Way back in July, Walmart had Christmas movies for sale for Christmas in July. After browsing the movies, I found a few that I wanted, but the one I wanted to see the most is Mrs. Santa Claus.
Mrs. Santa Claus is a made for TV musical movie staring Angela Lansbury, Michael Jeter, Terence Mann, and Charles During. The music is by Jerry Herman, costume design by Bob Mackie, and choreography by Rob Marshall.
The movie is about Mrs. Claus, the wife of Santa Claus, who helps run the workshop and . Frustrated by her husband’s lack of insert about her help and the lack of acknowledgement for what she does, she decides to take matters into her own hands and sets out to test a new flight plan she developed for her husband’s Christmas Eve run using the sleigh and reindeer. While flying, she runs into bad weather and lands in New York City. There, she stays in a boarding house until after the reindeer have time to rest. She encounters people who have different ideas, religions, and feelings about Christmas.
The movie is well done and is in the style of a Jerry Herman musical, such as Hello Dolly. The pacing of the story is very smooth and would make a great stage musical as it does for a movie musical. The music, written by Jerry Herman, is catchy and well written, but, in my opinion, isn’t as catchy as the music he wrote for Hello Dolly and Mame. The costumes are beautiful and the musical numbers are well choreographed. Angela Lansbury is wonderful as Mrs. Claus and, as a fan of Angela Lansbury, I’m happy to see her in this movie again. Musical theater actor Terence Mann (Known for playing Inspector Javer in the original Broadway cast of Les Miserables and the Beast in the original Broadway cast of Beauty and the Beast) is also in it, as is Charles Durning (The Sting) and Michel Jeter (Evening Shade), two stage and screen actors that also stared in Broadway shows.
The version of the movie I purchased is part of a three movie set, which also included Christmas in Canaan and One Christmas. I’ll review these two movies in separate posts.
I was the most excited to find this on DVD. I tried to find it for years but I couldn’t find it available until this year. According to my research, the movie has been out of print since 2003, which explains why I couldn’t find it. I remember wanting to watch it when it first premiered on TV in 1996, so re watching it was a small highlight of my 2020.
The movie was as I remembered it, except I understand what’s going on better than I did when I was a child. Mrs. Claus participated in a women’s right to vote march after meeting the daughter of the boarding house owner and encounters poor working conditions and child labor at her new place of employment, a foreman in toy factory. When I was a child, I knew what was going on in the movie and how serious they are, but it didn’t sink in as much as it does now that I’m adult. Seeing it again as an adult made me realize what Mrs. Claus wanted to do and probably what motivated her.
Although I love the movie, the DVD copy I watched was not as good. I noticed it has some holes show up on the screen, specifically when Mrs. Claus meets the owner of the boarding house she will stay in. The holes, consistent with a deteriorating copy of the movie on film, and other problems with the film, such as poor audio quality in certain parts and washed out colors in other parts, hints that the copy of the film that was digitized for DVD was a poor quality film version and was not cleaned up post-edit for re release on DVD. I’m sad to see so little effort was put into digitizing it, especially since it was for sale on DVD at places like Walmart, and I hope there will be more effort to improve this in the future, but to be realistic, I doubt it since the distributor of the DVD didn’t feel it is necessary to fix the flaws before releasing it for sale.
Overall, I love this movie and highly suggest it to anyone looking for a new Christmas musical to watch. Just remember the digitized version of the movie available on DVD may not be as high quality as it could be.