Santa Claus

D: Jeannot Szwarc
Salkind (Ilya Salkind & Pierre Spengler)
UK 1985
112 mins


W: David Newman
DP: Arthur Ibbetson
Ed: Peter Hollywood
Mus: Henry Mancini
PD: Anthony Pratt

David Huddleston (Santa Claus), Dudley Moore (Patch), John Lithgow (B.Z.), Judy Cornwell (Anya Claus), Christian Fitzpatrick (Joe), Carrie Kei Heim (Cornelia), Burgess Meredith (The Ancient One)

A young, homeless boy stands famished outside a McDonald's restaurant, as those inside feast their lips upon the bill of fare. Big, juicy Big Macs, succulent Chicken McNuggets, refreshing milkshakes, etc. This goes on for several minutes.
Either side of this blatant advert is quite a humdrum fantasy story about Santa and an attack on commercialism and greed (ha ha!) when one of Mr. Claus' elves quits the North Pole to work for an avaricious, unscrupulous toy manufacturer (played with great glee by a scene-stealing John Lithgow)
Young children will enjoy it, but the obvious, ubiquitous product placement will make most adults absolutely sick. The production itself is also quite ropey, with some unconvincing special effects, terrible production design (Santa's workshop just seems to be a huge warehouse for plywood) and some of the cheesiest editing you'll ever see.  Still, it's understandable that people will feel nostalgic about this film, probably from watching it on Christmas morning while opening their presents, but that didn't count for anything in 1985 when the film was a huge box office flop, costing the studio millions and causing the rights to Superman to be sold to Cannon Films.
That's right, kids. Santa Claus caused the death of Superman. How's that Christmassy feeling now?

David Huddleston in Santa Claus: The Movie
David Huddleston in Santa Claus: The Movie