When it comes to movie musicals based around the Christmas holiday there are not many that come to mind. Musicals in general have been a genre that has suffered mostly in more recent years, as it fails to draw as many people in and therefore they tend to make less money. With the exception of Chicago in 2002 (which won the Academy Award for Best Picture) no musical movie has cracked the $150,000 mark domestically (US).
Grease is the only musical movie which has earned more than Chicago since 1975.
So for me when I was thinking about Christmas movies and if there were any that were musicals, the first one that popped into my head was White Christmas, even though I had never seen it. I believe this had a lot to do with the song White Christmas that is sung during the movie. Little did I know that the song was written over 10 years prior and first made popular in a different movie entirely, Holiday Inn.
Both movies feature Bing Crosby who became known for the song even though he was never meant to be the one to sing it in the first place. The song was intended to be sung by his co-star Marjorie Reynolds (over dubbed by Martha Mears) but became a duet with Crosby. Crosby originally recorded a radio version of the song in 1942 but had to re-record it in 1947 since the master became damaged.
The song was also in a medley sung in Bing Crosby movie Blue Skies.
When I finally watched White Christmas it really becomes apparent that the movie was more written around the idea to include the song than having the song written for the movie. White Christmas struck me more as a romance that has a few Christmas scenes (featuring the song) than a Christmas movie featuring a romance.
Holiday Inn however is more of a holiday movie, rather than a Christmas movie. Song writer Irving Berlin wrote songs for many of the holidays including a super racist number for Abraham Lincoln’s birthday performed in black face. The plot for the movie takes place from holiday to holiday as opposed to White Christmas which the main plot takes place over the “holidays” (but doesn’t feature snow much at all!).
Not something you want to be remembered for.
So of course White Christmas and Holiday Inn are not the only musicals that have a Christmas theme but they are probably the most memorable. There have also been musical versions of A Christmas Carol, probably more than I even am aware of. Likely the most well-known musical adaptation is The Muppet Christmas Carol – which is saying a lot. There was also a feature film musical released in 1970 called Scrooge and a TV movie in 2004 called A Christmas Carol the Musical.
I am a fan of the Muppets so naturally I like The Muppet Christmas Carol best between it and Scrooge but I have not seen A Christmas Carol a Musical. Based on the amount of reviews the latter received, likely not too many people got to see it either – not overly surprising for a TV movie though. Unfortunately I could not find any box office numbers for Scrooge but The Muppets made over double their budget and were the 2nd highest G rated film of 1992 behind Aladdin.
What would happen if Malfoy got turned into a rat
instead of a ferret and made a musical.
There is also The Nutcracker in 3D that I don’t believe ever saw a wide release in North America. I honestly couldn’t watch the entire movie it was just so bad. It’s definitely not doing any favours for the Christmas themed musicals genre. It does feature John Turturro (who is normally awesome) as a weird rat king… so there’s that. It likely would have won the Golden Raspberry it was nominated for (Worst Eye Gouging Use of 3D) if The Last Airbender hadn’t come out that same year.
To finish things off, I would say that if you are interested in watching a Christmas musical ask yourself this – do you prefer puppets or do you prefer quality singing and dancing? If it is puppets, then the clear winner is The Muppet Christmas Carol, but if it is quality then watch White Christmas.
Featuring songs you’ve never heard of!
Or as an alternative check out one of the Christmas movies that was turned into a stage play such as Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story, or Elf!
What do you think about Christmas musical movies? Did we miss one of your favourites? Let us know in the comments!