Mankiewicz made his one television film, a dark update of A Christmas Carol, while he was still recovering from Cleopatra. Sterling Hayden is the Scrooge figure, a wealthy businessman who has become a pitiless warmonger after his son’s death in WWII. He is visited, like Scrooge, by the Ghosts of Christmas Past (Steve Lawrence, who gave Mankiewicz’s favorite performance in the film), Present (Pat Hingle), and Future (Robert Shaw), the last of whom conducts Hayden through a post-nuclear world, inhabited by a band of survivors led by Peter Sellers. The first of four United Nations films underwritten by Xerox, Mankiewicz and Rod Serling’s reworking of Dickens was shown without commercial interruption on ABC three days after Christmas 1964. It was so relentlessly downbeat that it never re-aired, though it has become available again in recent years. Other members of the formidable cast include Eva Marie Saint, Ben Gazzara, and Britt Ekland. The score is by none other than Henry Mancini.
Film ran Friday, September 26, 2014 - Sunday, October 12, 2014