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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Presented without commercial interruptions, this "United Nations Special" was sponsored by the Xerox Corporation, the first of a series of Xerox specials promoting the UN. Director Joseph Mankiewicz's first work for television, the 90-minute ABC drama was publicized as having an all-star cast (which meant that names of some supporting cast members were not officially released). In Rod Serling's update of Charles Dickens, industrial tycoon Daniel Grudge has never recovered from the loss of his 22-year-old son Marley, killed in action during Christmas Eve of 1944. The embittered Grudge has only scorn for any American involvement in international affairs. But then the Ghost of Christmas Past takes him back through time to a World War I troopship. Grudge also is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Future gives him a tour across a desolate landscape where he sees the ruins of a once-great civilization.Written by
Bhob Stewart <email@example.com>
When Grudge is talking to Fred at the beginning of the movie, Charles walks between them. A butler would pass behind the participants, not between them. See more »
[looking at girls with faces burned by radiation]
Well, at least their children will not face this horror.
Children? These girls?
See more »
The version shown on Turner Classic Movies eliminates any mention of composer Henry Mancini, and replaces the opening 'Carol for Another Christmas' theme with a reprise of the choral music played over the closing credits. See more »
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.
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