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.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The opening credits are alphabetical; the closing credits in order of appearance. See more »
When Grudge is first being shown the people behind the fence by the Ghost of Christmas Present, you can see the shadows of the snow shakers (that cause the fake snow to fall) on the floor/ground as the camera pans towards them as they are singing. See more »
[looking at girls with faces burned by radiation]
Well, at least their children will not face this horror.
Children? These girls?
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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 »
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
Traditional See more »
A Christmas Carol that may not translate to the 21st Century
The Museum of Television and Radio owns a copy of this film written by Rod Serling and only shown once on television. Part of its financing came from the United Nations and the theme of the film is more about international cooperation than simply being anti-war.
Sterling Hayden portrays a wealthy man who served in the Navy during World War II and is now a lonely bitter man upset over his son's death in a war he described as needless, presumably in Korea. Hayden is now an isolationist.
The three ghosts think their job is to make Hayden's character more of an internationalist and more willing to accept U.S. involvement in organizations like the United Nations. Coming right before the U.S. racheted up its involvement in Vietnam, it is easy to understand why this film didn't get shown again.
The visit from the Ghost of Christmas Future (Robert Shaw) is the most frightening part of the film. He shows Hayden a post nuclear apoclaypse world run by a weird character called the Imperial Me (Peter Sellers). Sellers is quite effective.
It's an interesting film, but you have to take it in its context. If you are a big Rod Serling fan, it is worth seeing. If you are not, you might find the themes in the film delivered in a rather heavy-handed manner.
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