Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cinematic Advent Calendar - Day 14

Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) - Dir. Kizo Nagashima & Larry Roemer

Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) is the longest running, consecutively aired Christmas special, ever. Based on the book by Robert L. May, first published in 1939, and the song written by Johnny Marks (May's brother-in-law), first recorded in 1949 - Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer was already a legend by the time his story made it to the small screen in 1964. The special was produced by Rankin/Bass, who ultimately became known for their holiday specials and animated films including: Frosty the Snowman (1969), Mad Monster Party (1967), and The Hobbit (1977), to name a few. The story is one of acceptance and understanding, which has gone on to influence many subsequent films in the genre. Of course the most memorable thing about the special is the stop-motion animation style used to bring the characters to life. Along with the story and unique animation style, the special also features several hit songs on its soundtrack, all written by Johnny Marks. The film has even been imitated and homaged in contemporary films like Happy Feet (2006), which was featured in the 5 Remakes You Didn't Know You Were Watching article, and Elf (2003)Although over the years the program has been re-edited to compensate for extended commercial time on the networks, it is available in its entirety on DVD, or you could just watch it right here, right now. Enjoy!

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