Silly Symphonies

film 22 of 61

Santa’s Workshop

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 6, 2015

No conflict! This is what I’ve been angling for, in case you haven’t noticed. What a sweet and friendly film! The geography is great, starting with an establishing shot of a luminous north pole, and then exploring the workshop in patient and charming detail. Note that the interest is not narrative. It’s better than that: atmosphere and procedure are the whole point, and occupy the entire film. The proliferation of activity, and especially the elaboration of the manufacturing processes, is terrific.

Not the whole film, maybe. Santa is wonderfully rendered, and he represents more than just commerce, or the usual Silly Symphony shorthand (shortchange) of well-known characters. Billy’s list was too long, and the pinched accountant elf points out that he hasn’t washed behind his ears for seven years. Santa (cf. One Magic Christmas, and to a degree Elf; when is Santa not Santa?) laughs, meets and trains the excessive wishes with a Noah’s Ark, and throws in a cake of soap for good measure. In other words, didacticism and anarchy, in equal and harmonious measure.