Carol for Another Christmas (1964)

TV Movie   |    |  Drama, Fantasy

Carol for Another Christmas (1964) Poster

Daniel Grudge, a wealthy industrialist and fierce isolationist long embittered by the loss of his son in World War II, is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve who lead him to reconsider his attitude toward his fellow man.


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27 December 2018 | AlsExGal
| Probably culturally significant BUT...
... like a typical Ayn Rand novel, it tries to solve a problem that does not exist. This is a redoing of the Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol", but this time it is a wealthy industrialist, Mr. Grudge (Sterling Hayden) who is supposed to be the stand-in Mr. Scrooge, in need of a lesson about loving mankind.

But it comes out in the first conversation with Grudge's nephew, Fred (Ben Gazzara), that Grudge is a patriot AND an isolationist...even in respect to WWII! People did feel that way about WWI after it was over, and there are even tons of anti-war and isolationist American films made up to 1940, but that was a very unusual even extremist position for any American to have about WWII once it began. Plus Grudge actually fought in that war, as we see in the "Christmas Past" episode. We also learn that "Marley", in this Christmas Carol tale, is Grudge's son who was killed in a war in a foreign land, and is largely the reason for Grudge's isolationism. What war? For Marley to have been killed in WWII, 20 years before, Grudge would have to be old enough to have a son at least 40 years old, and Sterling Hayden just does not look that old! In fact he was 48 himself when this was made.

The last part, about "Christmas Future", has Peter Sellers doing a bizarre part as some kind of evangelist of selfishness, and the performance itself is worth the price of admission, but in context it just does not make sense.

Even though this whole thing is a bit of a mess - including insinuating that we should just trust the Communists in eastern Europe and Russia at the time in spite of their past actions - it is a product of a huge fear of nuclear war in 1964 and that this war might start even accidentally. For that purpose this is worth watching to get a feel for what people feared and what they thought were the solutions, even if as a dramatic piece this comes across as overly talkie and very preachy.

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