Although it's now more of a curiosity and a quaint reminder of a time when movies possessed a quality of innocence that has long since vanished, The Great Rupert was something of a marvel when it was released in 1950. Pro... more »duced by special-effects pioneer George Pal, who had delighted audiences of the 1940s with his innovative series of Puppetoon shorts, this charming comedy employs Pal's technique of animated puppetry to bring life to the title character--a lovable trained squirrel that comes to the rescue of a down-and-out family of vaudeville performers in the depths of the Great Depression. Jimmy Durante leads the struggling clan, barely able to pay rent in a converted garage adjoining the home of a man who's been stockpiling lucrative investment dividends in the floorboard between the two homes. From his cubbyhole in the wall, resourceful Rupert has been tossing wads of $100 bills to Durante's wife, who thinks it's cash from heaven! Ol' Jimmy cracks wise with ancient puns and one-liners, making this a treat for Durante fans looking for squeaky-clean family entertainment. And once he's saved the day for all involved, furry-tailed Rupert goes back to his own vaudeville gig with his devoted owner, played by another veteran of vaudeville, Jimmy Conlin. It's all a bit too sweet by today's tarnished standards, but The Great Rupert stands as a testament to George Pal's optimistic spirit and creative imagination, which would later bless the productions of such films as The Time Machine and The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao. --Jeff Shannon« less
Re-discover this Wonderful Jimmy Durante Christmas Film
JPL | California | 09/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A Christmas Wish is a heartwarming holiday classic that truly captures the magic of Christmas. This well-written film combines a genial underdog (Durante) whom you can't help rooting for, an inspiring tale of young love, unforgettable comedy bits by Durante, and an irresistible guardian angel who saves Christmas.
The film has a touching love story between Terry Moore (Mighty Joe Young) and Tom Drake (Meet Me in St. Louis). Rupert the Squirrel (created using George Pal's Academy Award winning puppet animation technique) will charm young and old alike. Jimmy Durante shines when he sings Jingle Bells and other Christmas Carols.
Originally titled "The Great Rupert", this film has been restored perfectly and is being released in color for the first time. It looks absolutely beautiful. There also is an engaging special DVD commentary by star Terry Moore (secret wife of Howard Hughes). If you've already seen It's a Wonderful Life and are looking for something charming and new for Christmas, this is a great choice."
Very Mild Mannered and Entirely Inoffensive
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 11/14/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When a slightly miserly landlord takes to hiding his savings he inadverdently intrudes into a squirrel's nest--which wastes no time in shoving the money out of his nest and into the hands of the down-on-their-luck Amendola family, who rent an apartment below. Originally released under the title of THE GREAT RUPERT, in 1950 the film was primarily admired for its then-artful blend of live action and puppet animation to create Rupert, the squirrel; today, however, it is best regarded as a very mild mannered and entirely inoffensive little movie that just happens to offer the legendary Jimmy Durante one of his final film roles.
The script and story are as memorable as school cafeteria banana pudding, but the performances are reasonably engaging. As head of Amendola family, Durante is brash is only Durante could be, doing doubletakes and pounding out an occasional tune on the piano in his unique style. He is well supported by the likes of Terry Moore, Tom Drake, and such veteran character actors as Queenie Smith, Frank Orth, Sara Haden, and Jimmy Conlin. It's all in good fun.
The 20th Century Fox release consists of two versions of the film: the original black and white and a colorized version. There is nothing visually impressive about the film, so it is not hurt by colorization per se; as for the colorization, it is reasonably well done, at least so far as such effects go. Most astonishingly, the release includes a commentary track by Terry Moore and various people associated with the colorization and the DVD release.
The commentary track is not tremendously informative; Moore freely admits that she had seen the film only once before, and that some fifteen years earlier. Even so, Moore proves good company, offers the occasional insight into the cast, and now and then proves unwittingly amusing--with her comments on actor Tom Drake, who was both gay and deeply closeted, a case in point. On the whole, I'd say the commentary is actually more engaging than the film itself, but whatever the case Durante fans, Moore fans, and those in search of truly innocent family fare should find it pleasing.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer"
Can't wait for the release!
Gary F. Taylor | 10/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I often watched this movie on Christmas with my children and more recently with my young grandchildren because it touches the very essence of the Christmas season. I've always loved Terry Moore from her serious and not so serious movies (especially Mighty Joe Young) and of course Jimmy Durante is a clown that everyone loved and loves.I personally feel The Great Rupert should have been produced originally in color and released as a Christmas movie. I'm so I'm so happy to learn it is now considered a Christmas classic and is available in color. Can't wait to see it in color and listen to Terry's commentary."
Lost Christmas Classic!
Movie Nut | New York USA | 06/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't recall ever seeing this movie but based on the reviews and the fact that I love Jimmy Durante, I bought it. Well, I was more than pleased that I purchased it for my collection. What an delightful film! I found myself laughing out loud so many times that my kids finally came in and sat down to watch it too- The actors are wonderful and as always... Jimmy steals the show!!! I consider myself somewhat of a 'movie buff' and I never heard of this film before so the same may go for many of you, but take a chance and get this wonderful film- Great for the whole family and not just at the holiday season, but all year long!"
The Great Rupert?a must-see, must-buy DVD
Alan R. Applegate | Roswell, NM United States | 08/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a really delightful picture directed by Irving Pichel, and staring the unflappable Jimmy Durante. Although George Pal's puppetoon technique is dated by today's standards, kids old and young alike will enjoy this picture. I was 10 years old when I first saw The Great Rupert in 1950 at the old Warwick theater in Kansas City, Missouri. It brought a tear or two of nostalgia, and the thought-why don't they make fun movies like this today? My hat's off to Arnold Leibovit for bringing us one of the best DVD transfers you'll ever see."