|Directed by:||Jeannot Szwarc|
|Written by:|| David Newman|
|Release date:||November 29, 1985|
|Running time:||1 hour, 47 minutes|
|Available on:|| VHS|
Santa Claus: The Movie (titled Santa Claus onscreen) is a 1985 Christmas movie starring Dudley Moore and John Lithgow. Released in theaters by TriStar Pictures on November 29, 1985, it was produced by Alexander and Ilya Salkind (who had also produced the Superman film series), written by David and Leslie Newman, and directed by Jeannot Szwarc.
Somewhere in the 14th century, Claus (David Huddleston) is a peasant woodcutter in his mid-50s who, with his wife Anya (Judy Cornwell), delivers his gifts to the children of a certain village. One night, Claus, Anya and their reindeer, Donner and Blitzen, are rescued from certain death in a blizzard, only to be transported to the vast "ice mountains, way up at the top of the world." Their expected arrival is heralded with the appearance of several elves, or – as Claus's people call them in their legends – the Vendequm, led by the venerable and wise elf named Dooley (John Barrard).
The Clauses also meet Patch (Dudley Moore), an inventive elf who has designs for such future items like plumbing and an alarm clock, and Puffy (Anthony O'Donnell). Introduced to the mass workshop where the elves construct endless amounts of toys for the world's children, Claus learns that it is his destiny to distribute those toys on Christmas Eve. After months of preparation, Christmas Eve arrives and Claus is granted the name "Santa Claus" by the Ancient One (Burgess Meredith), the eldest of the elves. Santa's yearly routine of delivering his gifts begins when he uses his modified sleigh and six additional reindeer to accompany Donner and Blitzen.
When all eight deer are joined together, they can fly by eating an otherworldly reindeer feed. Two separate musical montages follow, each depicting Santa delivering toys across the centuries, and demonstrating how a great deal of the mythos around him is established.
Eventually, the film moves to the late 20th century. Santa is becoming increasingly tired by the workload of toys he must deliver, combined with the ever-growing population of the planet. At that point, Anya suggests that Santa should have an assistant. Patch and Puffy are selected as candidates, and both their ideas are compared in a competition. A third musical montage takes us through the competition, which Patch ultimately wins through his invention of an automated manufacturing machine.
Several nights later, on Christmas Eve, Santa meets up with a homeless boy named Joe (Christian Fitzpatrick), with whom he immediately bonds, ultimately inviting the 10-year-old along for the night ride. During the flight, Santa tempts the reindeer into performing an aerial stunt dubbed the "SuperDuper Looper" in which the reindeer attempt to perform a 360° degree circle in midair, but, as often happens each year, the maneuver fails when Donner's aerial dizziness gets the better of him.
Santa and Joe unintentionally awaken a 9-year-old girl named Cornelia (Carrie Kei Heim), who had secretly spent some days befriending Joe. On Christmas morning, Patch is dismayed when his toys break and are returned to the workshop. Resigning his post as Santa's assistant, the reluctant Patch leaves the North Pole.
Patch goes to New York City where he meets B.Z. (John Lithgow), Cornelia's step-uncle (their specific relationship is never explained) – a greedy and scheming toymaking executive who is on the verge of losing his company after being subject to a Congressional investigation due to the shoddy products he has made. Patch offers to help him make toys, believing at first that B.Z.'s toys are successful when he witnesses them being removed quickly from shops, although they are actually being recalled.
Patch uses the ingredient from the reindeer feed to create a puce colored lollipop that can make people float in midair, and it soon becomes quite popular among children, making Santa feel unwanted. B.Z. then manufactures candy canes using the ingredient, but is horrified to discover that a batch of the stuff will explode when exposed to extreme heat. On discovering this news, B.Z. resolves to keep this information a secret and schemes to move to a South American country with no extradition treaty to avoid criminal prosecution. B.Z. captures and imprisons Joe when he finds him eavesdropping on him and his head of Research & Development, Dr. Eric Towzer (Jeffrey Kramer).
Patch later finds and frees a bound and gagged Joe and decides to return to the North Pole with him, when he sees a carved toy resembling himself, an "elf-portrait", given to Joe by Santa. The two friends buckle themselves into the incredible Patchmobile, which they have stuffed with loads and loads of the candy canes. The NYPD then go to arrest B.Z. after Cornelia alerts them of her uncle's crimes, but he eats some of the candy canes and finds himself floating in midair, eventually disappearing far, far up into the sky.
Having summoned him with an incomplete letter, Cornelia and Santa now pursue Patch and Joe until the Patchmobile explodes, the result of the candy canes' exposure to heat. Their only hope of saving them now is to attempt the aforementioned "Super Duper Looper". Finally, with Patch reconciled with his fellow elves, Joe is welcomed into the Clauses' family and Cornelia is invited to stay for a year. Dooley reacts to the addition of Joe and Cornelia by commenting: "As if I don't have enough to do! Now, I'm going to have to be a schoolteacher!" To which both children gasp: "School?!"
The film ends with the inhabitants of the North Pole celebrating the triumph with a joyous dance party. The film's final images are of B.Z. floating away into space, doomed to die of asphyxiation in the upper atmosphere among the floating remains of the Patchmobile.
Home video releasesEdit
|David Huddleston||Santa Claus|
|Burgess Meredith||The Ancient One|
|Judy Cornwell||Anya Claus|
|Carrie Kei Heim||Cornelia|
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