Rankin/Bass 3: The First Christmas Snow

first christmas9The next entry I’m looking at in my Rankin/Bass month is the 22 minute program The First Christmas: The First Christmas Snow.  The rather ungainly title refers to a nativity play put on but really the The First Christmas Snow is more the plot of the special.

first christmas3The First Christmas Snow unfortunately is one of the weaker entries I’ve seen but that’s not to say it doesn’t have some positive elements.  It’s just very syrupy and preachy.  More along the lines of something you’d watch as a kid in Sunday School to teach a principle than a real piece of cinema.

It tells the tale of a little blind boy named Lucas who is lost in a storm watching over his sheep and some nuns including Sister Theresa take him in and care for him.  Theresa is voiced by Angela Lansbury and I could listen to her all day.  Basically little Lucas gets to know the nuns and starts to feel at home with his sheep at the monastery.

first christmas7But mean old Father Thomas (Cyril Ritchard) doesn’t think it is the right place for a little boy and insists he be taken to the orphanage.  But Lucas and his friend Louisa pray for a miracle and they get what they ask for and more.  Lucas is also trying to thwart off pranksters who lose his sheep and also trying to find the perfect gift for Sister Theresa.

first christmas2there’s a Christmas pageant where Lucas and Louisa are our angels (did any of you doubt that would be the case?)

first christmas6The thing that makes this bit watchable and sweet in its own way is the songs.  Angela Lansbury sounds completely lovely singing White Christmas, Christmas Snow is Magic and Save a Little Christmas.

first christmas8The stop motion is fine but not the best I’ve seen from Rankin/Bass and it’s just so syrupy it is hard to recommend- and that’s coming from an adamant apologist for many Christian films.

If you need to have a sub for Sunday School and want to teach about faith and miracles it would be a fine choice but I can still think of better. Honestly any of the veggietales shorts would be better with a similar message.

first christmas5So this will definitely be near the bottom of my Rankin/Bass rankings if I do one but luckily it is only 22 minutes and I can stand just about anything for that long.

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