I’m digging very deep into the archives of my brain to talk about this one since it’s been about 25 years since I’ve seen it. This movie was screened for my class at Christmas all the way back when I was in Grade Two, but there were things about it that have managed to remain embedded in my memory ever since. I had to do some Internet research many years later to try and remember what the name of this film was and I discovered it was a 1984 French musical called Here Comes Santa Claus, which was dubbed into English for release over here (so this was probably my earliest introduction to the weird sight of words not matching an actor’s mouth). Anyway, the plot of this bizarre oddity involves a brother and sister whose parents are captured and held as political prisoners by a group of mercenary rebels in Africa. When they write a letter to Santa Claus saying they don’t want any toys and that all they want for Christmas this year is for Mom and Dad to come home, Santa is so moved that he brings the kids to his workshop at the North Pole and embarks on a trip to Africa to rescue their parents. Unfortunately, Santa also winds up being captured by the rebels, but a bunch of African children who still believe in the magic of Santa Claus conspire to help Santa and the parents escape. Other weird things in this film which have stayed with me all these years include a scary ogre who lives at the North Pole and tries to eat the children, and Santa getting into a fight with a crocodile while crossing an African river!
No, I am not making any of this up! This gives you an idea of how much more liberal our public school system used to be if they screened a demented movie like this for kids in Grade Two! As you can imagine, video clips of Here Comes Santa Claus are hard to come by these days, but I managed to find this ten-minute segment of the kids arriving in Finland on a plane, where they decide to hike to the North Pole and wind up at Santa’s house. Sadly, the “Santa vs. Crocodile” footage has eluded my grasp thus far.