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on December 11, 2010
The original Christmas special, as shown on television in the late sixties and seventies, and as produced on VHS in the eighties, was a tasteful gem, with a rare, austere beauty, evocative music and a raw, deep emotional core. Sadly, this DVD does not come close to the original viewing experience because so many critical audio bits were not transferred in the conversion process. Most of Aaron's animal friends' bleats and grunts are gone, even at the moment when the lamb is injured he's mute, the yelp has disappeared. And one of the most poignant lines in the special - "and when Aaron looked at the babe, he thought it was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen," has been altered, the original line, as delivered beautifully by narrator Greer Garson, is replaced, inexplicably, by actor Paul Frees. In the final moments of the production, the baby Jesus makes an adorably natural murmuring sound from manger but this CRITICAL sound too is GONE. Obviously, what's been sold a resoration is merely an earlier rough cut that does not contain all the audio refinements added prior to completion. Please fix this Rankin Bass!
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VINE VOICEon October 10, 2004
If you love the Rankin-Bass version of this classic story and don't have a copy, or simply want a copy in Spanish, go ahead and buy this DVD. It's a moving, lovely story. Otherwise, STEER CLEAR of this supposedly "restored" DVD. This is the same hideous copy of LITTLE DRUMMER BOY that they included as a "bonus" on the SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN' TO TOWN DVD and if I could give this stand-alone version zero stars I would.

This is one of my favorite Christmas specials and I can't believe they would release the story to DVD in such a shabby manner. My Broadway Video VHS tape is heads and shoulders above this awful version. The DVD video portion is full of dirt and flecks and is very dark and muddy in places. The entire musical background when Aaron sings "Why Can't The Animals Smile?" is MISSING. In another part of the story, a man's voice reads Greer Garson's narration. There are some wonderful video/audio editing tools available today. When LITTLE DRUMMER BOY shows up on local television stations at Christmastime these missing bits of the soundtrack ARE included and they're also on the videotape version. I can't believe some judicious editing couldn't incorporate those bits of soundtrack to the DVD version and the "restorers" couldn't clean up the picture some in the bargain. If they didn't have a complete print, why did they foist off this horrible copy on us as a "restored" version?

I am going to try to return this and look forward to seeing a complete DVD version if it is ever released. But for now I'm sticking to my COMPLETE videotape.
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on August 30, 1999
This video is not a sugary "warm-fuzzy". Instead, it deals with the reality of life, which is sometimes harsh. Life is not perfect, yet there is strength to be found in the perfect love of Jesus. I recommend it to parents who want their children to appreciate the true reason for CHRISTmas.
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on May 16, 2000
This is a FINE example of what Christmas is ALL ABOUT and not being too preachy. This is the story about Aaron, the Little Drummer Boy, who hates all people because his family was murdered by a group of Desert Thieves. Aaron is kidnapped by Ben Harmed, the greedy and crooked, self proclaimed "Kin of the Desert Showmen". (played superbly by Hosse' Ferrer) and his bubling assistant, Ollie. The story is told by Greer Garason, with a great air of dignanty. I cry every time I watch this story and there is good reason why (not tears of sadness, but tears of joy over the words of the African King about the Christ Child, because he is SO right!) This story was created by the GREAT Romeo Muller, who is the FINEST children's writer who EVER lived! You can't go wrong with a story writen by Romeo Muller. This one, in fact was his most favorite story that he ever wrote for Rankin/Bass Productions (his most favorite he EVER wrote was NOEL, which is also on video.) But I would HIGHLY recomend this film to anyone and everyone. It's VERY enjoyable and you and your family will love it.
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I love this movie and cry everytime I watch it. Perhaps it is too religious for some people, but not for me. After all, Christmas is the birth of Jesus, that's what it's all about.

This movie shows the tenderness of the Season, the reason for the Season and the love of God. I really think this is one DVD that everyone should own and watch every Christmas, if just to remember what it's all about.
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on December 9, 1999
I remember watching this at Christmas time for as long as I can remember - until they stopped showing it. Too Christ-oriented for Christmas I guess. I don't recall ever being all that frightened while watching it, but perhaps todays kids are more jumpy than my jaded gen x.
Now I'm 30, agnostic, realistic to the point of cynicism, and the bloated secularized and commercialized carcass of "the Holidays" only force-feeds my disappointment with how we all turned out. So I'm thrilled this vid - complete with its simple morals and even the itty bitty baby Jesus (at Christmas? Heaven forefend!), is still available. Even if the more outspoken members of the religious right have given you a reason to not believe, it's nice to see all the good little lessons - the value of each individual regardless of wealth and stature, the importance of giving of oneself, the power of elusive joy to nourish a broken will - trotted out so you can remember why you once did. And why it was worth it.
A few blobs of moving clay and an abundance of refreshing pollyanna-ish sentiment turn out to be a wonderful antitdote to the shallow good wishes through gritted teeth, the depression, the traffic and the crowds, and of course, the ringing of the register. Merry Christmas!
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on December 3, 1999
I was pleased to see this video when it first came out and I recommend it very much. I watched it with my sons, who were born in 1965 and 1966, all the years they were growing up. They are now fine parents themselves. I believe it expresses very well the true meaning of Christ-mas. The review from T. Liptak says it very well. It puts Christ back into Christmas where He belongs. It was and still is one of very few videos that tell what Christmas is about - the greatest gift of all to a sad and needy world - the gift of Christ, that's why we celebrate Christ-mas.
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on October 31, 2007
Visual quality grainy. Sound quality below average.

WHO CARES? When a Christmas special is this good, those things fall by the wayside. I remember watching this as a kid. I truly wish they made specials like this in this century. So much tinsel and Santa (both fine), but SO little substance...

This is a great, heartfelt story about a child finding the most important person and relationship any of us can find...Jesus.
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on November 20, 2005
This is a sweet story, about a poor little drummer boy who can only offer a gift of song to the baby Jesus. Even toddlers are quick to notice the stop-action animation and the distinctive soundtrack that was recorded by the Vienna Boys Choir. Our toddler called it "Camel" as he loved to see the dancing animals which of course included a dancing Camel.

The cast features voices you will recognize;

José Ferrer - Ben Haramed [Voice]
The Vienna Boys Choir
Paul H. Frees - [Voice]
Greer Garson - Storyteller [Voice]
Ted Eccles - [Voice]

Jules Bass ad Arthur Rankin, Jr. - Directed, Produced, and wrote this christmas classic.

BOTTOM LINE: A Christmas Classic for the whole family that never wears out!
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on December 18, 1999
How anyone could criticize this movie based on some anti-christianity theme is beyond me. This story is not only about Christ, it is about loyalty, perserverence and giving of oneself. Hopefully those who watch it, regardless of religion or nationality can get a better understanding of the true spirit of Christmas and humanity in general. My suggestion is to buy it and treasure it as one of the greatest children's Christmas classics.
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