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Minnelli and Ritchard make merry music in charming Christmas classic

  • Jul 21, 2010
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Whether it's black and white or the original colour format, I'll take THE DANGEROUS CHRISTMAS OF RED RIDING HOOD however I can. This charming time capsule from the golden age of TV musical extravaganzas stars Liza Minnelli in the title role, plus Cyril Ritchard as the Wolf.

So, you think you know the tale of Red Riding Hood, the helpless young moppet who strayed from her path only to wind up in the belly of a hungry Wolf? Think again! The Big Bad Wolf is neither big nor particuarly bad, and would like to properly explain HIS side of the fairytale - and it's clearly not entirely the way that Little Red would have you believe...

1965 was a banner year for Liza Minnelli. She had just wowed Broadway in the short-lived "Flora the Red Menace" (for which she'd receive a Tony Award) and her vocal talents were in peak force. No stranger to musicals either on Broadway or TV, Cyril Ritchard had appeared several times as Captain Hook in Mary Martin's "Peter Pan", and also starred in Cole Porter's TV musical production of "Aladdin".

Composer Jule Styne and lyricist Bob Merrill (also represented on Broadway with "Funny Girl" that same year) furnished the score of DANGEROUS CHRISTMAS... with some enchanting pieces for Minnelli ("My Red Riding Hood", "I'm Naive"). Vic Damone, Marlene Dell, Bette Henritze and The Animals co-star.

This DVD presents a well-worn (but still very watchable) B&W print of the show; it was originally broadcast in full colour but, like I mentioned above, I'll take this musical however I can! The original soundtrack album is included as an extra (accessible on DVD players only). Ideally I'd like to see the album reissued on CD one day. It's a really fun show; Minnelli fans in particular will especially enjoy it.

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About the reviewer
Byron Kolln ()
Ranked #147
Byron has been actively involved in theatre since the age of 12. He has had a great variety of roles (both on-stage and off). In addition he has hosted the long-running "Show Business" programme … more
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The delightful original musical comedy special, The Dangerous Christmas Of Red Riding Hood or Oh Wolf, Poor Wolf was presented by General Electric Company on television for the first time on November 28, 1965 on the ABC Television Network. With music com
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Studio: Jef Films
DVD Release Date: October 30, 2007

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