Frederic March! Basil Rathbone! Maxwell Anderson! Bernard Herrman! Charles Dickens! I certainly hope they got paid well. (With Dickens, I suppose, it didn't matter.)
A denatured adaptation of one of the quirkiest, wittiest, richest stories ever, the majority of the screen time is taken up with over-orchestrated, lyrically clichéd and underwritten pastiche carols and folk songs (although Herrman's music has some lovely melodic and harmonic passages), and with "heartwarming" live commercials for 1956 Chryslers.
March's Scrooge is saddled with an incredibly fake nose, right up there with Alec Guiness's in "Lawrence of Arabia". Worse, March is forced to show redemption and emotion in endless close-ups that show him reacting to the aforementioned songs. Still, fine actor that he is, he does manage to show some moments of humanity.
Rathbone, as Marley, is robbed of 90% of the terrific dialogue originally in Dickens, but he too is able to infuse his character with some pathos and horror.
A fascinating look at what the majority of live TV drama was like in the 50's. Bad as TV can be now, if anyone pines for the good old days, make them watch this.
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