Sunday, December 17, 2017

Deck the Halls and a Ho Ho Ho!


I'm running out of Christmas titles I must confess. Much like Halloween Season, I think this will be my final year of covering the usual television and movies during Christmas Season. Time to retire both epic writing marathons, methinks.

This will my ongoing Christmas thread, to end as the 25th concludes. Maybe you will be watching some of these, too!


I kicked the early evening off with Jimmy Durante singing to us about Frosty the Snowman (1969). Jackie Vernon as the kindly voiced snowman, made by school kids and brought to life by a stingy, greedy magician's hat. Needing to go to the North Pole in order to not melt, Frosty is aided by a little girl, a train ride, and eventually Santa (of course). The memorable music and voicework continue to keep this a beloved holiday classic. And Frosty sure gets a reaction from the town as he passes through. *****


The same with unfairly ridiculed Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964). It's music and work by Ives as Sam, the Snowman (nice to have another talking snowman, I reckon), who narrates, and once again heavy use of Santa, makes it an ideal partner to Frosty.




Obviously, after watching Nestor (1977) not but a few days ago, it is exactly modeled after Rudolph, with that message of “misfit” disregarded by his peers found to have merit despite rejection always something I think many consider special to them. I think anyone in Rudolph and Nestor’s position, subjected to jeers and confronted by disappointment through no fault of their own, can emphasize. It is message that continues to resonate. The island of misfit toys and the giant Abominable Snowman (not to mention, Yukon Cornelius) Rudolph and a rejected elf, Hermey, encounter on their adventure away from the North Pole [Santa’s workshop] pad out the stop-motion animated classic, with Santa and head elf (no real name but a voice that is quite authoritative and nasty) realizing the error of their ways…Hermey wants to be a dentist and it is realized there isn’t one at the North Pole, so why not? Rudolph’s red nose proving to be valuable as Santa realizes he doesn’t have to “cancel Christmas” might be considered differently perhaps (if there isn’t a storm Rudolph’s red nose might not be considered significant but continue to be a nuisance to those who felt he wasn’t worthy to be among them) by some as a “deformity” to be exploited, but I like to focus on how he might be different than the others but just as deserved to exist and live among them.*****

I included images before Scrooge is visited by Marley as I think this is Stewart at his best as the miser in TNT's A Christmas Carol.









I will certainly have more things to say when I get home from work this afternoon. Started on the 1999 version of A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart but a workout came in the middle of the viewing so I went into the early Monday and so a review will just have to wait. I think I appreciate the beginning the most while certain visits to places perhaps I felt weren’t all that necessary (not detrimental to the viewing, however). I will just have to elaborate more on that after work. Still I think Stewart is a lot of fun as Scrooge when not particularly pleasant, and particularly enjoyed how Cratchett (Richard E Grant) expressively responds to him when he is and isn’t looking. And Dominic West in an atypical part as Scrooge’s nephew is quite a pleasant fellow, with a kind face and realistic tone to his Merry Christmas that doesn’t feel overly forced. This adaptation used to get quite the pub by TNT (behind its making) but over the last 8 or so years, the network kind of just buries it somewhere at the beginning of the month with little promotion. Stewart even looks great as the menace that leaves distaste in those seeking charities for the poor or singing carols that bring about his ire. And particularly how Scrooge just tears into Cratchett is noteworthy. ***

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