The Man in the Santa Claus Suit (1979 TV Movie)
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The title "character" is threefold: John Byner, Gary Burghoff and Bert Convy all don Santa suits for various reasons. Byner is a fugitive tramp, Burghoff a lonely schoolteacher, and Convy a divorced father estranged from his young son. Unifying their three stories is top-billed Fred Astaire, who pops up in eight different roles and sings the title song.
This is a better thank you think it will be film. Some parts of the film work better than others but in all it is a very enjoyable film. The cast is serves the film well and at the end you will have a huge smile from the inside out!
Well worth seeking out!
Astaire is affable and is the thin thread that holds together a few disparate short stories. Although, some of his nine roles are little more than typical cameo shots and aren't even part of that thread. Astaire is a chauffeur, jeweler, taxi driver, department store floorwalker, clothing store proprietor, hot dog vendor, Christmas caroler, and a policeman more than once.
With the exception of Harold Gould and Nanette Fabray as Dickie and Dora Dayton, the rest of the adult cast seem wooden or lifeless. Gary Burghoff can't shed his droll persona of Radar from the smash TV series, "M.A.S.H." So, his pining for the girl next door just doesn't seem believable. Others overplay their roles or come across as hokey attempts at humor.
This movie should have been good, with the plot it has. But with a weak script, poor directing and sub-par acting by most of the cast, it fizzles. It comes across as several short stories that were filmed and then thrown together to make a full-length feature film. This is one to leave off any list of Christmas movies.