12 Days of Christmas Films Day 7: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

‘You’re going to disappoint the children. They expect a fat Santa…’

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Imagine writing a song that is so popular that it spawns an iconic animated Christmas special, a cartoon, a series of comic books and a feature film, as well as countless covers and parodies. You have just imagined Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Thanks for playing. 

As with How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Frosty the Snowman, the animated, 50 minute version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a Christmas staple in America, but it has failed to really be a thing in the UK. This is a shame because it’s actually really lovely. Beautifully animated, memorable songs, heartwarming story.

For those of us that like our Christmas films to come with a dollop of the absurd there is loads of that too. For example, while we all know the story of the deformed reindeer that overcomes scrutiny to save the day, perhaps we aren’t so familiar with the elf appearing alongside Rudolph who doesn’t want to make toys any more so that he can fulfill his dream of becoming… a dentist. Wonderfully bizarre. I also didn’t know that Donner, who is an insufferable prick throughout Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, is actually Rudolph’s Dad. I missed that bit of reindeer folklore. Also, let me again take this opportunity to confirm that the plural of reindeer is ‘reindeer’. Lovely stuff. And you’re welcome! 

It’s surprising that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is not more well known in the UK but it is testament to its staying power that it is still considered essential Christmas viewing across the pond a full fifty years after it was released. It’s amazing what a little Christmas magic can do…

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