Il Natale che quasi non fu is a 1966 Italian-American Christmas musical movie, produced and released by Childhood Productions Inc. It was released in English worldwide as The Christmas That Almost Wasn't. It is based on the book of the same name written by Paul Tripp, who also adapted the book to film and starred as Sam Whipple. It was directed by Rossano Brazzi, who also plays Phineas T. Prune.


Santa Claus finds himself is in serious trouble, as the zillionaire industrialist Phineas T. Prune purchased the entire North Pole and plans to evict him and Mrs. Claus from their home because they can't pay their rent by midnight Christmas Eve (December 23/24th) or there will be no Christmas. So Santa seeks the aid of Sam Whipple. Sam, a struggling Attorney, wants to help. He accompanies Santa to Prune's house, and when the man who hates children is not at home, Santa tells Sam that Prune must have gone to the North Pole. They take off with a swish of Santa's sleigh.

At home, Mrs. Claus is busy with Santa's seven dwarf helpers trying to finish work on toys. Santa's bookkeeper, Jonathan, supervises as they all worry about Mr. Prune. Santa & Sam arrive, followed shortly by Mr. Prune, who demands the rent and refuses to listen to Sam's pleas. Insisting he was never a child himself, he sings "I'm good at being bad," and leaves.

Santa, wanting to discover the reason for Prune's mean behavior, asks Jonathan to search the records for a child named Phineas T. Prune. Meanwhile, Sam decides Satna needs an ordinary job to make enough money by the deadline - now only a few days off - to pay the rent. Sam has a great idea! He sells Mr. Prim, owner of Prim's Department Store on the idea of having Santa appear in the store as himself to chat with children and pass out free balloons. Crowds of parents and children of all ages fill the store. The venture is a great success, and the first department-store Santa is in does heavy business.

Suddenly, on Christmas Eve, the store becomes empty, and Santa discovers that Prune has bought the store from Prim and put him out of a job. Once again, Santa & Sam, alone in the town square, are disheartened, certain that there will be no Christmas that year and that little children will be terribly unhappy. A small boy recognizes Santa and Sam and greets them. When he is told about Santa's problem, the boy rushes around the square shouting to children that Santa is in trouble and needs money. Amidst a snowfall the children of the world come running to bring their pennies to help Santa.

Back at the North Pole, Mr. Prune arrives to take over, but just at the crucial moment, Santa and Sam rush in with huge sacks of coins, which they give to Prune. Santa has won! Santa & Sam then quickly load the sleigh with gifts for Christmas Eve delivery, and streak though the sky. As they prepare to deliver the last present, a package Jonathan had handed them just before they left, they discover the present is for Mr. Prune. Santa & Sam enter Prune's old house to give him the present. It is a sailboat, which he had asked for when he was five years old, but the postcard had been lost all these years. Prune regains his faith in Christmas and everyone is filled with happiness.

Original songs

Written by Ray Carter and Paul Tripp


Actor/actress Character(s)
Paul Tripp Sam Whipple
Lidia Brazzi Mrs. Claus
Alberto Rabagliati Santa Claus
Sonny Fox Mr. Prim
Mischa Auer Jonathan (Elf Foreman)
John Karlsen Blossom
Valentino Macchi
Salvatore Furnari
Antonio De Martino
Gaetano Guacci
Adriano Cornelli
Francesco Doria
Fabrizio Arnaldo
Imperato Domenico
Rossano Brazzi Phineas T. Prune
Ruth Enders
John Howell Jr. Boy (Who Saved Christmas)
David Tripp David
Friedrich von Ledebur
Michel Yellen Little Girl

External links

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