Sing-a-long White Christmas | The Cary Theater | Screen: Special Showings | Indy Week

Screen: Special Showings

Sing-a-long White Christmas

When: Sat., Dec. 19, 2 & 7 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 20, 2 p.m. 2015




"A jackdaw with a cleft palate could have sung it successfully," goes the widely cited, seldom sourced quote from Bing Crosby. He was talking about Irving Berlin's "White Christmas," thought to be the best-selling Christmas single (or single, period) of all time—one of those rare songs that is almost objectively good. Is any sentimental holiday fare as kind to secular ears? It contains no metaphysics, hosannas or desperate gaiety, only longing for snow and nostalgia for childhood. It makes its emotional appeal through melody, orchestration and Crosby's indelible vocal performance, so sad and comforting. The canny crooner first brought it to the screen in 1942's black-and-white Holiday Inn (yes, that's where the hotel chain got its name) before coming back for more, now in the "brilliance, clarity and beauty" of VistaVision, in 1954's White Christmas. Crosby and Danny Kaye play nightclub performers who travel to Vermont at Christmastime to visit their old army general and get all romantical with a sister act played by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. But it isn't snowing in Vermont and the retired general's inn is in trouble, so the whole gang decides to put on a big fundraiser show. The dance sequences are charming if overlong; the songs are mostly glorious (if you can grit your teeth through "I'd Rather See a Minstrel Show"); the plot is contrived from misheard conversations, faked injuries and phony engagements. It's streaming on Netflix if you need to refresh your memory, though if you don't know "Sisters" now, don't worry—you will, as it seems to be the only song in Betty and Judy's act. Anyway, the Cary Theater will provide lyrics, and even props. For a movie that's mostly singing, dancing and banter, it's hard to imagine what the props might be. Big blue feathered fans? Jackdaws? Dancin' canes? I really, really hope it's dancin' canes.

2 and 7 p.m. Sat.; 2 p.m. Sun., $3$7.50, 122 E. Chatham St., Cary, 919-462-2051, —Brian Howe

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