Strange and Unusual Christmas Films
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- Run Time: 1 hours, 47 minutes
- Video: Black & White & Color
- Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
- Released: November 29, 2016
- Originally Released: 1945
- Label: Alpha Video
Performers, Cast and Crew:
|Starring||Morris Ankrum & Jeanine Charrat|
|Directed by||Karel Zeman, Jean Benoît-Lévy & Sid Davis|
Description by OLDIES.com:
A Christmas Dream (1945): This extraordinary Czechoslovakian film uses stop-motion animation to tell the story of an unwanted rag doll on Christmas Eve. The first work of Karel Zeman (The Fabulous World of Jules Verne), A Christmas Dream won the Grand Prix International for best short fiction film at the 1946 Cannes Film Festival. This is the slightly edited version sold by Castle Films for the home movie market.
Santa Claus' Story (1945): A maniacally laughing Santa Claus slides down the chimney to regale little Jackie and Virginia with his knowledge of...monkeys. Yes, this Castle Films entry uses Christmas as an excuse to teach children about primates. "Monkeys are very much like human beings in many ways", says that jolly old elf. They even have their own Santa! Bizarrely, Virginia is played by a child in some shots, and a midget wearing makeup in others.
The Night Before Christmas (1946): This film mixes live-action and animation to bring Clement C. Moore's immortal poem to life. Castle Films kept this short in circulation until 1972, longer than any of their other holiday offerings, meaning it was seen by generations of schoolchildren as a special treat before Christmas vacation. Santa lights a pipe in the family's living room, something that would never happen today!
Santa In Animal Land (1948): Scary animal puppets with screechy voices are upset that Santa Claus doesn't bring them gifts, so they head to the North Pole to find him. Before they can perish in the snow, Santa shows up to assure them that he cares about soulless hand puppets, too. A disturbing holiday offering from Castle's competitor, Official Films.
Santa And The Fairy Snow Queen (1951): This hallucinogenic half-hour was produced and directed by Sid Davis, the man behind classroom scare films like Boys Beware (1961) and Keep Off the Grass (1970). It was made to fill empty slots during holiday television programming, but its surreal nature meant that it rarely aired. A seemingly inebriated Santa Claus rebuffs the advances of the visiting Fairy Snow Queen, a Germanic ice princess with a fluctuating accent. As revenge, she brings the toys in his workshop to life. Now Santa has to corral them all before Christmas Eve. Santa and the Fairy Snow Queen is hosted by an androgynous female called "Snoopy", one of Santa's elves (inexplicably called "brownies" in this film.)
The Elf And Mr. Little (1953): Another short made for television that was rarely if ever utilized by network programmers during Christmastime. Crudely made marionettes tell the story of Mr. Little, a grumpy toymaker who is taught the true meaning of Christmas by a hyperactive elf. Also featuring the All-Youth Choir of Phoenix, Arizona, who were supposedly quite well known throughout the Southwest (at least according to ads promoting the film in Billboard magazine.)
Silent Night: The Story Of The Christmas Carol (1953): A solemn account of the writing of the famous Christmas carol, "Silent Night", by Austrian priest Father Joseph Mohr and school teacher Franz Xaver Gruber. Made by Coronet Films for use in classrooms.
The Little Match Girl (1954): Castle Films excerpted a 1952 French television adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale directed by Jean Benoît-Lévy. An unusual, somewhat bleak version of the classic tale (the Virgin Mary appears at film's end to take the girl to Heaven) it includes a dream sequence featuring famed ballerina Jeanine Charrat.
The Little Lamb: A Christmas Story (1955): A lost lamb helps three shepherds find the Christ child in this Castle Films offering. Azar the Shepherd is played by sci-fi movie stalwart Morris Ankrum (Invaders from Mars, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers.)
Christmas Fairy Tale (1961): The characters in a little girl's nursery rhyme book are brought to life by animatronic figures in this painstakingly-made short from writer-director Jean Downing.
- Sales Rank: 3,115
- UPC: 089218787194
- Shipping Weight: 0.25/lbs (approx)
- International Shipping: 1 item