Last cartoon ever produced by Max Fleischer who produced the Popeye the Sailor man, Betty Boop and Koko the Clown cartoons from the 1910's to the 1940's. See more »
'Twas the day before Christmas and all through the hills the reindeer were playing enjoying the spills of skating and coasting and climbing the willows and hopscotch and leap frog... protective pillows.
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In the shadow of the 1964 version, but really does deserve to be better known
Whether it's among the Flesicher Brothers' best is up for debate, but it does have some significance for being the first telling of the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer story on screen and it is difficult to resist it really. It is in the shadow of the classic 1964 version and is not quite as good, but that means no disrespect because it is a winner on all levels. The animation is so beautifully done, you can tell from the very first moment that it is Fleischer Bros animation. The backgrounds have a lot of fluidity, the character designs are appealing at least and the colours are warm and vibrant and gets even more so as Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer(1948) progresses. The music is very lushly orchestrated performed just as much by the orchestra and the chorus singing for the title song brings such a nostalgic warmth, a refreshingly different way to a song that is often jazzed-up or played on the piano(not a problem at all). The introduction section of the title song has rarely been more beautifully sung than here, some may find it mushy and saccharine depending on tastes considering as it has been done in a more accessible way since and that's understandable, with me it's one of my personal favourite renditions of the song(which is one of the catchiest, most instantly recognisable and all-time great festive songs). The narration is written and voiced with dignity and knowing, and the storytelling has all the elements of this well-known story and does it with so much heart-warming charm and poignancy, also wisely doing it in a simple but never simplistic way. Rudolph always has been a relatable character and he is here, you feel for him as he's bullied and you cheer when he overcomes what he's been through, which is why this cartoon and the story is and can be seen as an inspiration. If you've ever been bullied you'd understand completely and also if you haven't but know or have seen anybody go through it. All the other characters, especially jovial Santa, are engaging as well. In conclusion, a beautiful and inspiring cartoon that deserves to be better known, that it's not quite in the same class as the 1964 classic shouldn't be a detriment. On a brief note, some may have seen it for the first time as a fan of Fleischer animation, my case was somewhat unusual in that the cartoon was used to accompany the song Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer(in a different and not as nice rendition) in Very Merry Christmas Songs in the Disney Sing Along series, despite the fact that- as later found out- that it wasn't Disney. That over, from personal rating this rates 10/10. Bethany Cox
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