Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Greatest Trailers of All Time: MIRACLE ON 34th STREET

One of the great things about old trailers is how so many of them went out of their way to emphasize how different and unique the films were, even if the opposite was true. There's no better example than the trailer for George Seaton's beloved classic MIRACLE ON 34th STREET, a wonderful film, no doubt, but not one that we think of bizarre and unclassifiable.

Part of the reason for the unusual (but effective) concept of the trailer was to hide the fact that MIRACLE ON 34th STREET is a Christmas picture, since Fox opened the film in May 1947 (actually 62 years as of this Saturday), apparently because Zanuck argued that it would do better in the summer (he was right - it was one of the biggest hits of '47). I love the idea about how it's a film that's so unclassifiable that the studio doesn't know how to sell it ("Is it a romantic love story? Is it an exciting thriller? Is it a hilarious comedy? Make up your minds!"), but it's the word of mouth (supplied by such Fox contract stars as Rex Harrison, Anne Baxter, Peggy Ann Garner and Dick Haymes) that really sells the picture, so no matter what season it is, it's a film worth seeing. It would all be laughable if it were any movie other than MIRACLE ON 34th STREET, but since it really is all those things they describe it as (I had no idea that "groovy" was around back in '47), you've got to let it pass. This is one of the few classic movies that really lives up to it's classic trailer:

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