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Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (DVD) Review by Britt Gillette
One of a plethora of animated Christmas classics created in the 1960's - A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) and How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) come to mind - this rendition of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is unique in that it uses stop-motion animation instead of cartoons to tell its story. Voiced by Burl Ives, Sam the Snowman brilliantly narrates the tale of an awkward reindeer and his firsthand struggle with discrimination. Along the way, Ives sings a number of holiday classics such as “Silver and Gold,” “Holly Jolly Christmas,” and of course, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.
Our story begins when Rudolph’s father, Donner, tries to cover up his newborn son’s shiny, bright red nose with a disguise. When Rudolph attends a flight training school for young reindeer, he encounters Clarice, a young doe who thinks that Rudolph is cute. This revelation causes Rudolph to leap into the air and fly around the sky like a seasoned aviator. But when he lands, the false nose falls off and Rudolph’s red honker is exposed to the scorn and ridicule of young bucks everywhere. Clarice is the only one who doesn’t condemn Rudolph as a freak, but her father soon forbids her to congregate with such a “monster”.
Following this episode, Rudolph runs away only to meet up with an outcast Elf named Hermey who has committed the unforgivable sin of not wanting to make toys. Contrary to the social conventions of his time, Hermey wants to be a dentist. Rudolph and Hermey decide they will run away together. But in due time, they encounter the dangerous Abominable Snow Monster, a giant hairy beast who crushes anyone who leaves Christmastown. Aiding in their rescue is Yukon Cornelius, a burly prospector who chops off a piece of ice with his pick ax, allowing Rudolph, Hermey, and himself to float away from the Abominable Snow Monster (who can’t swim).
After floating through the night, the three characters discover The Land of Misfit Toys – an island of handicapped, screwed-up toys rejected by elf quality-control managers and forced to live away their best years in an icy wasteland. Our three heroes can relate to the misfit toys, and Rudolph promises to inform Santa of their status the next time he sees him.
But in order to reach Santa, Rudolph, Hermey, and Yukon Cornelius must first facedown the Abominable Snow Monster. Can they get past the angry monster? And if so, can they get to Santa in time for his Christmas deliveries? Will the weather put a halt to Santa’s Christmas plans?
This breakthrough Claymation classic is essential for any child’s Christmas experience (and that of adults who grew up watching the much-anticipated holiday special on TV). That’s why this ranks as a definite “must-see” by any standard. But undoubtedly, we all owe a special thanks to J.C. Penny, the giant retail chain that created Rudolph as part of a promotional gimmick one fabled Christmas season many decades ago. Because it just wouldn’t be Christmas without Rudolph…
Britt Gillette is author of The DVD Report, a blog where you can find more reviews like this one of the Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (DVD).
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