Susan Walker’s mother Doris (Natalie Wood and Maureen O’Hara respectively) is a divorced lady who has adopted a very straight-forward and no-nonsense attitude about raising her daughter. There’s no place for common childhood fantasies – just direct answers about what is real and what is not.
That leaves out any need for Santa Claus.
But, Doris Walker works for the famous New York department store Macy’s – and, she’s in charge of the annual Christmas parade. The parade prominently features Santa Claus and she is the one who who has to hire someone to play the part – and then to make sure her daughter understands that he is just an actor.
On the day of the parade, Santa decides to keep the chill off with a bottle on the hip.
A man named Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) steps forward from the crowd before the parade begins and points out to Doris Walker that Santa is inebriated.
She fires the man on the spot, and noticing that Kringle has the perfect Santa Claus look, convinces him to appear in the parade.
He’s such a hit that he’s hired to continue as Santa at the store.
Thus begins a series of events that will shake things up – both at Macy’s, and in the lives of Susan and Doris Walker. Not the least of which is when Kringle claims to actually be Santa Claus and his mental state is questioned. At this point a young lawyer named Fred Gailey (John Payne) takes up his cause.
It’s a beautiful, heart-touching story and the acting is perfect. Some movies are treasures and this is one of them.
Notable names also appearing in the movie are William Frawley and Gene Lockhart.