Do you believe in Santa Claus? These days, Santa is one of the things that adults are not encouraged to believe in. That’s because it’s much easier to buy into the idea that old Saint Nick is just an icon of commercialization who appears on Coca-Cola cans every holiday season. There’s so much Santa Claus in pop culture that we tend to forget that the spirit of Christmas is about giving gifts, rather than receiving them. The 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street understood this when it introduced audiences to Kris Kringle, a Macy’s department store Santa who so thoroughly embodied the best of Christmas that he may just have been the real Santa Claus.
Hollywood does love a remake, and in 1994, Miracle on 34th Street was remade for a new generation of viewers. In 2023, both versions of Miracle on 34th Street are considered holiday classics, and they’re both available to stream. As an early Christmas gift, we’re going to tell you where you can find both of them.
Edmund Gwenn may be the only actor to have won an Academy Award for playing Santa. At least that’s true if you believe that Gwenn’s Kris Kringle was the real deal. Gwenn was so engaging in the role that he won Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars, while the film itself took home two additional screenwriting awards.
Gwenn appeared opposite future Hollywood icon Natalie Wood as Susan Walker, a young girl who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus … until she meets Kris. Susan’s mother, Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara), is dismayed by Kris’ ardent belief that he is Santa. And when Kris is involuntarily committed to an asylum, Doris’ significant other, Fred Gailey (John Payne), has to go to court and prove that he is the one true Santa Claus.
Watch Miracle on 34th Street (1947) on Hulu.
Surprise! It’s the Huludays on Hulu, and since Disney owns both versions of Miracle on 34th Street, it just wouldn’t make sense to leave one of them on the shelf. The remake’s story is mostly the same as the 1947 version, with Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle, Elizabeth Perkins as Dorey Walker, and Mara Wilson as Susan Walker. For this incarnation of the movie, Dorey’s boyfriend was renamed Bryan Bedford and portrayed by Dylan McDermott.
Strangely enough, Macy’s declined to be involved with the remake despite being Kris’ place of employment in the original film. That was Macy’s loss, because the remake of Miracle on 34th Street is just as delightful as it was 47 years earlier. Since it’s now been 29 years since the remake hit theaters, we may be due for another remake in the near future.
Watch Miracle on 34th Street (1994) on Hulu.
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