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The Great Rupert (1950)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Family  |  1 March 1950 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 544 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 12 critic

A little squirrel with lots of charm accidentally helps two poor, down-but-NOT-out families overcome their obstacles.



(screenplay) (as Laslo Vadnay) , (additional dialogue), 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Rosalinda Amendola
Tom Drake ...
Peter 'Pete' Dingle
Frank Orth ...
Mr. Frank Dingle
Sara Haden ...
Mrs.Katie Dingle
Queenie Smith ...
Phil Davis
Jimmy Conlin ...
Joe Mahoney
Rupert ...
Rupert the Squirrel
Hugh Sanders ...
Mr. Haggerty (as Donald T. Beddoe)
Candy Candido ...
Molineri - Florist
Police Lt. Saunders
Harold Goodwin ...
Callahan - F.B.I. Man
Mr. Taney - Tax Investigator


A Christmas Wish is a heartwarming holiday classic about a New York family (led by Durante) who is down on their luck at Christmas time. Shortly before Christmas, they move into a ground floor apartment where Rupert the squirrel lives in the attic rafters. Just when it seems that the holiday will come and go without so much as a Christmas tree, Rupert acts as the family's guardian angel, not only saving Christmas, but changing their lives forever. The film is enlivened with the warmth and sweetness of an unforgettable love story between Terry Moore (of Mighty Joe Young) and Tom Drake (of Meet Me in St. Louis). Rupert the Squirrel (created using George Pal's Academy Award winning animation technique) will charm young and old alike. Jimmy Durante shines when he sings Jingle Bells and other well-loved Christmas carols in the evocative voice that made him one of America's recording legends. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Christmas miracles do happen See more »


Comedy | Family


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 March 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Christmas Wish  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jimmy Durante was actually a last minute addition to the cast. As a result, Terry Moore's billing was dropped from first to second. The script was also modified to allow for Durante-style patter and songs. See more »


Take an L
Composed by Jimmy Durante

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User Reviews

A Christmas WISH (Irving Pichel, 1950) **1/2
3 January 2008 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Like BEYOND TOMORROW (1940; see my comments to that film), this is another little-known Yuletide flick which has been saved from public domain, colorized and retitled on its Fox DVD; in fact, not only was this originally shot in black-and-white but was named THE GREAT RUPERT after the amiable puppet of a kilt-wearing dancing squirrel who helps to realize the impoverished protagonists' recurring Christmas wish. In fact, Rupert proved to be the first creature animated for a feature-length film by famed sci-fi producer George Pal and is also notable as one of big-nosed multi-talented entertainer Jimmy Durante's best film vehicles.

The story starts with down-and-out animal trainer Jimmy Conlin being evicted from his ramshackle apartment by miserly landlord Frank Orth but Conlin's squirrel soon returns to Conlin's old hide which is already occupied by the equally penniless acrobatic trio, the Amendolas played by Durante, Queenie Smith and Terry Moore. Predictably enough, Orth's ne'r-do-well musician son Tom Drake falls for Moore but is soon driven to distraction by the unwarranted attention the latter is receiving from visiting Broadway agent Don Beddoe looking to re-engage Conlin for his act. Meanwhile, Rupert himself is getting annoyed with Mr. Orth's storing his weekly stash of cash in his wooden house...

Although George Pal's puppet effects are nicely enough done, "Schnozzle" Durante is practically the whole show here and, typically, he has a couple of numbers featuring his eccentric singing-and-piano-playing style. Actor/director Irving Pichel – who, apparently, also appears in the film as a "puzzled pedestrian" – hands the light material quite competently which makes this unassuming concoction a gently pleasing alternative to the usual Christmas fare.

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The Great Rupert jack92129
A must for Christmas viewing! lightkeeper-1
Any similar Christmas films? jack-carter42
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