Santa Claus

(Jeannot Szwarc, USA, 1985)


As a mythic figure, Santa Claus is surely a non-contender. Unlike Jesus, Lancelot, Oedipus or Dracula, he carries no cross, bears no guilt, is racked by no obscene desire.

Santa is basically a do-gooder whose worst problems are a broken-down reindeer or a decrepit, capitalist humbug who stands in the way of Christmas.

This version of Santa's uninspiring story is suffused with much heavenly, Spielbergian light. But all that writer David Newman and director Jeannot Szwarc manage to add is a curious celebration of the industrial revolution and Dudley Moore as a cute pixie saddled with bad puns ("I'm elf-confident").

MORE Szwarc: Supergirl

other Santas: The Hebrew Hammer, Bad Santa

© Adrian Martin December 1992

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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