Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is such a culturally iconic show--the word "grinch" has long been a part of the everyday American lexicon--that it's a wonder there hasn't been a decent edition of the TV classic on DVD before this. But who's complaining? It's here, finally, and the 50th Birthday Deluxe Edition is bargain-priced, as if to say, Sorry it took so long.
It was worth the wait. The attractive "snow"-flocked slipcase leads you to believe that good things indeed come in small packages, and there's a lot on this modest single-disc release to celebrate. For one thing, the NEW DIGITAL TRANSFER makes the old version look ragged by comparison. The famous Dr. Seuss cartoon look better than ever--so sharp and clear that you'd swear it was recently animated instead of a 1966 production. This is as close as it gets to HD without technically being HD.
As on a previous release, "Horton Hears a Who!" is included as a bonus feature, but there are also a half-dozen short features (more on that later). The best new addition is an extra on "Dr. Seuss and the Grinch-From Whoville to Hollywood," which gives a basic but fascinating bio of the man who, it turns out, is about as real a doctor as Dr. Phil. Theodor Geisel was a disappointment to his parents, who wanted him to become a doctor. So the dreamy doodler who did poorly in school decided to call himself "Doctor" when he began publishing his children's books because of his parents, and took on "Seuss" because it was his mother's maiden name. Maybe the thing that makes Dr. Seuss books so delightfully strange is that they weren't written for a children's audience in mind. Geisel wrote the first of his books to amuse himself, and book's success gave him the freedom to trust his crazy instincts thereafter. Since one of his most beloved books, "And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street," was published in 1937, Seuss has been a giant in children's literature--so much so that in 1984, seven years before his death, the Pulitzer Prize Board gave him a Special Citation. Not bad for a man who had no formal art training.
If the Grinch had a heart two sizes too small, Dr. Seuss had an imagination two sizes too large. His made-up characters and rhyming narratives helped children learn how to read and encouraged them to let loose with their own wild imaginations. In 1957, the same year that his most famous book, "The Cat in the Hat," was published, so was this Christmas tale that was apparently inspired by Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."
The Grinch is green, a good color for someone so envious of the blissful life that the little people of Whoville lead. He's so bothered by their Christmas cheer that he decides to make up his dog to look like a reindeer (complete with a branch antler strapped to his head) and pose as Santa in order to pay the residents of Whoville a visit. But he goes one step further than Scrooge, whose