Friday, 21 December 2007

John Halas & Joy Batchelor "The Christmas Visitor"

Based on a poem by Clement Clarke Moore, A Visit from St Nicholas, the 1958 short, The Christmas Visitor, commences the seasonal offerings. Animated by Harold Whitaker and Tony Guy it is a has an amiable Santa Claus pausing in his labours on his busiest night whilst his toys come to magical life and entertain us with a little melodrama. There are some magical moments such as Santa's descent down the chimney, the unwrapping of the toys that lay scattered in the hallway as Santa tucks into his supper, and their subsequent transformation into living beings, or the smoke rings Santa blows over the tree before recommencing his journey. And it is a plot straight out of the silent movies featuring the dastardly deeds of Jack-in-the-Box.Will the sailor save his girl strapped as she is to the railway line as the locomotive bears down on her? Halas and Batchelor in classic fashion and a treat for the festive season. The extract from the the original poem is as good a description of Santa as you are likely to find:
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.

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