Edwin L. Marin's A Christmas Carol (1938), produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and starring Gene Lockhart and Reginald Owen, has been given very respectful, if not overly ambitious treatment by Warner Home Video on DVD. The movie has been transferred (in full-screen, 1.33-to-1) about as well could be expected, and then some, with the image looking sharper and richer than it did in a showing of a new 35mm print that this reviewer saw some 25 years ago, and the sound is crisp and bright and clean as well, bringing out the profound subtleties of Franz Waxman's score. (Even the original trailer, hosted by Lionel Barrymore, looks exceptionally good, which is not always the case with materials such as that). The 70-minute movie has been given a very generous 18 chapters, The movie is supported by a trio of featurettes -- "Jackie Cooper's Christmas Party" and "Judy Garland Sings 'Silent Night'" are enjoyable pieces of studio self-promotion, though they're not in as good condition as the movie itself. The bonus feature that is in beautiful shape is the Hugh Harman-produced cartoon "Peace On Earth", a cautionary anti-war story that probably would have been considered subversive if it had been made a few years later, but is no less relevant today, nearly 70 years later. These features are easy to access through a simple multi-layered menu that opens automatically on start-up.
2 festive vintage featurettes: Jackie Cooper's Christmas Party and Judy Garland Sings "Silent Night"
Cartoon Peace on Earth
Subtitles: English, Français & Español (Feature Film Only)