This heart-warming children's movie is an incredibly cynical attack on societal pressure.
So you think that, in Miracle on 34th Street
, Kris Kringle is actually Santa Claus, and exonerated — or at least a harmless old man who deserves his delusion? Nothing could be further from the truth.
- Nothing in the movie is supernatural. Kris has to ask Susan what she wants for Christmas; he only gets out of the sanitarium because of purely mundane events; and even the house at the end is only for sale, not bought and paid for.
- To quote Futurama: When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
- Everything that happens to exonerate Kris is not only mundane, but paints the justice system as ineffective and biased.
- The judge who agrees to take the case only does so because his friend points out that he will not be re-elected if he puts "Santa Claus" in the looney bin.
- The only reason the State of New York admits the existence of Santa Claus is because the prosecutor doesn't want to admit to his son that he lied to him. Were he single, the case would have gone in a very different direction.
- The letters from the Post Office that exonerate Kris are sent purely because the workers are lazy and want to get them off their hands. This "evidence" is accepted because the judge doesn't want to be made a fool of.
- These are the same acts of enlightened self-interest that get the lady what she wants in The Song of Bernadette. The civil authorities don't believe the lady exists, but it becomes politically or personally inconvenient for them to deny her requests.
- In the end, Susan's Dream Home is "For Sale," and Kris knows where to send them. The owners are mysteriously missing. So, either he is Santa Claus and brought the house into existence—or he's a wack-job and he murdered the owners so that the girl he's obsessed with associates him with a happy event. Or he could have had access to the real-estate classifieds while in Bellevue awaiting trial.
- He didn't need to bring the house into existence. He's been delivering toys there for years. It's hardly a unique design, he just sent them to the nearest one that was for sale.
- The house was already for sale likely at the beginning of the story. Susan shows Kris the real estate classifieds in the paper, so Kris didn't bring his house into existence. It already existed and was on the market. Kris just made sure that Fred, Doris, and Susan would drive right past it and Doris and Fred were convinced to buy the house. Susan is a seven-year-old girl. Despite Mom's hard dose of reality, she probably didn't realize that the dream house already existed and thought that Kris conjured it out of thin air.
- Since she got the picture of the house out of the real estate section, she knew it was real and that Kris had not magicked it up. 1) Kris told Fred to drive that way 2) there was the house, still for sale. These things told her that Kris had located the house for Fred to buy.
- The last line of the film is from defense attorney Fred Gailey, who sees Kris's cane in the Dream Home and says, on his winning the case for him, "Maybe I didn't do such a wonderful thing after all." Note that he does not use "amazing," but "wonderful." Hence, the line can be read in one of two ways: a) He realizes that Kris is Santa, and Mr. Gailey didn't have to be a great lawyer to show the truth, or b) He realizes that they just let a dangerous, deluded pedophile out on the streets and that Kris is obsessed with young Susan, to the point that he's willing to buy (or kill for) Susan's Dream Home.
- Or maybe he just realized he's now going to have to shill out more than just a few pennies in order to finish making Susan's dream come true.
- Or Fred is concerned that Kris has decided to move in with the family permanently.
Every December 24th, we leave out milk and cookies for Edmund Gwenn.
Well somebody had to say it!
- I thought everyone knew that!
Kris Kringle is neither insane nor Santa Claus.
Kris Kringle is just a very rich old man with a lot of free time on his hands, who every Christmas goes around pretending to be Santa to try to bring a little magic back in Christmas by doing seemingly miraculous things that he has prepared for well in advance. And he's so convicted to keeping the magic alive that he refuses to admit he's not Santa Claus, even though not doing so could result in being committed.