, Matthew Sirianni, David A. Starke, Tom Swift, Greg White|
|Companies||Twentieth Century Fox, Hughes Entertainment|
|Languages||English, American Sign Language, Dutch, Italian, Russian, Swahili|