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(Deluxe Edition)

The Rankin/Bass holiday special ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS ($25) is very loosely adapted from the poem by Clement Moore- the date, the notion of a mouse and a pending visit from Santa are pretty much what ties this animated program to the poem. The premise of ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS finds that Santa has turned his back on an entire town, after an anonymous letter indicates that none of its citizens believe he exists. It turns out that a brainy young mouse is responsible for the letter, and it falls to a local clockmaker to win the town back into Santa’s good graces with a singing clock. Of course, the very same brainy young mouse decides to take a look at the clock, and manages to gum up the works, further endangering the town’s chances of winning over Santa. ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS features the vocal talents of George Gobel, Joel Grey, Tammy Grimes, Bob McFadden and John McGiver.

Warner Home Video has made ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.37:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. As I stated about the DVD edition, ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS doesn’t feature the most compelling style of 2D animation, so the presentation appears somewhat uninspired and flat as a result. Still, the 1080p presentation does manage to nicely outdo its standard definition DVD counterpart. The image appears as crisp as it possibly can, with the original animation being the only limiting factor. Some shots look a bit softer than others, but it holds together rather well. Colors favor a warm pastel theme, with some of the primary and secondary hues offering nice levels of saturation. Blacks are reasonably deep and the whites are crisp. The elements from which ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS are mastered show some minor blemishes. Modest grain is apparent in the image.

‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Thanks to the lossless encode, the sound is fuller than what was found on the DVD release. Still, ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS is monaural and the original mix was designed for tinny television speakers, so the sound has its limitations. The musical component does sound rather nice, while the dialogue is easy to understand. A Spanish Dolby Digital monaural track is also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a couple of extras- Christmas: A Global Holiday, a short animated comic focusing on how the holiday is celebrated around the world, plus a Trailer for the Santa’s Magical Stories collection on DVD. Disc two offers a DVD copy of the program for those who are on the fence about making the upgrade to Blu-ray.

‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS is an enjoyable enough Rankin/Bass holiday special. The Blu-ray offers a nice upgrade over DVD.


'Twas the Night Before Christmas (Deluxe Edition) [Blu-ray] (1974)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2011 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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