Wikipedia ruined my favorite movie for me. Every year since 1984 I have watched White Christmas, often before Thanksgiving. How I would love to live in Pine Tree, Vermont, watching the Haynes sisters rehearse and spending nights in the gingerbread cottages, roasting wieners in the lodge fireplace. What a simple, beautiful, stylish place and time. Throw in a couple of old soldiers and a little romance and you've got yourself a great movie.
Vera Ellen, the actress who plays Judy Haynes has always fascinated me. Her dance routines in this movie are so graceful, her clothes so stylish, her waist so tiny. Vera's legs seemed to go on forever and her ankles were slimmer than a fawn's. With each viewing of White Christmas my sister Karen and I would marvel at her amazing body and dancing talent. What ever happened to Vera Ellen? Why don't I remember seeing her in any other movies? Wikipedia* to the rescue! What I discovered wasn't flattering, and it colors my enjoyment of the movie.
Yes, wise reader, you've figured it out. Vera Ellen was a raging anorexic. Her illness was so severe that by the time she made White Christmas in her early 30's she had to wear outfits that covered her neck because she was aging so severely. Her anorexia ended her career. For twenty or more years I've viewed Vera Ellen as the cat's meow body-wise, and it's all been a fraud. Who the hell sleeps in pajamas with a Neru jacket? Why didn't I see her for what she was? Poor, sick woman. Poor sick me for idolizing a woman who's thin physique was the result of a deadly illness. Hey, at least she didn't have worms.
*Follow the link to her biography on IMDB.