Combustible Celluloid
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With: (voices) Boris Karloff, June Foray
Written by: Dr. Seuss, Bob Ogle, Irv Spector, based on a book by Dr. Seuss
Directed by: Chuck Jones (with Ben Washam)
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 26
Date: 18/12/1966

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

4 Stars (out of 4)

The True Whos

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy How the Grinch Stole Christmas on DVD

Chuck Jones's wonderful 1966 television special remains a model of economy, taking Dr. Suess's simple tale and perfectly stretching it out to 26 minutes. Boris Karloff provides the narration and the voice of the Grinch, and the only other casting is the great June Foray (best known as "Witch Hazel" in Bugs Bunny cartoons and as "Rocky the Flying Squirrel" in Bullwinkle cartoons) as the voice of Cindy Lou Who. The Grinch's wordless, but kindhearted dog Max is actually our entry point into the story, and is also the catalyst for some vintage Jonesian humor. The best part is that Jones spends almost the entire time with the Grinch and Max and very little with the Whos in Whoville. His victims -- for the most part -- remain nameless and faceless, so that his scheme seems all that much more fun. But when the Grinch is reformed, it's truthfully and entirely earned. Dr. Seuss co-produced, under his real name Ted Geisel. Looking at this great cartoon again only reinforces just how vulgar, awful and unnecessary Ron Howard's live-action version (2000) really was.

DVD Details: Warner Home Video re-released this classic on a new 2006 DVD, complete with a second cartoon short, Horton Hears a Who! (1970). It also includes several making-of featurettes, some of them several years old (Jones turns up for interviews, and Phil Hartman hosts one of them).

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