So, over the course of my Countdown from Halloween to Christmas there have been many takes on Father Christmas. But today we have a Santa origin story, with one of the first Christmas film I remember seeing as a kid.
And today it’s…
5th December, Day 36
Santa Claus: The Movie (Jeannot Szwarc, 1985)
A kindly old man (David Huddleston) delivers his homemade presents to the children in his village, as his wife (Judy Cornwell) tells them stories of elves. As they ride home in his sleigh (pulled by his reindeer Donna and Blitzen) they get stuck in a blizzard and are about to freeze when they are rescued by a legion of elves, who tell him they have been awaiting the arrival of a chosen one who will deliver presents to all the children in the world. The man is names Santa Claus, and he becomes the man of legend. His wife helps with making him a suit, and suggests that red might be a good colour for him. Enthusiastic elf Patches (Dudley Moore) helps to repair his sleigh and prepare it to fly, and shows Santa the magic feed for the reindeer which allows them to fly. Just before his first Christmas, the Ancient One (Rocky’s very own Burgess Meredith) tells Santa that he is the Chosen One, and that every child will believe in him.
As more children learn to ready, there are more and more letters coming to the North Pole, and so head Elf Dooley (John Barrard) has to start planning further in advance, and eventually Patches becomes Santa’s assistant, with a new machine producing toys faster than ever. However, the toys are shoddily produced and for the first time ever, the North Pole gets returns. This leads to Patches resigning and leaving the North Pole. He ends up in New York, where toy manufacturer BZ (John Lithgow) is being indited for unsafe presents. Patches sees a toy maker who needs his help, and proposes giving away a present, which BZ sees as a great way to get some free publicity.
The presents Patches makes are lollipops that make people fly, as they are infused with the magic dust that made the reindeer fly. They are a massive success, and BZ sees a chance to replace Santa Claus by launching Christmas 2 in March. However, Patches candy canes (which will be sold at Christmas 2 for a huge price) are dangerous due (the North Pole keeps the magic dust cool, but when they get hot they explode). BZ decides to press ahead, but when his step niece Cornelia (Carrie Kei Heim) writes a letter to Santa, Father Christmas himself sets out to save the day. Will he amke it in time?
It’s hard for me to be subjective about this film since for some reason it was a film I saw a lot as a kid. The super duper looper is seered into my memory.But there are issues with it. The origin story at the beginning is very good, but then the film shifts to the Patches in New York story. Again, a very enjoyable story, but both parts feel rushed. The kids aren’t really needed either, the film would work just as well without them.
Still, seeing John Lithgow chewing the scenery with a magnificent set of fake teeth, and the great Dudley Moore being able to deliver elf puns make it all worth while. And an origin story for Santa is a brilliant idea!
Overall, I give this
There are a plenty of issues with this film, but we’ve all got our childhood favourites. I enjoy it, and that’s all that matters!
Time to blow out the cobwebs tomorrow with a horror film for just last year – KRAMPUS!
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
PS Here’s my list so far
31st October, Day 1: The Nightmare Before Christmas
1st November, Day 2: Rocky IV
2nd November, Day 3: Edward Scissorhands
3rd November, Day 4: Trading Places
4th November, Day 5: Batman Returns
5th November, Day 6: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
6th November, Day 7: Gremlins
7th November, Day 8: Eyes Wide Shut
8th November, Day 9: Love Actually
9th November, Day 10: Lethal Weapon
10th November, Day 11: Die Hard / Die Hard 2
11th November, Day 12: About A Boy
12th November, Day 13: Trapped In Paradise
13th November, Day 14: Reindeer Games
14th November, Day 15: Joyeux Noel
15th November, Day 16: Nativity / Nativity 2 / Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?
16th November, Day 17: Jack Frost
17th November, Day 18: Jack Frost
18th November, Day 19: Arthur Christmas
19th November, Day 20: The Santa Clause / The Santa Clause 2 / The Santa Clause 3
20th November, Day 21: Miracle On 34th Street
21st November, Day 22: Miracle On 34th Street
22nd November, Day 23: Scrooged
23rd November, Day 24: Scrooge
24th November, Day 25: The Muppets Christmas Carol
25th November, Day 26: Elf
26th November, Day 27: Home Alone / Home Alone 2
27th November, Day 28: The Grinch
28th November, Day 29: Black Christmas
29th November, Day 30: Jingle All The Way
30th November, Day 31: Rare Exports
1st December, Day 32: Polar Express
2nd December, Day 33: A Christmas Story
3rd December, Day 34: Bad Santa
4th December, Day 35: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
5th December, Day 36: Santa Claus: The Movie