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Greensboro gifted with big-screen showings of White Christmas

Whether it snows or not this holiday season, one thing’s for certain: You’re bound to hear Bing Crosby’s rendition of “White Christmas” at one time or another. For years it was the best-selling single of all time, and remains one of the most popular songs ever recorded in the world.

This year, however, you can also see White Christmas on the big screen. This year marks the film’s diamond (60 th ) anniversary, and Fathom Events has joined forces with Paramount Home Media to bring White Christmas to a theater near you, with two theatrical showings on Sunday, Dec. 14, and an additional encore screening on Monday, Dec. 15.

In Greensboro, White Christmas will be screened at the Brassfield Cinema 10 and the Greensboro Grande Stadium 16.

The song White Christmas was introduced by Crosby in the 1942 film Holiday Inn and won the Oscar for Best Song that year. So popular was the song that Paramount decided to essentially remake Holiday Inn a dozen years later, reuniting stars Crosby and Fred Astaire, but this time in Technicolor and the brand-new widescreen process “VistaVision.”

Astaire, however, dropped out of the project. Donald O’Connor was signed to take his role but illness forced him to drop out, too. Danny Kaye was thus signed to co-star with Crosby as a pair of Army buddies and popular nightclub performers who decide to help their former commanding officer (Dean Jagger, an Oscar winner for 1949’s Twelve O’Clock High) save his “holiday inn” – the Pine Tree Ski Lodge – from certain closure by putting on a variety show.

Vera-Ellen and Rosemary Clooney play song-and-dance siblings who join Crosby and Kaye – and provide them with requisite romantic interest – as they celebrate the holidays in high style. Rest assured, a happy ending is in the offing. The inn will be saved, the guys and gals pair off, and eventually it starts to snow – guaranteeing a “White Christmas.”

In addition to the title number, which by then had become a classic, the film boasts such Irving Berlin compositions as “Snow,”

“The Old Man,” “Sisters,” “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing” and “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” which earned an Oscar nomination as Best Song.

White Christmas was directed by Michael Curtiz, whose many Hollywood classics include The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), Mildred Pierce (1945), the 1958 Elvis Presley showcase King Creole, and 1943’s Best-Picture Oscar winner Casablanca (1943), for which he won the Oscar as Best Director.

White Christmas proved a massive success with audiences, grossing over $30 million in its original release (according to Wikipedia) and becoming 1954’s biggest box-office hit of the year. Subsequent theatrical re-releases and countless television broadcasts have introduced it to subsequent generations of film fans all over the world.

In addition to the feature film, audiences at the “Diamond Anniversary” screenings will be treated to an exclusive featurette detailing stories behind the making of the film, a retrospective of Irving Berlin’s song White Christmas, and original theatrical trailers for the film.

“For 60 years, fans have enjoyed and sung along to White Christmas, which features some of Irving Berlin’s most enduring melodies,” noted Shelly Maxwell, Fathom Events executive vice president, in an official statement. “We at Fathom Events are very happy to have the opportunity to bring this classic back to the big screen for families to enjoy together during this holiday season.”

The theatrical screenings of White Christmas, which will be broadcast to more than 600 cinemas around the country, coincide with the recent DVD/Blu-ray re-release of the film from Paramount – which yours truly duly noted in his column a few weeks back. !

WANNA go?

White Christmas will be screened 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, at Brassfield Cinema 10 (2101 New Garden Road, Greensboro) and Greensboro Grande Stadium 16 (3205 Northline Ave., Greensboro), and again at 7 pm Monday, Dec. 15 at both theaters. Tickets for Brassfield are $4.75 (general admission). Tickets for Greensboro Grande are $12.50 (general admission). For advance tickets or more information, visit the official Fathom Events website: www.FathomEvents.com

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