A Christmas Story

Directed by Bob Clark

> > Oct 2003

A Christmas Story - Directed by Bob Clark
By Noel DixWhile classics It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol are considered essential holiday viewing, it's the legendary A Christmas Story that has been the season's true champion for the past 20 years. Set in Cleveland, but also filmed in Toronto, the film tells a simple story of little Ralphie Parker's undeniable quest to receive a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. He pleads to everyone who will listen but gets the same response: "You'll shoot your eye out." Based on his novel In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, the true hero of this film is Jean Shepherd, for it's his narration that's the star of A Christmas Story and strikes the balance between child and adult, as Shepherd fills in for Ralphie's thoughts. Thankfully, this film's greatness has been recognised and given the double-disc treatment with slick packaging it deserves, though the extras would have been better if taken more seriously. Commentary with Billingsey (Ralphie) and director Bob Clark is a welcomed treat, especially since a lot of light is shed by the people involved. It's an enjoyable track, especially hearing Billingsley reminisce not only about the film but about his childhood, though the pair pause often. There is a 20-minute documentary serving as a "where are they now?" segment that comes across as a little corny, but is interesting just to see what the children look like now. Two somewhat comedic featurettes include a tour of the Red Ryder factory, as well as the people responsible for the infamous leg lamp! The latter seems as if they're poking fun, which is a shame, seeing as that "award" was a key part of the film and should have been treated more seriously. Overall, you can't complain with the amount of work that went into this DVD for such a small-time film, but the extras make this Christmas classic seem a little cheap, rather than treating it with the respect it deserves. Plus: original radio readings by Jean Shepherd, Triple Dog Dare trivia, decoder match challenge, theatrical trailer. (Warner)
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