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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant!

Author: suomi_metal from Toronto, Canada!
9 November 2004

I remember watching this every Christmas as a kid with my family. When the cassette was misplaced, of course the tradition subsided, but last Christmas I found it, dusted it off, and my parents, brother and I gathered around.

It was just as I'd remembered it, and better.

Don McBrearty did a really beautiful job of bringing Dylan Thomas' poem to life, and very sensitively, I might add. There is nothing sappy or commercial about it, and the film adaption keeps the same tone as the poem.

Actors, costumes and sets are vibrant and alive. Nothing feels contrived, and you barely notice that the actors are acting-- it's as though you're there, having Christmas with the family. There is this wonderful sense of innocence and warmth to it, and has a feeling that continues to ressonate with you for a long time after watching it.

My favorite part has to be at the end, when at the end of an eventful Christmas day, the young Geraint (Jesse McBrearty) is saying goodnight, taking his time to embrace each family member, as they are all singing that Welsh air, "All Through The Night," and quietly goes upstairs as the sounds of his family follow him. It's quite possibly one of the most moving moments in film that I have experienced, and one to be carried with me.

I am delighted that the tradition of watching this at Christmas has resumed-- it was a part of my childhood, and now is a part of visiting my parents at Christmas. We are all a bit older, but can fall into that innocence and peacefulness for a while...

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A reflection on times past, but a timeless message

8/10
Author: Melm from Burlington, Ontario
23 December 2004

I haven't read other reviews on this, but can't understand the voting - most people have given it 10 - which I can understand, but then a group have given it 3 - how anyone can watch this evocative movie and give it 3 is beyond me. It is probably the only Christmas movie that I feel I must watch every time that it's on - it shows a simpler time, a raw view of Christmas through the eyes of a Welsh child. It's simple effective and a great antidote for the glitzy artificial 'made for TV' Christmas schmaltz so evident during this season. Well worth the time to watch. Denholm Elliot's voice over is melodious and you can almost feel the snow and the excitement of the young protagonist. 8/10

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Charming Christmas Classic

Author: Ephraim Gadsby from USA
10 November 2004

Dylan Thomas' poem broken up and submitted in pieces for family consumption, "A Child's Christmas in Wales" is actually quite charming. The visual images, combined with Denholm Elliott's superb reading of the poem, is a rich experience. When Thomas (and Elliott) get carried away with words the experience is even better as it all seems to be spiraling out of control.

Beautiful visuals. Plenty of humor. Concepts that relate to adults and children. Anyone who had a family Christmas with uncles and aunts has an immediate connection with the program. You don't have to be Welsh to understand the uncle who tells the same jokes every year or the aunt who sings the same songs.

This is a show families can watch together. The children may wonder what the dickens (no pun) Dylan Thomas is going on about, the antics of the malevolent children will probably carry them safely through.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A Timeless Classic To Watch Every Christmas Eve!

10/10
Author: Zac (luxaeterna23@hotmail.com) from United States
6 November 1999

A Child's Christmas in Wales is a timeless classic. In fact I watch it, without fail, every Christmas Eve. To me this movie allows me to once again look at Christmas through the eyes of a child. Dylan Thomas's lush description of a Welsh Christmas is both a beautiful and poignant work that translates masterfully to the small screen. The inclusion of beloved British actor Denholm Elliott, as the wistful grandfather, eagerly telling his grandson of the great, snowbound Christmases of his childhood, only adds to the nostalgic air of this masterpiece. What makes this movie so amazing is its appeal to both young and old alike. When I first saw it on the Disney Channel as a young boy, I instantly loved it's simple story, vivid photography, and heart-warming humor. Now as an adult I appreciate even more the message it so wonderfully sends.

It is the endearing story of Thomas (Mathonway Reeves), a young Welsh boy, and the night of Christmas Eve. Denholm Elliott deftly portrays his loving, poetic grandfather, Geraint. His kind parents are played by the talented Michael Fawkes and Glynis Davies. The story begins on the night of Father Christmas' great journey. Thomas, as any young boy his age, is already planning to stay awake until the patter of hooves can be heard on the shingles and a pair of slick, black boots can be seen emerging from the hearth. According to Welsh tradition, one gift may be selected on Christmas Eve to be opened before all of the others. This year Thomas has chosen to open the present from his grandfather. It turns out to be a richly crafted snow globe. This, of course sparks Geraint's narration on how, the rainy Christmases of today, were nothing, no nothing when compared to the Christmases of his youth. When all the white Christmas rolled down toward the Welch-speaking sea like a snowball rolling whiter and bigger and rounder. And where the snow was not only shaken from whitewash buckets out of the sky, but seemed to come out of the ground itself.

The majority of the movie is a flashback, to one typical Christmas in Geraint's childhood. The flashback scenes are lovingly constructed, with wonderful narration, by Elliot, and heartfelt humor from Dylan Thomas's original story. What Christmas after-after all, would be complete without the fattened uncles resting after dinner by the fire, examining their cigars? Or the busy aunts bustling in the kitchen? It will most surely remind older generations of the way Christmases were, but younger generations can easily relate to both. Seeing a magical wonder in the winters of old, and a new found miracle in the modern Christmas. With great cinematography, acting, and an unforgettable ending, A Child's Christmas in Wales is a story for all ages. It is the perfect film to watch on Christmas Eve and establish a family tradition for years to come.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A Holiday Tradition

10/10
Author: agwaurora from United States
11 November 2005

During a season when we are treated to wonderful Christmas stories this one stands out. You don't have to be British to appreciate this first rate rendition of a famous story. It has been a regular feature on public TV for many seasons. If you have limited yourself to the customary holiday stories like "A Christmas Carol", "Miracle on 34th Street, "The Bishop's Wife" etc... add this to your collection.

I guarantee you will put it in your DVD player every year... perhaps throughout the year!

This has been my favorite Christmas story for years. Thanks to Denholm Elliott, the magnificent young boy who played Young Geraint and to author Dylan Thomas. And many thanks for the release of the DVD!

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A faithful adaptation of the Dylan Thomas classic.

10/10
Author: Mia-32 from canada
7 December 2000

Watching this story on video has become a part of our family's Christmas tradition. The story is a gentle evocation of a Christmas past that grows more joyous with the passage of time. Denholm Elliot's narration, as the grandfather, is most effective in bringing the beautiful imagery of the poem to life.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Dylan Thomas' classic adapted for the screen

8/10
Author: George Wright from Canada
5 August 2008

This re-telling of the classic story "A Child's Christmas in Wales" is almost the cinematic equivalent of hearing Dylan Thomas reading his own story. In the film, Denholm Eliot is the narrator and tells the story to his grandson as they celebrate a family Christmas together.

As in the story, the movie is mostly flashback images of Christmases long past - cats, opening the presents, a fire at Mrs. Prothero's house, aunts and uncles celebrating and snow falling on the town making it whiter than Lapland. We think what rich memories for a child to carry into adulthood. Most of us have our own images of Christmas past and these are etched in our memory for life. This film gives us a glimpse of the wonder of Christmas through the eyes of one child and how he responds to the pictures he sees as his grandfather tells the story.

I once heard that when Dylan Thomas recorded this story, it was at a session in New York City and he didn't show up for the first one. He did show up the second time but there was only enough material to fill one side of an old record album. Someone went out and found a recent copy of Harper's Bazaar and Thomas read the story to complete the record. Without this accidental recording, we might have never come to appreciate this great story, which in turn gave rise to this beautiful, little film.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Child's Christmas in Wales in Christmas

10/10
Author: JP10447 from United States
23 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There is only one thing to say about this film, it is Christmas. I have owned this film for six years and it has become a Christmas tradition to watch it several times as Christmas gets nearer every day. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I make certain I watch this film, you don't have to be from Britain for this film to put you in the mood for Christmas. The late and great Denholm Elliot was simply amazing as Old Geraint; his words as he narrates takes the reader back to a Christmas in Wales that wasn't over commercialized. So many Christmas films today are laced with commercialism and this film being an exception makes it a Christmas gem. Any person can watch this and be swept into a truly wonderful Christmas. Denholm Elliots narration of the Dylan Thomas poem brings the story to life and allows the audience to be taken back to a time where Christmas was a magical time of year and where family represented the true meaning of Christmas. A Child's Christmas in Wales is a gift for viewers and the authentic settings in Wales contribute to making this film a Christmas film that is the best by far. Such a shame this film is no longer on television and what a relief it has finally been released on DVD. By far the best performance of the late Denholm Elliot's career, he makes this film and the story come alive. The uncles sleeping around the fire after Christmas dinner, the walking along the snow covered shore, the White Christmas in Wales, and all the way up to the singing carols in front of a darkened house. A Child's Christmas in Wales is Christmas.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

What beautiful words pour forth in any showing, having been written by Dylan Thomas, and a great tale, too

8/10
Author: Amy Adler from Toledo, Ohio
15 April 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In modern times, a boy in Wales is sad that its raining outside, not snowing, for it is the night before Christmas. Fortunately, his grandfather (Denholm Elliott) is there to tell him stories and to help pick out the gift the little boy will be able to open on the Eve. Thus, Grandpa begins reflecting on his own Christmases past, when he was a boy. For one, there was always snow! (Admittedly, his memories are somewhat biased). Also, G-papa recounts the time he and his friends spent throwing snowballs at unsuspecting cats and trailing the postman as he trudged through the snow. One Christmas, there was a smoky fire in a neighbor's house and the boys had to run to the phone booth and summon the firefighters. When they came, much water was sprayed, as dishes and other fine objects hit the ground. Turns out, it was a pipe the gentleman of the house left burning in his easy chair! Then, there were toy soldiers to play with, walks on the chilly beach (the man's village was right on the sea), home-made nose muffs to wear, and pranks played on various relatives. What a beautiful place and time for remembrance among those folks in the present! Admittedly, this viewer would probably never have sought this film out if it had not appeared on a collection disc with other movies. Quite a mistake that would have been! The words of the poet Dylan Thomas are the foundation of the tale, for he wrote it, and the beauty of the prose can not be overstated! Then, too, Elliott makes a terrific narrator and the other actors do nicely as well. The setting is likewise lovely, an ocean village in the country of Wales. What a treat to see the scenery, costumes, and photography! Finally, the story is filled with humor and only the best of memories. If you live in Wales, Wisconsin, Wellington or Warsaw, doesn't matter, get your hands on this one!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Classic for All

10/10
Author: reggie-at-random from Cardiff, Wales
3 January 2014

"One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep..." Heartbreakingly poignant those words are now I have become an 'elder' and so many of my family are gone into their places in history.

Since this filmed version simply is be the best, truest film adaptation of Thomas' famous work it also must be considered a standard few could match. My tape wore out but now armed with a lovely new DVD I enjoy it every year played on technology Thomas's narrator could have only dreamed of.

Sweet and intelligently produced, we are fortunate indeed to have this exquisite version to enjoy year after year.

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