Christmas Movies I

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Santa’s Workshop

Film Review by Dean Duncan Mar 23, 2015

No conflict! What a sweet and friendly thing this is. Its 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 film’s interest is not narrative. It’s better than that: atmosphere and procedure is the whole point, and occupies the whole film. The proliferation of activity, and especially the elaboration of the manufacturing processes, is terrific.

Santa Claus is most wonderfully rendered, and he represents more than just commerce, or the usual Silly Symphony shorthand (shortchange) of well-known character types. Watch him go: Billy’s list was too long, and the pinched elvin accountant adds that he hasn’t washed behind his ears for seven years. Santa (cf. One Magic Christmas, and to a degree Elf; when is Santa Claus not really Santa Claus?) laughs, meets and trains Billy’s excessive wishes by giving him 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.


J.R.R. Tolkien created something similarly charming for his weans (1920-1942). See The Father Christmas Letters, pub. 1976, rev. 1999: