White Christmas review

Curtiz's Christmas classic gets restored

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A permanent resident on Yuletide telly, Michael Curtiz’s cosy crowd-pleaser shuffles out of retirement for a timely big-screen encore.

This was the Mamma Mia! of its day, a nostalgic blast of popular Irving Berlin showtunes gift-wrapped in new-fangled VistaVision that danced its way to the top of the 1954 box office.

Ignore the join-the-dots plot, about wartime buddies Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye putting on a show to help out their old general and woo the girls (including Rosemary ‘aunt of George’ Clooney).

Instead, warm your cockles with Bing’s crooning of the evergreen title track, Kaye’s brisk backtalk and old pro Curtiz’s effortless handing of the sumptuous production values (lovingly restored to showcase the rosy lustre of Technicolor).

As one character puts it, “plenty of schmaltz, lots of heart”.

Simon Kinnear

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