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'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' (1966): A Review

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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There are countless animated Christmas classics being shown on television around this time of the year, but few have the staying power and hearty spirit of Chuck Jones’ animated adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic, ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ (1966). Narrated by the late horror icon Boris Karloff (who also provides the voice of the titular Christmas-hating Grinch), Jones’ short-film is a bright, fun and faithful cinematic adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ classic tale about the “true meaning” of Christmas.

Boris Karloff is the perfect choice to voice the cold-hearted and devious Grinch, his unctuous delivery and sardonic undertones meshing perfectly with Jones’ fluid and smooth animation so that, at certain times during the tale, the Grinch almost seems more composed of flesh and blood rather than mere ink and paper.

Visually, the other aspects of Jones’ short-film are saturated with color, the buildings, people, and Christmas decorations of Whoville dazzling and nearly popping out of the screen as the Grinch and his faithful dog Max, disguised as Santa Claus and a reindeer respectively, sneak about the homes of the unsuspecting Whos and rob them of their presents and decorations in a vain attempt to ruin Christmas for the overly cheerful Whos.

The smooth and seamless animation of the film coupled with caricaturesqe designs of the Grinch and the slightly more anthropomorphic Whos creates a charming spectacle for the eyes, and remains far more aesthetically pleasing than some of the cheap CGI-animated films currently clogging the channels with visuals that looked as though they were drawn and animated in the same afternoon.

Musically, the film is by no means short or shy of classic songs, its inclusion of some of the most catchy and memorable Christmas tunes making it a terrific Christmas classic. ‘You’re A Mean One, Mister Grinch’ (sung by an uncredited Thurl Ravenscroft, though often mistakenly attributed to Karloff due to the resemblance in their voices) is so ingratiated into the collective psyche of most Americans that it is literally impossible to see the title of Jones’ film or an image of the Grinch and not immediately hear that song playing in one’s head.

Although several other great animated Christmas films have come out since its release back in 1966, few have had as much impact or seen as much popularity as Jones’ ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’. Fun, joyful, and just a few minutes shy of being a full half-hour, Jones’ adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic is the perfect yuletide film for those short on time but not on Christmas spirit.

Find the nearest Blockbuster (assuming you’re one of the five or six people who still use Blockbuster for some reason) near your home so you can rent this film almost immediately. Or, if you prefer that movies came to you instead, set up a Netflix account and start your ordering as soon as possible.

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