Carol for Another Christmas (1964)

Article 2959 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-14-2009
Posting Date: 9-20-2009
Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Featuring Sterling Hayden, Ben Gazzara, Steve Lawrence
Country: USA

A wealthy isolationist is bitter over the loss of his son in the war, and has chosen to politically and personally detach himself from the world. However, on Christmas Eve, he is visited by three ghosts that seek to have him re-explore his life.

Rod Serling was a great writer. He was also given to preachiness, which makes some of his work a little difficult to sit through. In this, his updated revamp of Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol”, he’s got a message, and those who don’t want to hear what he has to say will find this one tough going. However, for me, he’s a good enough writer that I’m willing to listen to what he has to say, especially when the vehicle he uses to say it is impeccably directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and features an impressive cast that features Sterling Hayden, Eva Marie Saint, Ben Gazzara, Steve Lawrence, Pat Hingle and Britt Ekland, with special kudos to Robert Shaw and Peter Sellers in their respective roles. The message is quite relevant to the modern world; in the age of airplanes, radio, satellites and nuclear war, we can no longer embrace a policy of isolationism (either politically or as an individual) and hope to survive, and Serling argues the point very well through his various mouthpieces. It’s talky, all right, but the talk is intelligent and engaging, and the performances add to enjoyment here. And, lest we forget, it is relevant to Christmas as well, as it is the time for “goodwill to all men”. This is one of the better “loose” adaptations of the Dickens story out there.

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