How The Grinch Stole Christmas

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

How The Grinch Stole Christmas Opened: 1966
Runtime: 26 min.
Rating: NR
Cast: Boris Karloff, Thurl Ravenscroft
Director: Chuck Jones
Genres: Family, Animated

Movie Abstract: by joe schaffer
The plot is faithful to the original book of the same name. The only notable additions are the addition of color (the original book was in dichromatic red and black, with the occasional pink), the early appearance of the Grinch's dog Max, and the insertion of three songs: the Christmas carol "Welcome Christmas" (sung by a studio chorus at the beginning and closing of the program), the polka-styled "Trim Up the Tree," and "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" (performed by an uncredited Thurl Ravenscroft). Almost all narrations are made verbatim from the book. Also added are a description of the noise-making Whos on Christmas morning and the substitution of nonsensical Seuss-like gifts such as "bizzle-binks" instead of the mundane gifts such as bicycles and popcorn. A sequence in which the Grinch and Max advance from the mountain to Whoville with comical difficulty on Christmas Eve, with no spoken parts, was added to stretch the length of the special to a full half-hour.

The Grinch (voiced by Boris Karloff) is the film's main character. He lives in a cave atop the fictional Mt. Crumpit, located above Whoville. The Grinch is a surly character with a heart "two sizes too small" who has especially hated Christmas for 53 years. The film opens on Christmas Eve with the Grinch wishing he could stop Christmas Day from coming to Whoville. When he sees his dog, Max, covered in snow in a Santa Claus-like way, the Grinch decides to disguise himself as Santa and steal Christmas.

The Grinch makes himself a Santa coat and hat and disguises the innocent Max as a reindeer. He loads empty bags onto a sleigh and travels to Whoville with some difficulty. In the first house he is almost caught by Cindy Lou Who (voiced by an uncredited June Foray), a small Who girl who wakes up and sees him taking the Christmas tree. Pretending to be Santa, the Grinch tells Cindy Lou that he is merely taking the tree to his workshop for repairs, and then sends her back to bed. He empties the first house of all the food and Christmas-related items, then repeats the process at the other houses in Whoville. He also takes the village decorations.

With the Whos' stolen Christmas goods, the Grinch and Max travel back up Mt. Crumpit. Before dropping the loaded sleigh off the mountain, the Grinch waits to hear a sad cry from the Whos. However, down in the village, the Whos joyously begin to sing Christmas carols, proving that the spirit of Christmas does not depend on material things. The Grinch begins to understand the true meaning of Christmas, though he barely does so in time to prevent the stolen treats from going over the cliff and while he tries to stop the sleigh from falling off, his heart grows three sizes—granting him "the strength of TEN Grinches, plus two!" He brings everything back to the Whos and participates in the holiday feast. He is given the honor of carving the roast beast, while Max gets the first slice for himself for all his troubles.

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