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The Original Christmas Classics Gift Set Blu-ray

United States
Best Buy Exclusive / Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer / Frosty the Snowman / Santa Claus is Comin' to Town / Frosty Returns / Blu-ray + CD Classic Media | 1964-1970 | 4 Movies | 168 min | Not rated | Oct 12, 2010

The Original Christmas Classics Gift Set (Blu-ray)

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: see individual releases
Original aspect ratio: 1.33:1

English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono

See individual releases

25GB Blu-ray Disc
Four-disc set (3 BDs, 1 CD)

Slipcover in original pressing

Region A (C untested)

List price: $29.93, Price history

Amazon: $19.95 (Save 33%)
Best Buy: $24.99 (Save 17%)  

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You save $13.05 by buying this box set instead of the individual titles.



Blu-ray rating
Video 3.9 of 53.9
Audio 3.7 of 53.7
Extras 1.5 of 51.5
Based on 3 user reviews

Movie appeal


The Original Christmas Classics Gift Set

 (TV) (1964-1970)

The Original Christmas Classics Gift Set Blu-ray offers solid video and audio in this overall recommended Blu-ray release

See individual titles for their synopses.

Three-disc set includes "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (1964), "Frosty the Snowman" (1969) and "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" (1970). "Frosty Returns" (1992) is available as a bonus feature as well, albeit presented in standard definition with lossy audio.

For more about The Original Christmas Classics Gift Set and the The Original Christmas Classics Gift Set Blu-ray release, see the The Original Christmas Classics Gift Set Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.

Starring: Paul Frees, Burl Ives, Billy De Wolfe, Mickey Rooney, Stan Francis, Keenan Wynn
Narrators: Jimmy Durante, Fred Astaire
Directors: Arthur Rankin, Jr., Jules Bass

This Blu-ray bundle includes the following titles, see individual titles for specs and details:


The Original Christmas Classics Gift Set Blu-ray, Video Quality

  3.5 of 5

Of the three 1080p/AVC-encoded transfers in the Christmas Classics Gift Set, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer's polished presentation fares the best. While not as crisp or fittingly grainy as Warner's impressive lineup of holiday special releases (A Charlie Brown Christmas and The Year Without a Santa Claus among them), the Blu-ray edition of Rudolph still thoroughly trumps every DVD to date and, minor issues notwithstanding, weathers the film's forty-six years well. Colors are sublimely saturated, Santa-suit reds and snow-brushed evergreens are delightful, black levels are spot on and contrast is warm and pleasing throughout. Detail is revealing as well (despite the prevailing softness that permeates the source and some slight noise reduction used to occasionally tame the special's grain). Closeups of the Rankin/Bass models look great -- individual hairs, the texture of Sam's face and beard, the fibers in Hermey and his supervisor's jackets, the Bumble's wily fur and a number of other elements look fantastic -- and wider shots don't suffer at the hands of any egregious problems. Artifacting, banding, aliasing and other anomalies are nowhere to be found, print blemishes are kept to a workable minimum and the whole of the presentation is well worth the cost of admission.

The biggest point of contention is Rudolph's color timing. Yukon Cornelius' wooly coat, for years a bright blue, is suddenly, undeniably, unabashedly green. It isn't a deal breaker by any means, and it may very well be in line with the original source, but it took a few minutes to overwrite years of nostalgia. It's worth noting that the various Yukon Cornelius toys, stuffed dolls and merchandising tie-ins over the years have all sported a blue coat, making this an obvious distraction that may give Rudolph purists pause. Regardless, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has never looked better and -- unless a larger studio acquires its rights and invests considerable funds into a complete restoration -- probably never will.

Unfortunately, Frosty the Snowman's transfer is the runt of the Christmas Classics remastered litter. It too looks significantly better than its various broadcast and DVD incarnations -- its animated palette is brighter and bolder, its lineart sharper, its blacks deeper, its print blemishes more contained and its presentation more proficient than ever before -- but several oddities are sure to raise red flags. Pulldown irregularities produce brief bursts of horizontal lines (small patches of white stripes that flicker along the edges of characters during quick movements), color fills are a bit unstable and prone to arguably negligible blocking, minor banding is apparent from time to time and the special's grain has been subdued with a measured application of noise reduction. It isn't overly disappointing, but it is less than ideal. Compared to Warner's treatment of the Charlie Brown holiday specials (whose source materials are also fairly soft), Frosty's finer qualities simply aren't as distinct or distinguished as they could be. Don't get me wrong, Classic Media has paid remarkable respect to the 1969 television special's humble roots, but a fuller overhaul would have resulted in a less problematic presentation.

Santa Claus is Comin' To Town falls somewhere in between. Like Rudolph, its colors are lovely, its shadows are dark and organic, its closeups highlight the hand-stitched care that went into each Rankin/Bass doll and the high definition encode, more often than not, doesn't stumble. Details emerge that I've never noticed before and the meticulously crafted North Pole set pieces shine in all their homespun glory. The film may be rapidly approaching its fortieth birthday, but Classic Media has rendered concerns about its age moot. However, like Frosty, a few lingering technical issues undermine its integrity. Errant pulldown mishaps sometimes spoil the fun (although not nearly as often as they do in Frosty), faint artifacts pop up here and there, Santa's surviving grain is still a bit soupy compared to similar Warner releases from the same era, and print damage is a tad more intrusive than it is in the other Christmas Classics specials.

While I doubt anyone will make too much of a fuss over the three presentations in this collection -- particularly Rudolph's -- the transfers aren't as immune to criticism as they could be. Would Warner have produced more reliable encodes? Probably. Would it have made a significant difference? Probably not. Those with larger displays and trained eyes will grumble more than others, but even the most hardened videophiles will shrug off each fault in an effort to reconnect with their childhoods. All told, the Christmas Classics Gift Set, imperfect as it may be, deserves to find its way onto many a holiday wish list.

The Original Christmas Classics Gift Set Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  3.5 of 5

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus is Comin' to Town charms with comparable, entirely competent Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround tracks. They aren't transformative, they aren't invigorating sonic standouts. No, these are simply faithful, consistent, surefire mixes that do a commendable job rejuvenating each Rankin/Bass classic. From the outset, the biggest complaint audiophiles will have concerns the lack of rear speaker activity. Small touches and wintry flourishes are present, but not exactly engaging or enveloping. Faint ambience and tempered soundtrack support is appreciated, but rarely involving. Be that as it may, I'll take three somewhat flat television remixes (that originated in the '60s and '70s, mind you) over three flashy but superficial 5.1 misfires any day of the week. Directionality is non-existent as well, but again, it hardly matters. Likewise, voices don't sound as if they were recorded yesterday, but it would take a Christmas miracle to get anything more out of each film's original elements. If you hadn't guessed it, approaching each special with appropriate expectations is key.

That's not to suggest Rudolph, Frosty or Santa set their bars low. Dialogue is relatively clean, clear and decently prioritized, and only a hint of unfortunate noise and hiss creeps into the mixes. Sound effects, music and lyrics are festive and fulfilling, and nary a melody goes by that doesn't resonate (if not in the ear, at least in the soul). Low-end support is primarily reserved for more aggressive sequences -- Rudolph's abominable attacks and Santa Claus' more harrowing scenes take welcome advantage of the LFE channel -- but still lends just enough weight and heft to each film to make its lossless presence known. Rudolph, Frosty and Santa Claus sound like products of the '60s, sure. But they've never sounded better than they do here. Frankly, I seriously doubt they ever will.

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