HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Becky
Salon Kitty
Misbehaviour
Charles, Dead or Alive
Gretel and Hansel
Mademoiselle
Tunnel, The
India Song
Last Rhino, The
Made in Hong Kong
Ring of Spies
Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad
Pocketful of Miracles
The Tomb: Devil's Revenge
Sidecar Racers
Space Dogs
Out/Marriage
Safety Last!
Bride Who Has Returned from Hell, The
Show Boat
Savage
City Called Dragon, A
I Used to Go Here
Six Suspects
Still the Water
Not Now, Comrade
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Wives of the Skies
Two Heads Creek
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
Captain, The
Great Wall, A
Trout, The
Zorba the Greek
Horror Crowd, The
Matthias & Maxime
Bullet for the President, A
Constant Husband, The
Anbessa
Man in Grey, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
   
 
  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer He went down in history, apparently
Year: 1964
Director: Arthur Rankin, Jules Bass
Stars: Billie Mae Richards, Burl Ives, Paul Soles, Janet Orenstein, Larry D. Mann, Alfie Scopp, Carl Banas
Genre: Musical, Animated, Fantasy, TV MovieBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 4 votes)
Review: A genuine Christmas classic, this was the first of several popular stop-motion animated holiday specials from producers Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass that implanted themselves upon generations of young minds, including several budding filmmakers. Subsequently, traces of Rudolph’s quirky influence can be found in the likes of Toy Story (1996) and The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).

Inspired by the famous, yuletide novelty tune, this has friendly Sam the Snowman (voiced by and styled to resemble Burl Ives) narrate the tale of a forlorn, baby reindeer (Billie May Richards) born with a very shiny nose. You could even say it glows. His papa, Donner, proud leader of Santa’s sleigh team, is mortified and tries to hide the offending appendage behind a crude fake nose. At flying practice, Rudolph dazzles the other bucks with his high-flying aerial acrobatics, and wins the heart of a comely young doe called Clarice (Janet Orenstein), but sure enough his fake nose falls off. All of the other reindeer laugh and call him names and the coach declares henceforth, they’ll never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games. Worse, Clarice’s father forbids her from ever seeing him again.

Meanwhile, over in Santa’s workshop, the elves are busy making toys for children, but a hapless little elf called Hermey (Paul Soles) can’t help making mistakes, like building a truck with square wheels. In fact, none of his toys are any good and that is because young Hermey - to the horror of every elf in town - doesn’t want to make toys. He wants to become a dentist! That little announcement is enough to get him kicked out of the North Pole, whereupon he befriends lonely, little Rudolph. Resigned to being a couple of misfits, Rudolph and Hermey set off to find their own path in life, and are swiftly joined by the larger than life, heroic, prospector Yukon Cornelius (Larry D. Mann) and his team of brave sledge dogs. After a memorable stopover at the Island of Misfit Toys and a hair-raising encounter with the dreaded Abominable Snowman, it falls to Rudolph to prove that even a misfit can make a difference on Christmas Eve.

For those who did not grow up watching this every year, the story might sound cloying and insufferably twee. While every Christmas-themed story is inevitably sprinkled with sugar, the Japan based Rankin-Bass Studio set a trend for counteracting sentimentality with surreal plot-twists, quirky gags and oddball characters. Better still, at a time when children’s cartoons were dominated by chintzy fairytale heroes with perfect teeth and impeccably coiffed hair, screenwriter Romeo Muller dared to suggest that the misfits and nonconformists of this world (be they a reindeer with a glowing nose, or an elf dentist) are worthy of respect and can contribute just as much to society. It’s a message open to any impoverished child, ethnic minority, or the just plain different.

In that spirit, and while Rudolph, Hermey and Yokon Cornelius are all lovable characters, the real stars of the show are the inhabitants of the Island of Misfit Toys. Protected by their benevolent ruler, King Moonracer, the misfit toys are unloved by children and resigned to an unhappy life on the island, dreaming that one day Santa will find them a home. Which, every year, he never does. Indeed so poignant was their plight - including the polka-dotted elephant, a cowboy who rides an ostrich, a talking water pistol that squirts jelly, and Misfit Dolly (who delivers the haunting line: “I haven’t any dreams left to dream” and whom Rankin claimed was animation’s first psychologically traumatised heroine!) - that viewers asked Rankin-Bass to revise the ending, so that Rudolph finds each of his friends a loving home.

Further delights include a host of catchy tunes by Johnny Marks, many of which went on to become Christmas standards. Marks’ earlier hit, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” also appears as instrumental background music. The pace never lags throughout some engaging action and emotional scenes - prepare to gasp when Yukon Cornelius falls off a cliff! Plus you get to see a tough prospector and an elf kick an Abominable Snowman’s ass. A number of sequels followed, well into the millennium, whose continued success allowed Rankin-Bass to delve into animated feature films (The Daydreamer (1966), Mad Monster Party (1967), The Last Unicorn (1982)), monster movies (King Kong Escapes (1967), The Bermuda Depths (1978) - also starring Burl Ives!), samurai films (Bushido Blade (1978)), and even a musical version of Marco Polo (1977). They also made Thundercats, but let's not hold that against them.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3639 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Jules Bass  (1935 - )

American animator and producer who, after a career in advertising, set up a company with Arthur Rankin to create animated specials for television, such as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. From the sixties onwards, they created a few films for cinema, such as Daydreamer, Mad Monster Party?, Flight of Dragons and The Last Unicorn. Also a composer of songs.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: