December 10: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Directed by Larry Roemer. Videocraft International, 1964.

Pre-Screening Sips

  • I’m familiar with Rudolph, and I definitely watched it when I was younger, but according to my film journal, I haven’t seen it since at least before 2010
  • Again, technically a television special and not a Christmas movie, but I bet you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who makes that distinction for this one

Post-Screening Snippets

  • When you start this and see a montage of news clippings and people in snow, no need to be confused, you’re watching the right thing (not that I was confused, this note is based on, uh, a friend)
  • The Clauses live in an actual castle in Rudolph, which I appreciate that they are recognized for the Christmas royalty they are; I do not appreciate that they creepily call each other “Mama” and “Papa”
  • Every so once in a while, Santa is portrayed as kind of a meanie, and Rudolph takes this to heart. Not only does Santa straight up tell Rudolph he better be good at flying when he’s older or he has no purpose, he does so with a jaunty tune and then dips
  • There has already been quite a bit written about Hermey, the dentist elf who is for sure gay, so I’ll just say that I appreciate the way there is a pause each time he says “dentist”
  • Damn, Rudolph got screwed! One of the other reindeer is named Fireball!
  • I forgot that Rudolph’s lady-deer is named Clarice. Suddenly, I have a hankering for fava beans…
  • “It needs work. I’ve got to go.” Santa’s critique reminds me of the judges at one-act play competitions
  • Everyone at the North Pole is mean. I get the point is for them all to learn to accept and love Rudolph, but damn, they hate this kid
  • And they’re sexists! Deer shouldn’t have “man’s work!”
  • The Island of Misfit Toys is definitely the best part of this! I spent the entire sequence shouting, “oh my God, it’s so cute!” at each new misfit toy (if anyone wants to gift me a spotted elephant, I will accept)
  • King Moonraiser is the badass, Christmas Aslan
  • They defeat the monster by forced dental extraction?! Dark.

The Final Hot Chocolate

            From the joyful music to the quirky animation, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is the Claymation Christmas special. With a breezy runtime, it’s an excellent program to play again and again during the holidays. Also, someone buy me a spotted elephant.


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