The writer and cartoonist known as Dr. Seuss has brightened the childhoods of thousands of people around the world with his children’s books and colorful characters. He was a storyteller with a unique and unmistakable visual language that ran through each of his works. His portfolio consists of over 60 books, which have sold millions of copies and been translated into over 20 languages. Among his most famous books are Horton hears a who!, The cat in the hat, Green eggs and hamand, of course, one of the most popular: How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
This 1957 book, written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss, features arguably his most beloved character: the grinch. He’s a grumpy, furry creature that lives atop Mount Crumpit, far from everyone in Whoville. The Grinch boasts that he has a heart that is too small, and so he spends his days complaining about everything around him except for his only friend, a little dog named Max. Then one day, sick and tired of the annual Whos cheer before Christmas, he decides to completely steal Christmas, but a little girl ends up teaching him a huge lesson. The story of this grumpy character has been adapted and explored in all kinds of productions over the years. Here’s a look at the three movies (so far) featuring the Grinch.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! was the first adaptation of the 1957 Dr. Seuss novel, made for television. This production, directed and co-produced by Chuck Jones, tells the classic story of the Grinch as he goes on a mission to ruin Christmas, and it aired on CBS in December 1966. Boris Karloff voiced this animated version of the Grinch and also served as narrator, alongside June Foray, Dallas McKennon and Thurl Ravenscroft. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! became a Christmas classic that remains relevant to this day, earning rave reviews from critics and a warm reception from audiences. Thanks to the huge success of this production, two more specials were released with more Grinch adventures. In 1977, ABC aired Halloween is Grinch night, which served as a prequel to the original film. Five years later, the network also aired The Grinch grins the cat in the hatwhich, in addition to featuring the Grinch, features another popular Dr. Seuss character.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Due to the enormous impact of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, a live-action version of the Grinch story was released in 2000. This production was directed by Ron Howard based on a screenplay by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman. Being live, the producers had to find a suitable actor to portray a character like the Grinch. Stars such as Jack Nicholson, Robin Williams, Tom Hanks, Eddie Murphy and Dustin Hoffman were considered, but the final choice to headline the production was Jim Carrey. Joining him in the cast were Taylor Momsen, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin, Molly Shannon and Anthony Hopkins as the story’s narrator. Although it was one of Carrey’s most memorable roles, it was a project that caused him a lot of stress: Due to the weight of the costume and the amount of prosthetics he had to wear, the actor had to the feeling of being buried alive, which made him extremely distressed. For this reason, and faced with the risk of having to shut down the project altogether, the producers hired a torture specialist who taught Carrey several techniques for dealing with the transformation and wearing the costume during filming (via Business Insider) . Luckily, Carrey was able to continue filming and the film turned out to be a hit, with her performance being highly praised. The film also became the second highest-grossing holiday movie of all time after Alone at homeuntil the third Grumpy movie has come to change everything.
The Grinch (2018)
The movie 2018 the grinch is, so far, the latest adaptation of the Dr. Seuss story. This is a computer-animated film produced by Illumination and directed by Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney. With worldwide revenue of $512 million, the grinch became the highest-grossing Christmas movie of all time (via Screen Rant), as well as the highest-grossing Dr. Seuss film adaptation. Illumination was no stranger to the tales of the writer and cartoonist, since a few years earlier they had released The Lorax, based on the book of the same name. The Grinch follows the same story as previous adaptations, but this time with the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch as the main character, alongside Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Cameron Seely, Angela Lansbury and Pharrell Williams, who serves as the narrator. Despite the massive success of this film at the box office, it was not so appreciated by critics: if the casting and the animation were acclaimed, many felt that this production was unjustified because it did not bring anything new to Grinch history.