This is the second oldest movie on the list we're doing (after Miracle on 34th Street). And since we love movie pop culture, I know you won't judge me for my reason for picking it. I wanted to see the movie that Chevy Chase is talking about here:
"We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse. " - National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed either. It starts off with Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) performing for the troops on Christmas Eve 1944. At the end of the show, their commanding Major General Waverly (Dean Jagger) announces he is being sent back to the States. The guys will really miss him, and sing him off. When the barracks are attacked, a would-be entertainer Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) saves Bob's life, getting injured in the process. Back in the States, Phil convinces Bob that they should team up and perform together. They actually become really successful, producing their own show on Broadway. One night they get a letter from an old Army buddy asking them to audition his sisters. They go and see the two sisters, Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy (Vera-Ellen) perform. They like the girls, but they're booked to perform at the Columbia Inn, in Pine Tree, Vt for the holidays. The guys follow the girls to the Inn, planning for a vacation and keep seeing the girls. They find out their former Major General owns the Inn. However, there's no snow, so the Inn is pretty much empty and in danger of collapsing. Bob and Phil stick around thinking they might find a way to help.
Bob and Betty really hit it off, but Betty is reluctant to break up her act with her sister to work with him. Judy finds out about this - and convinces Phil that if they become engaged, it'll make Betty feel free to see Bob and build her career, but of course it backfires a bit. Eventually Bob saves the day by making a plea on TV during a Christmas performance on a variety show to get people to come to the Inn for Christmas. Of course lots of people show up and they put on a huge Christmas show ("I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas") and of course it starts to snow.
This is a really classic movie of the 1950s - a meet-cute, women with gumption who can take care of themselves, a connection to the war, and a big number that saves the day. There were a lot of songs I recognized (some from SNL skits of the Lawrence Welk show), and a fair number of Christmas songs. They don't rely on the "it's Christmas so be happy" , but more on the use of Christmas to bring people together for a show. The singing and dancing is terrific (and there is a lot of it), and I really enjoyed it.