Here's the discussion thread launch in case anyone wants to get started early.
BTW, coincidentally or not, ABC will air this original animated classic on Monday December 1 at 8:30PM ET (check your local listings for airing) with additional footage from a "making of" documentary. This timely airing on network TV should make it easier for viewing and getting the discussion under way.
For convenience, copied and pasted from the Poll thread, here is the IMDb page for reference.
Some initial questions to consider: ---Boris Karloff is mostly associated with horror movies like Frankenstein. How does his casting as the narrator/Grinch voice enhance or hinder the story? ---Is the movie dated or does it hold up well today? In what way(s)? As an original made-for-TV production, how well does the simple (by today's standards) direction and animation tell the Dr. Seuss story? ---WHY did the Grinch steal Christmas? Is the Grinch mostly a (reformed) villain, or does he represent a misunderstood, sympathetic, stressed-out Everyman? How do modern holiday celebrants relate to--or reject--what the Grinch represents? What, if anything, do we have in common with the Grinch after all these years? What is the Grinch's dog Max's role, and how are we to relate to this canine companion?
Patrick Roy, 2006 inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame
Post by dragonsback on Dec 1, 2008 13:43:47 GMT -5
I shouldn't be the one to lead off here. I didn't propose this entrant, and the obvious choice would be Patcat. But the board is quiet, so , hey, why not?
Techguy, your discussion points are excellent. I leave them to Patcat et al. For me, as a first time viewer, I offer only a first impression, and stream-scribbled, without organization..
This is Boris Karloff's show. Forget the message - well, all the world has, even as they pay lip service to "The Meaning of Christmas".
Dog is Sancho Panza and his descendants.
I return to Karloff. That silky English-with-Russian/Transylvanian undertones was delicious. And I loved the whole Christmas thievery scene, right down to the ice cubes. The "dated" aspect to me was in fact lovely: film being ripped out a camera will have generations to come wondering. Not dated, but gives the piece a place in time.
Transcending time and date: The animation artists' touches were yummy. I mention here in particular the Grinch stealthily removing the candy canes from the sleeping children's hands. Watch how it is drawn. Delightful detail!
Boris Karloff was delighted in his later years that children, after hearing his voice, would run up to him yelling, "It's the Grinch!"
There's a theory (and I'm sorry I can't quote the source) that there's really only two Christmas stories, one being the Nativity and the other A CHRISTMAS CAROL. And the latter's influence can't be overstated.
What a delightful place Who-ville is. Not a mall or Big Box store in sight. And no Black Friday or Cyber Monday to fuel the shopping frenzy. No mobs gathered outside a WalMart, breaking down doors, trampling a temp worker to death.
Maybe it's not such a bad thing for the Grinch to steal the outer trappings of Christmas. The day comes even if there are no gaudy trees, ornaments and glut of presents.
I don't have much of an issue with the Grinch except for his bold-faced lie to Cindy Lou, and his abusive treatment of the reluctant Igor-like Max. How did the Grinch acquire such a canine, and why in the world does Max stay with him?
Karloff's voice is mesmerizing, hauntingly enchanted. He is perfect for this story, simple and true. He and the animation are treasures. Nothing is wasted, nothing extra is there only for effect. Voice and animation work in sync to fire the imagination about who are the Whos and how they live. It's a joy, plain and simple.
Patrick Roy, 2006 inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame
A few ramblings about Chuck Jones, the director of this wonderful film. I recommend the documentary CHUCK JONES: IN-BETWEENS AND EXTREMES to anyone with an interest in animation and film. It's available on DVD. Mr. Jones may be best known today for THE GRINCH, and I doubt he'd be terribly upset by that. I doubt he'd be upset for being known for any of his creations and suspect that he'd just be terribly happy that people are still enjoying his work. There were other great animators at the Warner Brothers studios in the 1930s through the 1950s like Robert McKimson, Fritz Freleng, and Tex Avery, but Mr. Jones eventually outshone them. (Although Mr. Jones was always pretty quick to share the glory with other directors and the people he worked with.) Although he didn't create Bugs Bunny, Mr. Jones' cartoons staring the rabbit seem sharper and better written. He also didn't create Daffy Duck, but the series of cartoons Mr. Jones supervised placing Daffy in various situations are brilliant beautiful little masterpieces, like DUCK DODGERS IN THE 24 AND A HALF CENTURY and DEDUCE YOU SAY! (possibly the best Sherlock Holmes parody ever). Mr. Jones frequently commented that Bugs Bunny was who he wanted to be; Daffy Duck was who he was. Mr. Jones did create Michigan J. Frog, and his love of music runs through many of his cartoons, including WHAT'S OPERA DOC ("Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit!")
A story--A friend contacted Mr. Jones in his later years and asked how he was. "Not so good," Mr. Jones said. "I spend a lot of my time in bed...Although, mind you, I've had some very good times in bed."
Mr. Jones was reportedly a funny, generous man. There's no question that Dr. Seuss deserves a great deal of credit for THE GRINCH, but until Mr. Jones approached him, he had resisted most attempts to film his works. He found the right collaborator. I think a lot of the soul of this masterpiece belongs to Chuck Jones.