Monday, December 24, 2012

Carol for Another Christmas (1964)

Carol for Another Christmas
I am a big fan of the Twilight Zone, and while it is Rod Serling's most famous creation, he also did a lot of other writing for TV and film. Carol for Another Christmas was written by Rod Serling and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve, Cleopatra, and Sleuth, among other films). This 1964 TV movie special was produced by the Xerox Corporation to promote the United Nations and is a modern re-telling of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.
As a version of A Christmas Carol it is quite different than most I've seen. While we still have the three ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future and the Scrooge character (named Daniel Grudge) played by Sterling Hayden, there is no Jacob Marley or Tiny Tim. Instead Grudge has some live-in servants and a son who died in the war. As a Rod Serling fan this certainly feels like an extended Twilight Zone episode. Unfortunately it is too preachy at times, probably because it was made for the United Nations. Still it is an well made and interesting to watch as a product of its era, especially since it hadn't aired in 48 years before being shown on TCM this December.
Besides Sterling Hayden, the cast includes Peter Sellers (who would star in Dr. Strangelove with Hayden which also came out in 1964), Pat Hingle, Ben Gazzara, and Eva Marie Saint.

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