Saturday, January 21, 2017

Tonight's Movie: Tokyo Story (1953)

I'm moving steadily along posting reviews from my 2016 list of 10 Classics! Today it's Yasujiro Ozu's TOKYO STORY (1953).

TOKYO STORY, called TOKYO MONOGATARI in its native Japan, is widely considered Ozu's masterpiece, and yes, it's as great as advertised.

TOKYO STORY is the third of the "Noriko Trilogy," in which the brilliant and beautiful Setsuko Hara played different characters who were all named Noriko. The first of these films was LATE SPRING (1949) and the next, which was probably my favorite, was EARLY SUMMER (1951).

Though I favor EARLY SUMMER because I especially enjoyed how Hara's independent young woman takes her destiny into her own hands, all three films are superb, and I couldn't argue with anyone who thinks TOKYO STORY is the finest of the three. Like all of Ozu's films, underneath a relatively simple story the movie has a great deal to say about the universal human condition.

In TOKYO STORY a retired couple (Chishu Ryu and Chieko Higashiyama) leave their youngest daughter (Kyoka Kagawa), a teacher, at home and take the train to Tokyo to visit their other children.

The children are initially glad to see them yet haven't made any arrangements to take time off work, and they're feeling rather harried fitting time with their parents into their already busy schedules. The oldest son (So Yamamura) is a doctor, and his wife (Kuniko Miyake) helps with the business he runs out of their home while caring for their sons.

Their daughter (Haruko Sugimura), a hairdresser, is the most selfish of the children, treating her parents with blunt rudeness at times and even begrudging what her husband (Nobuo Nakamura) spends to treat them to some nice cakes; she remonstrates that he should have bought crackers instead.

Noriko (Hara) is the daughter of their son who was killed during the war, and she genuinely enjoys her time with her parents-in-law, even taking a day off work to show them around the city. But she has but a single small room, with running water only available down the hall, so is not equipped to host them long term.

Ultimately the older son and daughter decide the "solution" to keeping their parents entertained is to treat them to a stay at a spa -- which would be nice except that it rather defeats the point of the visit, seeing the children.

The parents decide to head home, briefly seeing another son (Shirô Ôsaka) along the way, but soon after arriving home, the mother becomes seriously ill, and the children are once more pulled out of their daily routines to spend time with their parents.

Ozu's films fascinate me in part because they dramatize human situations to which anyone can relate, yet the story is told in what is, for me, a fresh and interesting setting, postwar Japan. The cramped homes, the juxtaposition of modern trains with Japanese architecture, the ancient customs alongside American baseball caps -- it's all fascinating.

Though one of the children is clearly more selfish than the rest, for the most part these are good people just trying to muddle along and figure things out; sometimes they get it right and sometimes they mess up -- including the father, who once had issues with drinking. Life can be both beautiful and challenging.

All of Ozu's films, including this one, address dealing with inevitable life changes. Given the multigenerational aspects of the story, I suspect it's a film which would be rewarding to revisit at different stages of life.

Though TOKYO STORY, like other Ozu films, is very deliberate, taking 136 minutes to tell its story, it's never slow, holding the attention throughout.

Last summer my friend Kristina wrote something terrific about Ozu's films: “The solid settings and framing, and the mostly grounded, static camera give the impression that all concerns and people will pass, and we’re here for just an instant, on a permanent landscape, among scores of others with the very same issues.” Beautifully stated and so true.

Viewers will recognize many members of Ozu's "stock" company, starting with Hara and Ryu. Hara has a very powerful scene late in the film when her cheerful facade finally breaks down and she confesses to unhappy loneliness, and Ryu, facing the same issue going foreward, is equally moving. There are scenes here which are as poignant as that famous scene where he peels an apple at the end of LATE SPRING.

Very highly recommended.

TOKYO STORY is available on DVD and Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection. Many extras are included including documentaries and a commentary track.

Previously reviewed Ozu films: LATE SPRING (1949), EARLY SUMMER (1951), EQUINOX FLOWER (1958), GOOD MORNING (1959), LATE AUTUMN (1960), and THE END OF SUMMER (1961).

Friday, January 20, 2017

Tonight's Movie: Having Wonderful Time (1938) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

A good cast enlivens HAVING WONDERFUL TIME (1938), a romantic comedy available from the Warner Archive.

Teddy (Ginger Rogers), a somewhat naive secretary, spends her two-week vacation at a summer camp for young adults, where she falls for a waiter, Chick (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.), who aspires to a career as a lawyer.

That's really all there is to the plot! The fun is in hanging out with a large cast of familiar faces on the sunny shores of California's Big Bear Lake. This RKO film is a STAGE DOOR (1937) reunion with Eve Arden, Lucille Ball, Ann Miller, and Jack Carson in the cast in addition to Rogers.

Also on hand are Lee Bowman, Allan "Rocky" Lane, Peggy Conklin, Dorothea Kent, Kay Sutton, and Grady Sutton. Teddy's family members include Dean Jagger, Juanita Quigley, and Inez Courtney.

I first saw this film back in 2008, and I remembered it having a weak script but being fun nonetheless.

That impression was underscored with this fresh viewing. The 71-minute film could have used more time to develop the relationship of Chick and Teddy. There are also a couple random moments dropped into the movie which do nothing for the plot, such as a riff by one Richard "Red" Skelton on donuts.

That said, this is a movie I enjoy spending time with. Rogers and Fairbanks have a sweet chemistry, and I wish they'd made more films together.

The handsome Fairbanks is someone I always enjoy. The role of Teddy is something of a change of pace for Ginger, who so often played savvy, sharp-tongued characters; here she plays a more innocent young woman. The scene where she spends the night playing backgammon with Bowman, with Fairbanks rushing in to save her virtue, is quite funny, particularly given the perplexed, nonchalant reactions of Bowman and Rogers.

All in all, it's a pleasant, upbeat film in a fun setting. Those who like the cast will probably enjoy it as well, despite its featherweight story.

HAVING WONDERFUL TIME was directed by Alfred Santell and filmed by Robert DeGrasse.

The Warner Archive print is rough in a couple spots, with one noticeably scratched spot with a skip at the end of a scene, but for the most part it's fine. There are no extras.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Quick Preview of TCM in April

The preview of the April schedule for Turner Classic Movies is now available online!

This is a Star of the Month "theme month," with the focus on character actors every Tuesday and Thursday evening. Honorees will include Helen Broderick, seen at the left.

The TCM Spotlight is quite interesting, focusing on postwar melodramas. Titles include LOVE LETTERS (1945), BRIEF ENCOUNTER (1945), THE END OF THE AFFAIR (1953), AUTUMN LEAVES (1956), AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER (1957), and an entire evening of Douglas Sirk films.

April Fool's Day features comedies. The day before Easter there's a "bunny" theme, and as always, Easter Sunday features EASTER PARADE (1948) and religious films. Other themes in April include Beach Party movies, "rare animation," and a day of the Torchy Blane series.

Filmmakers receiving multi-film salutes in April are Doris Day, Melvyn Douglas, Walter Huston, Virginia Mayo, Howard Keel, Nunnally Johnson, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Ricardo Cortez. And watch for Harold Lloyd in GRANDMA'S BOY (1922) and DR. JACK (1922) on Sunday night, April 23rd!

I found it encouraging that, compared to March, there were far fewer films from the 1960s or later in the 5:00 Pacific/8:00 Eastern prime time slot.

Curiously, the hard copy I printed of the schedule a few days ago featured a seven-film primetime tribute to Frances Dee on April 3rd, including the beautiful FOUR FACES WEST (1948) costarring her husband, Joel McCrea.

However, a couple days later the entire Dee lineup had been replaced by an evening of Faye Dunaway movies, along with the special recorded last year, LIVE FROM THE TCM CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL: FAYE DUNAWAY (2017). That's the week of the TCM Classic Film Festival so it makes sense the Dunaway tribute would air that week. Hopefully the original lineup was a hint that we can expect the Frances Dee tribute to reappear on the schedule in the next few months!

I'll have much more on the April schedule around the end of March.

In the meantime, Jane Wyman continues as the January Star of the Month, with 31 Days of Oscar in February and Richard Burton the Star of the Month in March.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tonight's Movie: Northern Pursuit (1943)

Yesterday I happened to catch a bit of NORTHERN PURSUIT (1943) on Turner Classic Movies...which reminded me that it's an Errol Flynn movie which has been in my "to watch" stack for far too long.

The TCM Spotlight Errol Flynn Adventures set thus came off the shelf and I watched the entire film! It's a unique WWII adventure movie directed by Raoul Walsh.

The story is set in the northern reaches of Canada. Flynn plays Steve Wagner, a Mountie. He and his partner Jim (John Ridgely) arrest Hugo (Helmut Dantine), a German officer. Hugo and several other soldiers arrived in Canada by submarine, but an avalanche wiped out most of the group.

Hugo is sent to a Canadian internment camp but escapes along with some other men in order to complete his original mission. Steve, who is of German heritage and speaks the language, has meanwhile worked out with his superiors an elaborate plan to go undercover and infiltrate Hugo's group to learn their plans.

His mission is even more dangerous than expected as the Germans, particularly Hugo and Ernst (Gene Lockhart), don't hesitate to kill anyone who stands in their way. And being suspicious of Steve's true loyalties, they kidnap his fiancee Laura (Julie Bishop) to make sure Steve cooperates.

This is a pretty good adventure yarn with an appealing "Northerner" setting not seen enough in movies. Having a miniature WWII fight take place in that environment was even better, as it was a creative and rather plausible tale. (Well, maybe excepting the crew building a plane in the snowy middle of nowhere...!) Flynn is just right as the heroic Mountie who keeps calm under pressure.

I especially liked the way Flynn's Steve briskly brings Laura up to speed when she unexpectedly appears in the middle of his undercover job, with his offhand tone helping to keep her calm. It's a nice bit. He's also effective in the scenes where the Germans switch plans and he has to quickly work out how to handle the situations.

Gene Lockhart occasionally played creepy villains, and he's certainly effective here, particularly when he realizes he's about to get the same thing he's been dishing out.

Any movie with a supporting cast including Ridgely, Bishop, and Tom Tully is worth seeing in my book. Alec Craig and Monte Blue are also in the cast. Although he's listed in the credits, IMDb indicates Warren Douglas was cut from the film.

Tom Drake, John Forsythe, James Millican, and Robert Hutton are all listed as being in the film, and I completely missed picking them out. I suppose all the men in uniform blurred together! I think I'll put the disc back in tomorrow just to fast-forward through and look at the various soldiers to see if I can find them.

The movie has a good mix of location shooting, done at Sun Valley, Idaho, with soundstage interiors; the soundstage work was quite good and blends well with the real thing. Some of the second unit footage was directed by future feature film director Don Siegel (INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS).

NORTHERN PURSUIT was filmed in black and white by Sid Hickox. William Faulkner was among those who worked on the screenplay! The running time is 93 minutes.

The trailer can be seen at the TCM website.

They don't make 'em like this TCM Spotlight DVD set anymore, at least very often. Each feature film in the five-movie set is accompanied by a "Warner Night at the Movies" package consisting of trailers, shorts, a cartoon, and a newsreel. The set is currently an excellent price on Amazon.

Another WWII film set in Canada, 49TH PARALLEL (1941), is on my "to watch" list -- along with more Flynn films!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tonight's Movie: The Case of the Howling Dog (1934)

Warren William stars as crime-solving attorney Perry Mason in THE CASE OF THE HOWLING DOG (1934).

A very nervous man (Gordon Westcott) walks into Mason's office and offers to pay a $10,000 retainer if Mason will help him with his will and, more importantly, deal with the howling dog next door. Mason is baffled, even has a psychiatrist (Frank Reicher) from down the hall sit in on an interview with the new client, but ultimately takes the case.

Shortly thereafter, the man disappears...and Clinton Foley (Russell Hicks), owner of the howling dog, is murdered. Foley's wife Bessie (Mary Astor) is charged with the crime, and Mason decides to represent her.

The plot wasn't as hard to follow as yesterday's FIND THE BLACKMAILER (1943), but it got fairly close, with a real wife, a fake wife, one dog being impersonated by another, Della Street (Helen Trenholme) impersonating Bessie, and so on. Truly one of those movies where you need a scorecard to help lay out who's doing what to who where. One wonders if the screenwriters of such mysteries became confused themselves!

What made the film worthwhile was the inimitable William, who's always such fun to have on the screen. He's charismatic and watchable even as the plot spins out of control.

Perry has a romantic relationship with Della in this, which makes it interesting; it's initially subdued but becomes more apparent as the film goes on.

Helen Trenholme, the Canadian actress who plays Della, was in only one other movie, which was not a Perry Mason film. It's a shame, as I enjoyed her. Claire Dodd would play Della in two of the later Warren William Perry Mason films, with Genevieve Tobin taking over the role for a single film.

Of course, Astor is always good to watch, and it's also fun to see Allen Jenkins turns up as a police detective.

When the camera pans the reporters in the courtroom, don't blink or you'll miss a shot of Gordon "Wild Bill" Elliott in one of his many bit roles of the '30s.

The cast also includes Grant Mitchell, Addison Richards, Dorothy Tree, and Harry Tyler.

THE CASE OF THE HOWLING DOG was directed by Alan Crosland and filmed by William Rees. It runs 74 minutes.

THE CASE OF THE HOWLING DOG is part of the six-film, three-disc set Perry Mason: The Original Warner Bros. Movies Collection, from the Warner Archive. The first four films in the set star Warren William, with one starring Ricardo Cortez and one starring Donald Woods. The trailer is included on the disc.

THE CASE OF THE HOWLING DOG was worth seeing for the cast but could have been more interesting. Hopefully the next film in the set will be stronger.

Around the Blogosphere This Week

Miscellaneous bits of news and fun stuff from around the internet...

...Happy New Year, and welcome to the first roundup of 2017!

...Here's the 2017 schedule of nationwide classic film screenings from TCM and Fathom Events.

...For those in the San Francisco area, Noir City San Francisco opens this Friday, January 20th. Films screen daily through Sunday, January 29th.

...Last month I was fascinated to read that actor Dermot Mulroney (THE FAMILY STONE) plays cello on the ROGUE ONE (2016) soundtrack. 11th chair, to be exact -- and it wasn't his first time in a studio orchestra. He's also put his musical talents to use in a guest role on the Amazon series MOZART IN THE JUNGLE. It's a great story.

...Coming next month: WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE CASABLANCA: THE LIFE, LEGEND, AND AFTERLIFE OF HOLLYWOOD'S MOST BELOVED MOVIE by Noah Isenberg. Isenberg also wrote EDGAR G. ULMER: A FILMMAKER AT THE MARGINS which is on my shelf.

...THEIR FINEST (2016), about the making of a British WWII propaganda film during the London Blitz, looks as though it might be interesting. It opens in the U.S. in March. The supporting cast includes Jack Huston (grandson of John, great-grandson of Walter) and Rachael Stirling (daughter of Diana Rigg). The trailer is here.

...An L.A. LAW reboot is in the works.

...I was very happy to learn that DESIRABLE (1934), a charming film starring George Brent and Jean Muir, will be released by the Warner Archive later this month.

...The Blonde at the Film posted a fun piece on TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME (1949) a few weeks ago. I especially enjoyed seeing how costumes worn by Judy Garland and Cyd Charisse in THE HARVEY GIRLS (1946) turned up on extras in TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME -- that's a great eye noticing that.

...Last month Raquel posted an interesting review of Robert Vaughn's last film, GOLD STAR (2016), at Out of the Past.

...Coming to DVD and Blu-ray in February from Kino Lorber: John Wayne and Vera Hruba Ralston in DAKOTA (1945) -- with a commentary track by our good pal, Toby Roan of 50 Westerns From the 50s. This follows Toby's excellent commentary job on Olive's NIGHT OF THE GRIZZLY (1966).

...The historic Bay Theatre in nearby Seal Beach has been bought, with a reopening expected at the end of 2017. I saw SUNSET BLVD (1950) and A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951) there half a decade ago.

...Speaking of theaters, Curbed Los Angeles takes a look at some of L.A.'s historic theaters.

...Here's an interesting article on LA LA LAND (2016) location filming in Hermosa Beach.

...Karen Burroughs Hannsberry has written about three good film noir titles with "danger" in the title for ClassicFlix.

...Coming to DVD and Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection on February 21st: MILDRED PIERCE (1945).

...Royalty Watch: Christmas card photos of Prince Jaques and Princess Gabriella of Monaco, the youngest grandchildren of Grace Kelly, Princess Grace of Monaco.

...Catching up with another article from Christmastime, as a fan of Hallmark movies I enjoyed this piece on Hallmark Christmas movies by Mary Katharine Ham. There's humor in truth! (With the Christmas movie season having ended, I'm recording a Hallmark "Winter Fest" movie at this very moment...)

...Notable Passings: Marc Myers of JazzWax reports the death of arranger Buddy Bregman at 86. Bregman, a nephew of Jule Styne, had a long career which is chronicled by Myers. I never knew Bregman arranged for one of my all-time favorite albums, the Ella Fitzgerald Rodgers & Hart Songbook. Bregman was once married to actress Suzanne Lloyd; their daughter, Tracy Bregman, is a longtime soap opera star (THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS)...Singer Buddy Greco has died at 90...Jazz writer Nat Hentoff has passed on at 91...Revered California historian Kevin Starr has died at 76. Our oldest daughter was fortunate to have a course with him at USC...Photographer Lord Snowdon, who was married to Britain's Princess Margaret and took many iconic photographs of the royal family, has died at 86. His son David is now the Earl of Snowdon...Director Gordon Hunt, the father of Helen Hunt, passed away at 87...Actress Barbara Tarbuck, who worked steadily in TV for decades, has died at 74...Francine York has passed on at 80. Another busy working actress, her screen career began in 1959, and she was still working in 2016...I recently learned of the passing last May of actress Ruth Terry at 95. Terry (seen in photo) was the leading lady of several '40s "B" Westerns; one of her costumes is on display in the Lone Pine Film History Museum.

Have a great week!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Tonight's Movie: Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941) - An Olive Films DVD Review

Martha Scott stars in CHEERS FOR MISS BISHOP (1941), now available on DVD and Blu-ray from Olive Films.

CHEERS FOR MISS BISHOP was Scott's third film, following OUR TOWN (1940), in which she recreated her stage role opposite William Holden, and THE HOWARDS OF VIRGINIA (1940), opposite Cary Grant.

Miss Ella Bishop is a dedicated instructor of freshman English at Midwestern College. While Ella enjoys a rewarding career, she has poor taste in men; her first love, Del Thompson (Donald Douglas), runs off with her cousin Amy (Mary Anderson), and her second love, John Stevens (Sidney Blackmer), is married.

Meanwhile she never seems to notice that storekeeper Sam Peters (William Gargan) is there for her at every turn; she thinks of him as a dear friend but doesn't reciprocate his love.

When Del abandons the pregnant Amy, who dies in childbirth, Ella raises her daughter Hope (Marsha Hunt). Eventually Hope and later Hope's daughter Gretchen (Lois Ranson) attend Midwestern College, where Ella's career continues for decades.

CHEERS FOR MISS BISHOP is more melodrama than Americana, focusing as much as it does on Ella's love life. I found it quite watchable, although Ella's obtuse romantic decisions were annoying, as Sam is such a lovely fellow.

The movie's other flaw is that not much happens in the last half hour. Time marches on, but not much happens, other than some sentimental tugs at the heart.

That said, it's a movie worth taking a look at, and it's a particular treat to see a number of interesting actresses in the film in addition to the leading lady. Mary Anderson makes an impression as Scott's selfish cousin. Rosemary DeCamp, who was always excellent with accents, uses one here in her film debut as a student with a photographic memory. And it's always wonderful having the chance to see Marsha Hunt! Her character is lovely, warm, and likeable, just as the actress herself is off the screen.

The cast also includes Edmund Gwenn, John Archer (billed as Ralph Bowman), Dorothy Peterson, Sterling Holloway, Rand Brooks, Charles Smith, Pierre Watkin, and John Hamilton.

CHEERS FOR MISS BISHOP was directed by Tay Garnett. It was filmed in black and white by Hal Mohr. Stephen Vincent Benet adapted a novel by Bess Streeter Aldrich for the screenplay by Adelaide Heilbron and Sheridan Gibney. The running time is 91 minutes.

The Olive Films DVD is a fine print. There are no extras other than subtitles.

Thanks to Olive Films for providing a review copy of this DVD.

Tonight's Movie: Find the Blackmailer (1943)

When FIND THE BLACKMAILER (1943) ended, I had the strangest feeling that I had no idea what I'd just seen!

This Warner Bros. "B" movie barrels along at a rapid-fire pace for 55 minutes. It's sort of amusing, yet the overstuffed plot is just about impossible to follow.

Jerome Cowan, the ill-fated Miles Archer of THE MALTESE FALCON (1941), later played detectives in a couple of Warner Bros. "B" movies. His private eye in FIND THE BLACKMAILER is named D.L. Tree. The following year he played Detective Sam Campbell in the more engaging CRIME BY NIGHT (1944), costarring Jane Wyman.

In FIND THE BLACKMAILER Detective Tree is broke, to the chagrin of his loyal gal Friday (and possible love interest) Pandora Pines (Marjorie Hoshelle), who hasn't been paid recently.

Financial help arrives in the form of new client John Rhodes (Gene Lockhart). Rhodes is running for office and about to get married, but he's the target of a blackmailer.

I lost track of the plot after the first 15 minutes. There's something about a talking crow who can frame Rhodes, Faye Emerson is a femme fatale, and John Harmon plays a bodyguard/ventriloquist. I had no idea what was going on, but I enjoyed Cowan's quips and his bantering relationship with Hoshelle. (This appears to have been her biggest role.) The film moved so quickly it didn't have time to wear out its welcome.

FIND THE BLACKMAILER was written by Robert E. Kent (no relation to actor Robert Kent, who plays Harper). It was directed by D. Ross Lederman and filmed by James Van Trees.

The trailer is on the TCM website; the film can be seen on TCM from time to time.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Tonight's Movie: A Christmas Carol (1951)

The next film to be reviewed from my list of 10 Classics to see in 2016 is A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1951).

The 1938 MGM version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL was the first one I ever saw and holds a special place in my heart, especially as I have a great fondness for MGM movies and cast members such as Ann Rutherford, June Lockhart, and Lynne Carver. I also particularly like the very fine 1984 TV version starring George C. Scott.

Since I usually go to one of those versions when I want to see the story, or MICKEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL (1983), I'd never gotten around to seeing the highly regarded British version starring Alastair Sim (GREEN FOR DANGER).

Well, what can I say? I shouldn't have waited so long. The Sim version was every bit as special as advertised.

I won't spend time recounting the story, which surely must be known to all my readers -- if not, please watch this movie! Suffice it to say that it's a lovingly rendered adaptation, with a beautifully modulated performance by Sim.

Sim keeps his Scrooge grounded and real, including in the film's last, joyous scenes; he's ecstatically happy, scaring his housekeeper with his delight at having a second chance, but there's also great depth and regret underneath the laughter.

In some ways it thus seemed to be a "quieter" telling, yet those depths of emotion conjured tears from me such as I have never before cried during any version of this story. The look on Scrooge's face when he asks Fred's wife (Olga Edwardes) to forgive him was deeply, deeply moving. Sim was perfectly cast and responded with one of the great film performances.

The supporting cast is also superb, including Mervyn Johns and Hermione Baddeley as Mr. and Mrs. Cratchit, the great Michael Hordern as Jacob Marley, and Patrick Macnee as Marley's younger self.

Kathleen Harrison, Jack Warner, Rona Anderson, Carol Marsh, Michael Dolan, and Francis De Wolff are also in the large cast.

I particularly liked the score by Richard Addinsell, conducted by Muir Mathieson, which incorporates Christmas carols. It added a great deal to the film's mood.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL, alternately known as SCROOGE, was directed by Brian Desmond Hurst and filmed in black and white by C. Pennington-Richard. The screenplay was by Noel Langley. The running time is 86 minutes.

A fun bit of cast trivia: Hermione Baddeley, Mrs. Cratchit, would go on to play Ellen, the maid in MARY POPPINS (1964). Ellen's employer, Mrs. Banks, was played by Glynis Johns, the daughter of "Mr. Cratchit," Mervyn Johns.

I watched A CHRISTMAS CAROL on DVD in a lovely restored Ultimate Collector's Edition from VCI. It's part of a two-disc set which also includes a colorized version and the 1935 version of the film starring Seymour Hicks.

Highly recommended.

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