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RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER

Of all the Rankin/Bass stop motion holiday specials; RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER remains my personal favorite. I’ve managed to watch this special every year since my childhood, although in later years, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER, first on Laserdisc and then on DVD. Actually, Golden Books Family Entertainment/Sony-Wonder have released RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER twice on DVD, with the second edition cleaning up the audio and adding extra features.

Using the lyrics of the popular Johnny Marks song as a springboard, RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER adds a little embellishment to pad out the tale of the most famous reindeer to ever pull Santa’s sleigh. Additionally, RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER has some educational value, as its gently teaches children tolerance, without becoming preachy. Unlike other reindeers that have black noses, Rudolph is born with a red nose. Donner, Rudolph’s father, tries to hide his son’s non-conformity, but the truth about Rudolph soon comes out, and the young buck finds himself shunned by the rest of the Reindeer community.

Rudolph runs away from home and meets up with an Elf named Hermey, who is a misfit in his own peers because of his desire to become a dentist. A prospector named Yukon Cornelius eventually joins our misfit heroes, but this trio soon find themselves having to dodge a fearsome creature known as the Abominable Snow Monster, who seems to be attracted to Rudolph’s shiny red nose. Escaping on the ice floe, our intrepid threesome end up on the Island of Misfit Toys, where Rudolph decides he can no longer endanger his friends. With his new maturity, Rudolph comes to the conclusion that he can no longer run away from his problems and goes back home. Eventually, Rudolph finds acceptance when Santa asks Rudolph to guide his sleigh through the worst blizzard of the century, which just happens to fall on Christmas Eve. RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER features the vocal talents of Burl Ives, Larry D. Mann, Billie Mae Richards, Paul Soles, Stan Francis, Janet Orenstein, Alfie Scopp and Carl Banas.

The re-mastered edition of RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER looks very much like the first Golden Books Family Entertainment/Sony-Wonder DVD release. The image on the DVD is head and shoulders above broadcast, but the film elements do show signs of age. There are a number of blemishes on the elements and there is a bit of noticeable film grain. Colors look very good- taking on a bright and nicely saturated appearance. Blacks are properly rendered and there is respectable shadow detail during the darker moments. There are no problems with digital compression artifacts during the presentation.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack is much improved over the initial DVD release of RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER. Gone is the audio anomaly that caused the soundtrack to slow down and speed up during several musical numbers. Of course, the expected frequency limitations of a 1964 television production remain. The music can sound a bit too bright in places, so apply amplification to the program judiciously. No other languages are encoded onto the DVD, although English subtitles are present.

Full motion video, animation and music enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few supplements. Starting things off is an introduction by Arthur Rankin, who talks about the production of RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER. Since this presentation of RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER is identical to how it was first broadcast in 1964, the song Fame and Fortune, which replaced We’re A Couple Of Misfits in subsequent broadcasts, starting in 1965, is presented on the DVD as a supplement. Other supplements include an interactive trivia game, an original TV promo and the program presented again with READSPEAK action captions.

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER remains an absolute delight and will appeal to children of all ages. The DVD looks and sounds just fine, making a necessity for every holiday collection.

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER is available on DVD individually for $19.98 or as part of a boxed set along with SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN' TO TOWN and FROSTY THE SNOWMAN/FROSTY RETURNS for $56.98.

 

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER

 


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town/The Little Drummer Boy/Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer/Frosty the Snowman/Frosty Returns (3-DVD Gift Collection)

  


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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