Family Film Sunday: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Sunday Dec 17 11:10 AM
Sunday Dec 17 12:00 PM
Sunday Dec 17 01:00 PM
Doris Duke Theatre
About the Film:
Directed by Chuck Jones. USA. 1966. 26 min.
What are the holidays without seeing this cartoon that makes your heart three sizes bigger? Legendary cartoon director Chuck Jones’s adaption of the Theodor Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss) book was the first prime-time animated television special based on a Dr. Seuss book. And anti-Hollywood Geisel only agreed to sell the rights to Jones because they had worked together on army training films during World War II.
In a stroke of casting genius, Boris Karloff is the voice of the Grinch, who lives on top of a hill overlooking Whoville with his dog, Max. Each time the holidays arrive, the Grinch's hatred for the insufferably cheerful Christmas-loving Whos down in Whoville grows. Busy exchanging presents, eating large banquets, and singing in the town square, the Whos live in blissful ignorance of the Grinch's contempt. One year, he concocts a plan to stop Christmas. He cobbles together a Santa Claus outfit and makes Max drag him around on a sleigh while sneaking into the Whos' homes and stealing their presents, food, and decorations. After he has stolen every last thing, the Whos wake up on Christmas morning to find they’re without “packages, boxes or bags.” But instead of crying boo hoo, they sing with joy in the town square, causing the Grinch to realize Christmas doesn’t come from a store, but, perhaps, means a little bit more.
Interesting side note: Because reading the book out loud only takes about 12 minutes, Jones was faced with the challenge of extending the story. For this, he turned to Max the dog. “That whole center section where Max is tied up to the sleigh, and goes down through the mountainside, and has all those problems getting down there, was good comic business as it turns out,” Jones explained in TNT’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas special, which is a special feature on the movie’s DVD. “But it was all added; it was not part of the book.” Jones would go on to name Max as his favorite character from the special, as he felt that he directly represented the audience.—Mentalfloss