Carol for Another Christmas (1964)

Percy Rodrigues, Sterling Hayden, Ben Gazzara, Barbara Ann Teer,
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.
  • 6.5 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2022-09-25 Added:
  • Rod Serling, Charles Dickens, Writer:
  • Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Director:
  • Producer:

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8 / 10

The Gospel of Me

Carol For Christmas is about 20 years behind the time when it was presented on TV in 1964. It would have had far more appeal had television been available in 1944.

Industrial tycoon Sterling Hayden is bitter at the world because his son Marley died in World War II. He's the last of the isolationists and wants no foreign involvement anywhere period including humanitarian aid.

The error of his ways is told to him by those spirits of Christmas past, present and future. And if you know the Dickens story and how many in the English speaking world have never heard of it than you pretty much know what the story is.

If this had been done in 1944 when Hayden's son was killed, a lot of people invested their hopes and dreams in a new world organization to come, the planning of which was undertaken even while the guns were still blazing in battle. The story would have resonated well with World War II audiences.

As it is coming out in 1964 before the troop escalation in Vietnam the film came out under the wire. Five years later, ten years later, it would have met with derision from Vietnam era audiences. The message still has problems today with the issues surrounding globalization.

However one portion of it rings very true for what has been determined to be the 'Me' generation. How prescient were the writers in creating Peter Sellers's character of 'Me' the symbol of the ugly American who believes in selfishness and divisiveness. Just grab what you can, whenever you can and if some in the world don't have as much, too bad. Not to mention if they protest, kill them. This part of Carol For Christmas was as prophetic as Network in its way.

I caught this over the Christmas holiday, make sure if you haven't seen it, catch it next year if TCM runs it again.

7 / 10

One of the Great TV Dramas

When I saw this when I was in high school, I remember my hair curling. I remember there were threats of boycotts and protests against the politics of this work, which really express just basic humanitarianism, with some liberal fear of nuclear destruction.

Three memories of this production: James Shigeta, playing a doctor in post-nuclear Hiroshima, answers the Scrooge character's (Sterling Hayden) cliched comment about nuclear-damaged girls (singing, with cloth over their scarred faces). Scrooge says, `Well, at least their children will not face this horror." Shigeta answers: "Children?! These girls?!"

The second is Pat Hingle eating the massive chicken leg, with barbed wired keeping out silent, wraith-like, starving refugees. Scrooge: "How can you sit there and eat like that, when these people are starving?" Hingle: "Oh, do they bother you?" And he snaps his fingers and the lights go out, and the refugees disappear. "Feel better?" asks Hingle, taking another chomp out of the turkey leg.

The third is Peter Sellers as "The Imperial Me," a deranged leader of a deranged sect meeting in a post-nuclear bombed-out church. Sellers' turn is both hilarious and disturbing, working the followers (all with Mickey Mouse Club-like shirts that say "Me") into a frenzy.

The teleplay is crammed with earnest, liberal good intentions. But why weren't there a lot more of this kind of artistic effort on television? (I recall a second UN/Xerox special, with Theo Bikel playing a leader of refugees on a ship, but it wasn't nearly as good).

Political and marketing restrictions cost us dearly when more efforts like "Carol for Another Christmas" were not made.

8 / 10

a worthwhile period piece..thanks Turner for showing for first time since 1964

Since i was 8 the only time it aired I doubt i watched it surely had no idea what the purpose was. It is amazing to think that Peter Fonda was the son killed in WWII and his first name was "Marley".. YOu should look at Serling's Wikipedia entry to see his service in the Pacific in 1045..Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Phillipine Lib Medal and incredible stories. Sterling Hayden was Mr Grudge- and was a WWI (not II) veteran..in 1964 WWI vets were only in their mid 60's. That was past, along with a creepy Hiroshima sequence. Present was a hedonistic free world letting everyone starve..and the Future was after WWIII(with a madman ruler). Certainly would baffle anyone today but moderately effective. Go to Wikipedia and see that Hayden was in the OSS and paratrooped into Yugoslavia..where he befriended Tito which led to his blacklisting. Hayden and Serling certainly had life experiences. A somewhat clumsy/contrived movie but worth seeing to understand how those who grew up in the 30' and 40's lived and what they experienced

7 / 10

The film of America, yet to come

If Ayn Rand had watched this film when it was first broadcast on American television, she no doubt would have had palpitations. Carol for Another Christmas not only revels in bleeding heart humanism, it also drives a stake through the heart of the Randian philosophy of objectivism. That must have been galling for acolytes of Rand in 1964, but here we are in 2013, and after forty or fifty years of relentless anti-humanist propaganda we now live in a world where the quaint liberalism of Rod Serling has been displaced by - you guessed it - the selfish anti-communitarianism of Ms. Rand. This development would have disgusted the vast majority of Americans in 1964, who would have answered Daniel Grudge's (Sterling Hayden) question to The Ghost of Christmas Future (Robert Shaw) - 'must it be like this?' - in the negative. The ghost, however, doesn't respond - and now, sadly, we know the answer.

10 / 10

A great film

I actually saw this unique film on its one and only broadcast. I was in high school at the time and was very impressed. As a fan of The Twilight Zone, I never missed anything by Rod Serling. Not much detail sticks in my mind after 35 years, but I would enjoy an opportunity to see it again