LAST MOVIE WATCHED: Miracle on 34th Street
Initially I had both versions of this list for separate days, then I just decided to do just the old one....and THEN realized this was a prime opportunity for another matchup comparison post!! Christmas Edition. So instead of the brief write up I have been doing on the other posts in the series, I'll do a quick comparison of the different aspects of each version, pick a winner per category, then give a final rating for each film....so here we go:
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET MATCHUP
Kris Kringle: Edmund Gwenn vs. Richard Attenborough. Okay, I'll admit a bias....to me Richard Attenborough will always be John Hammond from Jurassic Park. There's just no way around it. Plus he seems to have a meaner streak than the very mild performance given by Gwenn. Santa shouldn't be threatening people with canes all the time! The kinder Gwenn is definitely a better fit. Attenborough has his moments...but gotta give it to Gwenn. WINNER: Edmund Gwenn.
Susan Walker: Natalie Wood vs. Mara Wilson. This is another very clear category for me. There's something about young Natalie Wood that was just so charming in this role. You could see how her mother influences her to act far beyond her years. It feels natural. Whereas Mara Wilson just seems uber precocious...and not in the cute way. Wilson did have a good bond with Kringle, but I felt that Wood's eventual faith in Santa seemed more natural and believable. WINNER: Natalie Wood.
Ms. Walker - Maureen O'Hara vs. Elizabeth Perkins. Maureen O'Hara is always solid and you really can never go wrong with her...but Elizabeth Perkins is surprisingly good too. I don't think she's ever looked prettier, and she was very believable in the role of successful business woman, yet concerned and protective mother. Both really stand out for me... WINNER: Draw
Fred Gaily/Bryan Bedford: John Payne vs. Dylan McDermott. I think both men play their roles very very well. Both made the case for their Santas and did a great job of convincing both the jury and the audience to believe in Kris. Payne probably is the most believable lawyer and believes in his Kris more...But it is the lines delivered by these men that carry the movie. McDermott probably has a slight edge since his character was a little more developed and well rounded (ie: we saw his romantic intentions a little more clearly, so the end doesn't just come out of left field) but really, both are great. WINNER: McDermott if I had to choose....and probably for shallow purposes...
WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER: I think both films are worth watching and have a lot going for them. Both have a lot of interesting things to say. I like the playful, light way the courtroom is handled in the remake, but I prefer how the hearing ends in the original. But I will say Susan's wish is a bit more fun in the remake since it seems even more impossible...and it's fun to see how all the pieces fall into place for it to come true. In the end though the original wins. I'd rate it as an 8.5 and the remake a 7.2.
UP NEXT: RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER