31 December 2005 | whaddycall
Nice, but Flawed
Shower of Stars' presentation of "A Christmas Carol" won an Emmy in 1954 for Best Art Direction in a Taped Program and was nominated for three others (Best Actor Single Performance - March, Best Individual Program, and Best Original Music - Herrmann). A DVD of the performance is available through PassportDVD.com.
March does a fine job with the material, even in a couple of strangely static musical interludes--after Marley's ghost exits and when Tiny Tim insists on singing his Christmas song for Scrooge at the dinner table. Those moments could have received better treatment. Yes, March's nose is augmented; but this is a typical opera stage convention for crotchety characters of any ethnicity. It's not too terribly distracting.
The music is drop-dead gorgeous. Bernard Herrmann wrote some of the most hauntingly beautiful music ever heard at the movies. This presentation is no exception.
A few flaws... Ray Middleton's performance is a bit over the top as Fred. The "Very Merry Christmas" song goes on forever when it's introduced by the Ghost of Christmas Present. The ending is not very strong; the 2.5 minute "Bless Us Everyone" song at the finale is accompanied only by one loooooooooooong closeup of March reacting to what he hears. The director could have used this song to much better effect.
Overall, "A Christmas Carol" is a very enjoyable Christmas treat! I wish there were a copy of it in it's original color presentation.