Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Danny Kaye, Casey Kasem,Vincent Price, Paul Frees, Joan Gardner
Director: Jules Bass & Arthur Rankin Jr.
Series: a Rankin/Bass Movie
Release Date: 4 April 1971
Length: 60 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: Streaming on Computer
My Rating: 4/5 stars
“April Valley is home to many rabbits, but only one can be Chief Easter Bunny. With his charm and spirit, Peter Cottontail (voiced by Casey Kasem) is a shoo-in for the job – if he delivers the most eggs on the appointed morning. It won’t be easy, though, when evil January Q. Irontail (the inimitable Vincent Price) causes Peter to sleep through his alarm in this stop-motion classic narrated by kindly dye maker Seymour S. Sassafras (Danny Kaye).” — Netflix.com
This is another adorable Rankin/Bass Easter feature. It is based on the book The Easter Bunny that Overslept and is a fun adventure for children to watch around the Easter holiday. The best part about this movie is that Peter Cottontail ends up traveling back in time and visiting the biggest holidays of the year while trying to beat the evil Iron-tail in handing out the most Easter eggs so that he can become the new Chief Easter Bunny. We visit Mother’s Day, the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day & St. Patrick’s Day so you can watch this movie anytime throughout the year and be close to a holiday that is featured in this cute little special. While April Valley, which is the home of all of the Easter bunnies, is the focus of the beginning and end of the movie, the rest of the movie takes place where the other holidays live. I thought this was a really neat aspect of this movie as Rankin & Bass have such a unique style of filming their holiday specials with the stop-motion animation that it was fun to see a lot of the other holidays that they haven’t created specials for such as Halloween, 4th of July, etc.
I was really impressed with the big name stars that do the voiceovers for this adorable movie. Danny Kaye is one of my favorite actors and it was wonderful to hear his voice narrating the film, as well as starring as a cute little caterpillar who is trying to help Peter. He is such a talented actor, but he did not make very many films so it is always a delight to discover him in something new. Vincent Price is fantastic in his role as the evil villain and I am sure he had a lot of fun in this role. His voice is very distinctive so I could see his face in my mind while I was watching the movie and kind of guess at his facial expressions while he was creating the voice for Iron-Tail. I was pretty surprised to see that Casey Kasem was doing voiceover work this far back, but I guess he is older than I thought! He plays the voice of Peter Cottontail and does a perfect job as his voice suits the silly Peter very well. The music is fun and the scenes are colorful and fast-paced so children will definitely be entertained! I also appreciate the fact that Rankin & Bass tried to put in a little lesson about telling the truth in the movie as Peter tries to win by telling lies, but finds he is most successful when he tells the truth. This is an great addition to your holiday library.
This movie is appropriate for viewers of all ages.