Mrs. Santa Claus,
directed by Terry Hughes
(Corymore, 1996)

Looking for a Christmas musical? Angela Landsbury puts her vocal skills to use in the spotlight role of Mrs. Santa Claus.

In 1910, Mrs. Santa Claus (Angela Landsbury) is feeling unappreciated and ignored. The elves have finished their work a week before Christmas and Anna Claus has nothing to occupy her time. She decides to test a new route around the world that should save Santa time.

A thunderstorm forces Mrs. Claus to land in Manhattan, but Cupid injures his leg and will not be able to fly for several days. Mrs. Claus adopts the alias "Mrs. North" and rents a room, but has to get a job to pay the rent. She immediately aligns herself with Sadie (Debra Wiseman), the daughter of the boarding house owner. Sadie is an outspoken activist for women's suffrage and Mrs. Claus could not agree more.

Mrs. Claus goes to work as the supervisor at Tavish Toy Co., which is run by the evil Augustus Tavish (Terrence Mann), who employs only children. Tavish's motto is, "They only have to last until Christmas." He uses cheap materials, the toys are defective and there is no heat in the building. Mrs. Claus starts rocking the boat. She engineers a work slowdown and complains about quality, which gets her in big trouble.

Meanwhile, two days pass before Santa (Charles Durning) misses his wife and becomes worried. Without the sleigh and reindeer, he cannot deliver the toys. He has to find her.

The sets and costumes in this film are beautiful beyond belief! The horse-drawn fire engine is breathtaking. This movie is so visually stunning that you need to watch it the first time for the story and the second time for the details.

Although not usually a strong fan of musicals, I adored the music and singing in this one. It is one of the best I have found, which may explain why it won a Primetime Emmy and received several other nominations. The songs are ideal and so is the timing of the songs. The voices are strong and the harmony is awesome.

Mrs. Santa Claus has taken some hits for the storyline, but the complaints have been from male reviewers. But whether you agree with the politics of the film or not, you still have to give it credit as a strong story and a magnificent musical. As a family film, it is outstanding!

review by
Alicia Karen Elkins

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