1966, Movies

The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t (1966, Rossano Brazzi)

There are movies that more competent than the worst made movies but somehow manage to be almost worst than the least well made films, in how dull they are, or how incompetent they are from a story perspective. This Christmas film was an absolute chore to sit through even with the MS3K jokes.

Though the budget is low enough to be embarrassing, the film itself is actually competently made in terms of how its shot, and the quality of the costumes and sets given said budget. But the plot of this unbelievably dumb movie is that Santa is getting evicted from the North Pole and he needs a lawyer to help him keep it. The lawyer doesn’t appear to be a very good lawyer and the plot consists of basically the two of them brainstorming what to do, people doubting Santa is Santa (of course) and then the two of them working in a department store. (Yes, according to this movie, department store Santas came about because Santa had to work to pay the rent.) If that sounds remotely interesting to you, trust me, it’s more boring than it sounds.

This film is ostensibly a musical, but nearly every song ends just after it begins. I’m not sure a single one of them follows conventional verse-chorus structure and I don’t know if any of them lasted more than 90 seconds. None of them are actually really fully written. And even crazier, at least one song is mixed low enough you can barely hear it. It’s among the weirdest films with musical numbers I’ve ever seen. (Though I’ve seen a couple films that had one song, which might be weirder.)

It’s really hard to convey how dull this movie is but maybe I can convey how low the budget it is. When Santa finally solves his problem he delivers presents through a montage of stills, because all they could afford was some papier-mache chimneys. And the snow looks really fake, and the houses look really fake, but the montage of stills is the lowest point.

And the film cribs liberally from other properties. The most transparent plagiarism is of A Christmas Carol when the bad guy just comes around all of sudden and has his “I love Christmas” thing. (There’s a boat this time, which is how we know it’s not Dickens.)

Anyway, this film is bad. But it’s still competently made enough to not be among the worst of all time.

2/10

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