Rankin/Bass 7: Jack Frost

jack frost8Next up we are looking at one of the more creative Rankin/Bass specials- Jack Frost.  That’s one thing I’ve noticed about the Rankin/Bass team is they are very creative and willing to do things with the story that often seem strange.  I almost never finish a movie of theirs thinking ‘well that was obvious and boring’.

Jack Frost aired on NBC in 1979 and you can definitely feel it is one of their more polished pieces with the animation being much better than the films from the late 60s, early 70s.  It also featured the entire Rankin/Bass team with Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin directing, Romeo Muller writing, Maury Laws doing the music ect.

jack frostThe story is actually kind of complicated.  Jack Frost is an immortal fairy that brings on winter but as he is putting his ice and frost he falls in love with a girl named Elisa.  Longing to be with her Jack asks Father Winter if he can become human and Father agrees as long as Jack proves his value as a human by earning a house, a horse, a bag of gold, and a wife by the first Spring (I don’t know many actual humans that could pass that test!).

jack frost2So Jack goes down to earth and becomes Jack Snip, a tailor in town.  Elisa likes Jack but is in love with Sir Ravenal Rightfellow, a ‘knight in golden armor’.

jack frost0Unfortunately Elisa is abducted by Kubla Kraus a King that talks to a strange iron puppet (they are always making strange but kind of entertaining choices with these specials).

jack frost9Now Jack must save Elisa and she must choose between him and Ravenal and what about his powers? What will happen with those?  You will have to watch it to find out.

Also there is a Groundhog voiced by Buddy Hackett that oddly becomes involved.

jack frost7The ending genuinely surprised me.  That’s why I wanted to be a little coy in the summary above.

The voice cast is all good with in addition to Hackett, Robert Morse as Jack Frost, Debra Clinger as Elsa, Paul Frees as both Father Winter and Kubla Kraus, and more.

jack frost3The music is pretty good with a lot of non-Christmas songs like Me and My Shadow, It’s Lonely Being One of a Kind, and Just What I Always Wanted.

At 48 minutes it is a little bit longer than some of the other specials but I enjoyed it.  The animation is fine.  It’s creative and the story surprised me.  I think kids will like it too and you could watch it any time during the winter, no just Christmas time.  This is definitely one of the best from the Rankin/Bass team.

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