We all love movies and many of us have extensive DVD libraries, some are random selections, others are organized in a fashion that reflect our obsession with the medium. Dramas to the right, comedies in the middle, horror to the left, and perhaps buried in a cupboard supporting our flat screen TV is a selection for a special time of year, Christmas.
The collection gathers dust for 11 months, then in mid December we retrieve them in readiness for family gatherings and stuffed turkey. Slowly our minds work their way around to making the season a special one. Preparations are made, turkeys stuffed, stockings filled, snowmen built, and entertainment lined up for evening festivities; enter our Christmas DVD reserve. A collection of carefully crafted, beautifully aged masterpieces that not only help us get into the spirit, but make us laugh and feel good about our world.
There are many Christmas DVDs to choose from. A good collection has to have at least 10, less will do, but 10 provide total immersion. Sometimes we’ll set out on a marathon on Christmas Eve, or maybe it’s a couple a night in the week leading up to the big day that provide a slow build to the crowning moment.
We all have our favorites. Some will watch Miracle on 34th Street over and over again, others might prefer a hipper story and take in Fred Claus or Elf. Then how about Jack Frost, that’s sweet, or Tim Allen in The Santa Clause, a modern classic! The choice is plentiful, but in our home the selection always winds down to the same three. A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and….How The Grinch Stole Christmas. We couldn’t imagine Christmas without the Grinch…no sir.
Who could resist a cave dwelling grinch with pink eyes and a face that looks like a squashed pumpkin. He is spectacular. With pointy fingers, a head not screwed on just right, shoes too tight, and a heart two sizes too small. He is such a nasty piece of work it’s hard not to love him. He stands up there in his cave on Mt. Crumpit and stares with disdain on all the Whos of Whoville.
Written in 1957 by Theodor Seuss Geisel, How The Grinch Stole Christmas has become a beloved classic. The first TV adaptation was presented for our pleasure in 1966 with Boris Karloff narrating. Who better then Frankenstein for the nasty Grinch. The version that rests in our home is the 1992 twelve minute marvel narrated by one of the Grumpy Old Men, Walter Matthau. He delivers the beautifully crafted narrative with such conviction that the Grinch comes to life before us.
How can a 12 minute story be told with such affect?
With love of course. Geisel took such care with the narrative that every single word captivates. Add to that a uniquely cute grinch with dish saucer eyes and a pea sized nose and the visuals compliment the narrative. Throw in two year old small Who, little Cindy Lou, with her two frazzled strands of hair, big eyes, and pink dress, and the picture is complete. Who could possibly not be touched when she asks:
“Santa Claus, why? Why are you taking our Christmas tree? Why?”
Would Christmas be the same without the Grinch? No! So he tried to steal Christmas, but what a moment it was when he realized that maybe Christmas seemed a bit more, that maybe it didn’t come from a sore. He stole Christmas, then he gave it right back!
By Scott Wilson