A CHRISTMAS STORY (1983 USA)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.0|5.0 Stars ìììì

A Christmas Story—absolutely fresh comedic take on Christmas—runs backward in time to the 1940s when a Red Ryder BB gun is a ‘top of the list’ gift priority for young boys. This film superbly catches the flavor of the times with superb acting that includes the talents of Darren McGavin, Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Scott Schwartz, R. D. Robb, Ian Petrella, and Zack Ward. This movie is worth a seasonal re-watch and contains unforgettable dialogue with phrases that can be incorporated as classic holiday lines. The film is based on the novel, “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash,” by Jean Shepherd who also wrote the terrific script along with Leigh Brown and Bob Clark.

Storyline

A man cleans the snow off his car. The camera slides across the scenery of a snow-covered street to a cream colored house at the end of a picket fence. A grown-up Ralphie (Jean Shepherd) begins story narration with the line, “Ah, there it is. My house…good old Cleveland street…How could I ever forget it?...And there I am, with that dumb round face and…that stupid stocking cap.” Christmas scenery from the 1940s includes boys running and playing, Salvation Army solicitation, Santa Claus ringing a bell for donations, townspeople singing Christmas songs with a Christmas tree in the background, a food wagon, trolley car, people walking everywhere, cars constantly moving, and a display window full of toys that includes running trains, an automated statue of an old woman in a rocking chair, and sleds. Boys move through the people to front row viewing of the display window where the “the Holy Grail of Christmas gifts” sits—a Red Ryder 200-shot range model air rifle. The story is off and running as it follows the obsession of a young Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) to possess his own air rifle.

Additional Thanks

Thank you to Director Bob Clark for directing efforts. Thank you to Producers Bob Clark and René Dupont for making the film possible. Special thank you for terrific musical scoring goes to Paul Zaza and Carl Zittrer. Additional characters/cast include: Mother Parker (Melinda Dillon), The Old Man Parker (Darren McGavin), Flick (Scott Schwartz), Randy (Ian Petrella), Miss Shields (Tedde Moore), Schwartz (R.D. Robb), Scut Farkus (Zack Ward), and Grover Dill (Yano Anaya).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. Despite its complete irreverence for the season, it’s a completely new Christmas story that deserves classic status due to its comedic value and its ability to serve and relate to the child and adult audience.

Ben Meyers

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