When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing.

Director:

George Seaton

Writers:

George Seaton (written for the screen by), Valentine Davies (story)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Maureen O'Hara ... Doris Walker
John Payne ... Fred Gailey
Edmund Gwenn ... Kris Kringle
Gene Lockhart ... Judge Henry X. Harper
Natalie Wood ... Susan Walker
Porter Hall ... Granville Sawyer
William Frawley ... Charlie Halloran
Jerome Cowan ... Dist. Atty. Thomas Mara
Philip Tonge ... Julian Shellhammer
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Storyline

At the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the actor playing Santa is discovered to be drunk by a whiskered old man. Doris Walker, the no nonsense special events director, persuades him to take his place. He proves to be a sensation and is quickly recruited to be the store Santa at the main store. While he is successful, Doris learns that he calls himself Kris Kringle and he claims to be the actual Santa Claus. Despite reassurances by his doctor that he is harmless, Doris still has misgivings, especially when she has cynically trained herself, and especially her daughter, Susan, to reject all notions of belief and fantasy. And yet, people, especially Susan, begin to notice there is something special about Kris and his determination to advance the true spirit of Christmas among the rampant commercialism around him and succeeding in improbable ways. When a raucous conflict with the store's cruelly incompetent therapist, Granville Sawyer, erupts, he finds himself held at Bellevue where, in ... Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

20th Century-Fox Entertainment Miracle! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Family

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Thelma Ritter's film debut. See more »

Goofs

When Fred Gailey is explaining to Judge Harper that people who are who they believe themselves to be are not unbalanced, he states that Kris is Santa Claus, to which Judge Harper quickly responds "But he isn't." Fred should have immediately asked for a new hearing, because Judge Harper had obviously made a decision and revealed it in open court before the hearing concluded. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Shellhammer: But... but maybe he's only a little crazy like painters or composers or... or some of those men in Washington.
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Alternate Versions

Also available in two computer colorized versions. The film was first colorized in 1985 by Color Systems Technology, Inc. and again in 2006 by Legend Films using much-improved technology. Prints came with a disclaimer: "It has been altered without the participation of the principal director, screenwriter and other creators of the original film." See more »

Connections

Referenced in At the Movies: Colorizing: Hollywood's New Vandalism (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played when Shellhammer is telling Kringle the pretext to leave
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User Reviews

 
Edmund Gwenn as Santa: a deserving Oscar winner
22 November 2001 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Christmas confection from Twentieth Century Fox, released in the summer of 1947 (!), might have been a treacly mess were it not for director George Seaton's nimble handling and his wise, caring screenplay-adaptation from Valentine Davies' story. Edmund Gwenn is perfectly cast as the department store Santa who really is; Natalie Wood is adorable as a non-believing tyke who learns about faith and miracles. A most deserving recipient of the Supporting Actor Oscar, Gwenn seems like an incredibly nice man--maybe because he never has to force kindliness; more than that, he has an innate happiness and twinkle that comes from within (he truly glows in this part). Dated? Perhaps. But the message of belief, ultimately, is timeless and the silvery black-and-white cinematography from Lloyd Ahern and Charles Clarke is wonderful. The adults--Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Gene Lockhart, William Frawley and Thelma Ritter (in a wonderful bit) all shine in this classic fairy tale. It is a film without artifice. Four Oscar nominations with three wins including Seaton for his screenplay and Davies for Best Original Story. Remade for television three times; a theatrical remake followed in 1994. ***1/2 from ****


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Dutch

Release Date:

4 July 1947 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

It's Only Human See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$527
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Black and White | Black and White (B&W)| Black and White (Black & White)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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