"A Christmas Story" is based on the novel "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash" by humorist Jean Shepherd. It is a whimsical and slightly twisted tribute to the traditional all-American Christmas. Set in Indiana during the 1940s, the film follows the adventures of nine-year-old Ralphie Parker (Billingsley) as he pursues his happiness in the form of a genuine Red Ryder Two Hundred Shot Range Model Air Rifle. (Gary Reber)
Most of the special features can be found on the DVD reviewed in Issue 79 (audio commentary by Actor Peter Billingsley and Director Bob Clark, a semi-hidden script of a deleted scene, the theatrical trailer, a 19-minute interview-laden (with the director and the kids in the movie) "Another Christmas Story," a fun five-minute history on the "Daisy Red Ryder," and a humorous five-minute look at the making-of the leg lamp.) There is also a Leg Lamp spot.
Both the 1.78:1 Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD image is often shrouded by a hazy glow and details are often too soft. Colors are desaturated, and blacks are more a milky gray. Differences between the two versions are not recognizable. (Danny Richelieu)
The Blu-ray Disc's Dolby® Digital "1.0-channel" mono soundtrack is actually 1.1 channels, with the LFE channel receiving a very, very low-level copy of the center channel up to around 500 Hz. Fidelity is limited, and distortion is noticeable. The HD DVD's Dolby Digital Plus 1.0-channel encoding is properly produced, but is also slightly more revealing of the soundtrack's many anomalies. (Danny Richelieu)