The Man in the Santa Claus Suit (TV Movie 1979) Poster

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A relaxing Christmas special
skoehler23 December 2004
This film starring Fred Astaire and Gary Burghoff (M*A*S*H) is a great Christmas original. Most new holiday films are less than entertaining, but this film provides a unique, rfreshing story line. The Man in the Santa Claus Suit is one of many movies that I feel help celebrate the season. It provokes thought about what is really important to each of us this holiday season. I am amazed this film has not received better ratings. In this time of Santa movies, I feel that some of the classics provide a more intellectual view helping to define the meaning of Christmas. It may not be a blockbuster, but it is one of my family's staples.
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One of the great Christmas Movies
EntAgncy3 August 2013
I am sure not many of you have heard of this movie. I first saw it on Christmas Eve in the 1980's. As far as Christmas Movies go it does stand out and is different and to see Fred Astaire in such a different role than what we are used to seeing him in is charming. If you get a chance watch this and get a little Christmas Spirit. This does not have any of the wiz bang special effects of today's Christmas movies. What it lacks in that area it definitely makes up for in heart and showing what it really means to have the Christmas spirit. If you were a fan of M.A.S.H. you will also get a kick out of this as one of the other stars of the movie is Gary Burghoff who played "Radar O'Reilly" in that series. Gary did not really do too many other projects so this is also a treat. Also of note is a young Pat Petersen who later went on to become a heartthrob in the hit 80's series Knots Landing. The real joy here though is seeing Fred Astaire make a wonderful and heartfelt entry into the Christmas pantheon of movies.
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Feel good Christmas movie
dankwab14 July 2000
Wonderful Christmas movie for the whole family. Three story arcs tied together by one mysterious man at a costume shop who pops up at odd times throughout the movie to give advice.Not as excellent as A Christmas Story, but close.
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Not a classic, but very enjoyable
dr_jitterbug24 December 2008
I was looking forward to viewing this movie because I was very curious about and I love and admire both Gary Burghoff and Fred Astaire, though I had low expectations (as I usually do for made for TV movies). I was pleasantly surprised by the sweet, simple, if not slightly unrealistic holiday story. Two of the plot lines were enjoyable and in there for comedic relief and to provide the holiday feeling - slightly unbelievable, but very fun to watch. The third plot I found to be quite touching actually. Put together they make a charming film. All in all, it's not a classic such as It's a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street. However, I would highly recommend it for a family Christmas movie that is good for and definitely worth a couple of seasonal viewings per year. I know I will definitely be watching this hard-to-find but delightful treat at least once every year.
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Better than the Average Christmas Movie
Christmas-Reviewer18 July 2018
I Have Reviewed OVER 500 "Christmas Films and Specials". Please BEWARE Of films and specials with just one review! For instance When "It's a POSITIVE" chances are that the reviewer was involved with the production. "If its Negative" then they may have a grudge against the film for whatever reason. I am fare about these films.

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!
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One Highlight
buddyluv23 December 1998
Average family fare for a "feel good" Christmas movie. One highlight is Nanette Fabray and Harold Gould as grandparents who's solution for all family problems is to perform an impromptu song and dance act. They are a scream.
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guyson131612 August 2005
This is the first Christmas film my children ever remember. We watched this heartwarming story throughout their childhood regardless of the season. Fred Astaire is simply charming in the role of Father Christmas even though he does not fit the standard criteria for the position ie robust and jolly, his performance is simply magic. Most of the current Christmas films are based on too much violence, this film however deals with dishonesty and violence in an innocent humorous way that is acceptable and not damaging to a child. I have searched for this film for years for my grandchildren only to find it on ebay last week by a gentleman who taped it back in the 70's and made a copy for me. How wonderful it would be if someone decided to remake this film bringing it up to date. The introductory song itself is so heartwarming. Alas it could not be Fred Astaire who stars in it but I am sure that there is someone out there who would fit the bill.
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Cute Movie!
Zephyrwood7 December 2004
I love Christmas movies and every Christmas I try to tape all of the Christmas movies that are shown on TV and I taped The Man In The Santa Claus Suit several years ago but for some reason never got around to watching it and I watched it for the first time this December, 2004 and yes it's a little corny but I liked it and thought it was a cute movie and so far I have watched it 3 times! As a child of the 70's I enjoyed the cast of actors who I remember seeing in movies and TV shows in the 70's and I thought Bert Convy, John Byner and the guy who played Radar in the TV show Mash were all good and I think Fred Astaire was great in this 1978 made for TV movie and I thought this movie was pretty good though I have noticed some bloopers that they didn't seem to catch like the fashion model that the math teacher wanted to propose to was named Polly Primer but an actor in the cast called her Polly Farmer but anyway I think this is a charming movie and I recommend it! BTW: Can anyone really picture a beautiful fashion model being named Polly? Polly Sounds like the type of name a fashion model agency would tell a girl with that name that she needs to change her name professionally to something more beautiful and glamorous! Polly sounds more like the name of a fashion models grandmother or great grandmother!
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A wonderful Christmas Movie.
donaldward-4880820 November 2018
I absolutely love this movie. It always takes me back to when I was a child and me and my sisters would watch it. Gary Burghoff is terrific in this, and its nice to see him play different rolls.
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Kringle Bells
writers_reign31 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This made-for-TV entry marks the last appearance of Fred Astaire targeting the small screen audience - he was to make a final swan song a couple of years later with Ghost Story - and that alone, of course, makes it worth seeing. It's a charming fable with no pretensions and no ambition other than to entertain in an undemanding way and in that it succeeds admirably. Fred Astaire embodies the spirit of Christmas and it's hard to visualise anyone who could equal let alone eclipse his performance. Harold Gould and Nanette Fabray turn in stellar support as a couple of ex-vaudevillians who will go into their dance at the least provocation. Throw in Gary Burhoff as a lovelorn math teacher and you have all the ingredients for a festive treat.
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A good plot, but a script, direction and cast not up to it
SimonJack23 December 2018
"The Man in the Santa Claus Suit" has a clever idea for a plot. Unfortunately, that's about where the accolades for this film stop. One quickly realizes that Fred Astaire is some sort of Christmas angel or spirit by the various characters he plays. He is the same person in appearance in nine different roles. The other characters in the film simply see him as a different person. So, his multiple roles aren't in the category of different characters such as played by Alec Guinness in "Kind Hearts and Coronets" or Peter Sellers in "The Mouse that Roared," or "Dr. Strangelove."

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.
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Okay movie, but only one segment works very well
llltdesq30 December 2001
This movie has three storylines brought together by a framing device. The framing device works better than two of the three stories. Only the John Byner segment really works, and that's due to Harold Gould and Nanette Fabray. The Gary Burghoff segment had it's moments, but drowns in an implausible, syrupy ending and the third segment falls apart from the start and is totally uninteresting. Fred Astaire is enjoyable in the framing sequences and the movie is reasonably okay. Watch it for Astaire. Worth seeing once.
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