Mr. Krueger's Christmas Jimmy Stewart conducting Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Mr. Krueger’s Christmas—the one take that made the film iconic

What one scene (done in one take) made the film iconic?
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Have you seen the Christmas classic Mr. Krueger’s Chrsitmas?

James Stewart plays Willy Krueger, a widowed apartment janitor who lives in a basement flat with his cat George. On a cold Christmas Eve, he daydreams to escape his lonely life: he muses about being a man of culture and means, an ice dance at Temple Square, a sleigh ride, as well as the conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and also imagines himself in the stable with Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus.

Kieth Merrill, who directed Mr. Krueger’s Christmas, had this to say about Jimmy Stewart’s scene with the Christ-child in the manger in a Meridian Magazine article:

Following the rehearsal of the scene where Mr. Krueger visits the manger and pays homage to the Christ Child Jimmy pulled me aside and said, “I need to do this in one take.”

He had certainly proven his ability to nail a scene in one take, but on our low budget I only had one camera and I needed coverage to make the scene work. Cinema 101. Wide. Medium. Close Up. I tried to explain. Then, in that private moment, he shared his feelings for the Savior in a way that in our Mormon tradition was akin to bearing testimony:

For me this scene and these words are very personal and very real and I will not be able to do it twice.

I am confident in telling you that Mr. Krueger’s emotions as he kneels and talks to the Babe in the manger reflect in reality the feelings of James Stewart toward the Lord, Jesus Christ. The reverence for the Savior of the World so beautifully manifested by Mr. Krueger was a genuine sentiment for this marvelous actor who brought the wondrous old man of Michael McLean’s imagination to life. Gratefully he agreed to one additional take that gave us what we needed to edit the scene together.

Let’s cultivate that same emotion in ourselves and gratefully #LIGHTtheWORLD with acts of kindness and service this holiday season!

 

 


 

 

 


 

 


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