A Christmas Dream (1946)

A Christmas Dream (1946)
aka Vanocni sen
Article 5769 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-12-2020
Directed by Karel Zeman
Cast unknown
Country: Czechoslovakia
What it is: Christmas whimsy

Dazzled by a new set of toys sitting under her Christmas tree, a little girl tosses away her old ragged doll in favor of new toys. That night, Santa decides to help the discarded toy regain the love of the girl by having the girl have a dream about the doll.

From what I gather, the scenes with Santa Claus were not present in the original short, but he really plays only a minor role in the proceedings, and the true spirit of the short (the animated capering of the doll) is the main attraction here. And it is a delightful little short. Furthermore, it was the first work from Czech director Karel Zeman, who would give us some of the most magical special effects movies of the sixties, so that makes it of historical interest as well. Sure, it’s a bit slight, but for a directorial debut, it’s a triumph. My favorite moment is when the doll turns a fan on a picture of a ship on the ocean, which causes the ship to sail through a storm; it’s the kind of mixed special effect magic I’d expect from Zeman.


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