How to explain the unusual 1959 feature from Mexico, wherein the Merriest Man on the Planet teams up with Merlin the Magician to defend the magic of Christmas against Ol’ Sparky, a/k/a the Devil — or, to be more accurate, his agent Pitch?
Well, for some reason, this film has its share of defenders. Recently, the website www.kgordonmurray.com was developed just for them, paying tribute as it does to the Miami-based entrepreneur who somehow acquired the U.S. rights to this strangely bizarre Santa Claus film from its Mexican-based producers. One would surmise that the all-Mexican cast and crew wanted to stress all the tenets associated with Mexico’s perceptions of good versus evil; God (personified here by Santa) versus Satan (or, as the English-language version calls him, Lucifer, King of Hades), again in the person of Pitch — Well, really, the whole thing was put together by people who simply had no clue as to Santa’s primary concepts!
Adding Merlin the Magician (direct from King Arthur’s Court) and giving him a special place in Santa’s heavenly castle might have worked wonders for the screenwriters, but purists of Camelot and its ilk will certainly ask what in thunder Merlin’s doing in a movie about Santa Claus. And what is all this business with magical flowers, and even magic cocktails anyway? The idea of getting drunk to be with the ones you love sounds a bit twisted in my book — but, as they say, to each his own.
Then we turn to Lupita, the little girl who seems obsessed with being good. OK, it’s good to want to be good, but even behaving positively can at times be taken to extremes, as we obviously see here. Pitch makes every effort to seduce her into doing bad things, but at this point it becomes clear that she will not be moved. One has to wonder why. Lucifer has, after all, threatened Pitch that if he fails in his mission against St. Nick, he’ll be fed chocolate ice cream (which is fun, but it doesn’t exactly classify as a so-called ‘punishment’.
Look, the bottom lime here is that this silly film is a laugh riot. How we giggle and guffaw at this film each time we view it is beyond analysis. Just enjoy the darn movie, and laugh yourself a merry (albeit bizarre) little Christmas. Now.