The Leprechauns' Christmas Gold Review Picture


Well, it's about that time of year again. Time to put on your shamrocks, drink green beer, and chase around leprechauns and rainbows. So here's a leprechaun flick to get us in the stupid holiday mood. In 1981, Rankin/Bass released this short holiday special entitled, "The Leprechauns' Christmas Gold". Now as much as I love Rankin/Bass films I do have to criticize them for contributing to the over-commercialization of the holidays; as they created a special for nearly every holiday on the damn calendar. However this movie takes the cake when it comes to shameless exploitation. This movie not only exploits the Christmas season but more so takes advantage of Irish heritage by exploiting St. Patrick's Day and Irish folklore.

The plot of this movie honestly has so little to do with Christmas, they might as well as marketed it exclusively as a St. Patty's Day special and left the Christmas part out of it, but nevertheless the story of this film follows a young cabin boy named Dinty Doyle as he unwittingly gets himself caught up in a century-old conflict between a broken family of leprechauns and a wicked banshee who needs to steal the leprechauns' gold before Christmas so she doesn't turn into tears.

Well, as this is a short holiday special that was clearly made to exploit the holidays I don't expect much significance or overwhelming creativity, and I find myself to be correct in my low expectations. This movie's pretty cliche and full of Irish stereotypes (which should come as no surprise). In fact, about the only stereotype missing from this flick is a drunk Irishman...which I suspect is only because this was meant for kids. Like most fantasy films depicting Ireland and Irish folklore the two primary races depicted are leprechauns and a banshee, and also like most fantasy films relating to Ireland the banshee is the villain while the leprechauns are the good guys. Pretty standard, pretty cliche, and like most Rankin/Bass specials the power of goodwill and faith triumphants over evil because...reasons.

There are a couple of issues I find with this story (beyond the obvious). The main thing was how they tried to rewrite the mythology regarding leprechauns and fairies. First of all, from what I've read and come to understand about leprechauns, they are supposed to be miserly shoemakers, but I don't remember anything about them mining gold. Seems like the writers got leprechauns confused with dwarves. The other part of this story which was clearly made up for the sake of the plot is the part about banshees needing gold before Christmas lest they turn into salty tears. I certainly don't remember reading anything about that in the myths, and though I don't much agree with it myself, the part where the banshee pretends to be Blarney's wife's guardian angel is bogus too as according to the myths leprechauns and fairies don't have souls and therefore would not have guardian angels...or have access to anything heavenly for that matter. Of course the biggest slap in the face this movie delivers to the mythology AND real-world history is portraying St. Patrick as "the Lord of the Leprechauns"! That's actually an insult to both Christian and Pagan faiths, as being a Catholic priest (who was not at all Irish, by the way) the very idea of leprechauns would be regarded as blasphemous and unholy to St. Patrick and given that leprechauns are part of Pagan faith, there are many pagans (Irish and otherwise) who would find the depiction of St. Patrick with dominion over ANY part of the fairy race everything from laughable to insulting.

All in all, I will admit that I do find this film mildly entertaining, though most of the enjoyment I derive from the obvious silliness inherent to the blatant commercialism pandering to two different holidays in order to exploit a larger target demographic...just like "The Nightmare Before Christmas".
Continue Reading: The Myths