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Monday, 24 December 2007

David Unwin & Raymond Briggs "Father Christmas"


Featuring the voice of Mel Smith, the 1991 Father Christmas is an animated version of Raymond Briggs' picture book. In fact I have all Briggs' books on my study shelves from a one time passion for picture books. This is a Father Christmas as you have never seen him before, in the raw, literally when it comes to towel drying after a shower. Want to know what he does 364 days a year? Well he takes a well deserved holiday: first in France - the food is too good and he is back and forward to the loo; second in Scotland - the whiskey is good but he is soaked by the rain and the loch is too cold; finally to Las Vegas where he is waited on hand and feet but fleeced of all his money. So it's back to England - he's so English, he bloomin' is - and the wagon loads of mail each item of which has to be sorted and sourced. David Unwin has directed the sort of movie that appeals to all the family. Today I viewed it with a three year old who marvelled at the way her hero squeezed through the chimney, I marvelled at the fact that he emerged from an Aga cooker. I could go on about the soft and well crafted drawings, the meeting with the snowmen at the North Pole, or our reacquaintance with the boy and the snowman from Briggs' most famous book, or the jokes. But I won't. The film is a combination of Father Christmas, published in 1973 and Father Christmas Goes on Holiday from 1975 with a little of his earlier animation tagged on towards the end. The YouTube link is a pale imitation of the DVD I have in my cabinet. For less than £6 you can buy this and The Snowman here. I did.

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