An instant classic when first broadcast in 1964, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has become a Christmas tradition for millions of families. While the stop-motion animation in Rudolph may seem primitive by contemporary standards, it's still a visually effective piece, thanks in large part to the simple but engaging character design. More importantly, the script is a real winner, with lovable and clearly-drawn characters, amusing dialogue and a heartwarming, engrossing story. Using the famous title song as its basis, the script adds in such delightful touches as an Abominable Snowman, an Island of Misfit Toys, and a curious elf who wants nothing more than to be a dentist. Rudolph is also blessed with a charming score, highlighted by the Christmas-themed "Holly Jolly Christmas" and "Silver and Gold." Both of these are performed by narrator Burl Ives, who brings a delightful folksy quality to the proceedings. The vocal cast is strong overall, and Larry Roemer's direction is efficient and professional. While the film's creaky production values diminish its appeal somewhat, it's still fine holiday entertainment.
by Craig Butler review