This one really was a difficult watch in all honesty. it’s a testamony to how pre-conceived opinions on what a film is about can drastically effect the overall enjoyment of the piece. In the UK this was genuinely marketed as a movie for young kids. the cover for the VHS and DVD releases were both incredibly kid friendly (See the poster at the beginning of my review for a better idea of exactly how kid friendly it looked) and the back of the box was colourful and written in a way to make it easy for kids to get an idea of what this is about. all mentions of Socialism and communism or our lord Jesus christ is omitted in the blurb on the back of the case for this one and Bernard cribbins is mentioned multiple times as a means to try and sell this to them.
Genuinely; I think Abby home video bought this and didnt realise what they’d got their hands on till it was too late to back out of it…either that or they planned to put this out as a kids film knowingly with no regard for what it actually is about…which just plain sucks in all honesty. I think in the hands of a decent distributor (And with a decent remaster and maybe a couple of extras) this could really make a rather lovely set. Im not one for talking about “Dream releases” for content here but I think I can make an exception with this one as it kind of feels right to give it a decent release. Here’s what I’d do with it if I got my hands on it.
*4K Scan of the original film elements followed by a full remaster (clean up, colour grade and levels check)
*Both cuts of this film (Both the english Cribbins version and the original Swedish release with subs) available on the disc (The English version to be recreated using the 4k swedish scan as nothing is significantly altered and only a scene or two have been removed so it would be easy to resynch the english dub track)
*Commentary with Cribbins + A couple of film critics (Im looking at you Kim Newman and Alan Jones!) to talk about the history of this film, the animation style, why the themes of the film probably didnt take to a british audience and any juicy tidbits about Per Åhlin and Tage Danielsson
*A documentary following the production of this feature + a brief history of it’s broadcasting history both in Sweden and the UK
* (If possible…hell it’s my fantasy why not) An isolated Score track…for all that lurrrrvely Jazz and Bossa.
*a mini Documentary about politics in christmas movies. dealing specifically aroun the socialist themes raised in this feature and a discussion on whether Christmas is more personified by the Left or the Right.
*old promotional materials (TV spots, radio spots if their are any,) both from the UK and Europe
*A NICE. Bluray cover. using newly drawn artwork thats fitting for the 15 – 30 year old audience that this film is clearly based at.
*Reversable artwork containing the original Abby home video release cover artwork…Okay im joking…but what I would like is:
*Reversable artwork that uses it’s swedish title alongside some of the original promotional artwork (See the image used in my thumbnail of this review)
Obviously this release will never happen in a million years. but this movies got such a decent and wholesome message I really wish it would. it’s charming and to see it have such a shoddy release history really is a proper downer. Still…at least we got the chance to have it localised. had it not been I may never have heard of it.
(The animation still creeps me out a bit…it reminds me a bit of Wondershowzens more abstract animation sections)