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Stingiest Man in Town

42 customer reviews

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(Nov 29, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Musical adaptation of Chales Dickens's "A Christmas Carol." Music by Fred Spielman, Lyrics by Janice Torre Starring: Basil Rathbone, Patrice Munsel, Vic Damone, Johnny Desmond, Martyn Green, Robert Weede, The Four Lads. Live telecast 1956.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Basil Rathbone, Vic Damone, Patrice Munsel, Johnny Desmond, Robert Weede
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Video Artists Int'l
  • DVD Release Date: November 29, 2011
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005XT2V1Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,451 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By my brain span on November 17, 2011
Format: DVD
If you are even remotely interested in Charles Dickens's A CHRISTMAS CAROL, and the almost countless number of adaptations that it has inspired, then Christmas 2011 is going to be pretty spectacular indeed. Why? Because the absolute Holy Grail of lost CAROL adaptations has been found and is finally (!) making its long-awaited home video debut. It is, of course, THE STINGIEST MAN IN TOWN starring the great Basil Rathbone.

Keeping in mind that the source is a black-and-white 16mm kinescope, the quality of this new DVD release is excellent -- as is Basil Rathbone and the rest of the cast.

The news of STINGIEST MAN'S rediscovery and release broke on my blog on October 13. Please check it out at

You will also find information on STINGIEST MAN in my book; see link below. My commentary was based on viewing an incomplete copy years ago at the Library of Congress. Now that I've finally seen the whole thing I feel like I've died and gone to Dickensian heaven!

Merry Christmas -- and what a way to kick off 2012 and the Dickens bicentenary!

-- Fred Guida
A Christmas Carol And Its Adaptations: A Critical Examination of Dickens's Story And Its Productions on Screen And Television
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Michael B. Druxman on November 27, 2011
Format: DVD
As the author of BASIL RATHBONE: HIS LIFE AND HIS FILMS, it amazes me that I had never seen THE STINGIEST MAN IN TOWN before. But, the truth is that, when I was writing my book over thirty-five years ago, I had no idea where to find a viewing copy. Those were the days before home video.

Even if I had been able to see it, I probably would not have given the production much more of a mention than I did. My book, after all, dealt with the "Films" of Basil Rathbone, not his television appearances.

However, thanks to Video Artists International, a DVD of this 1956 musical version of Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL is now available. It is a kinescope of a live black-and-white broadcast, so one should not expect the pristine quality found it most home video releases.

Certainly the strongest aspect of this Daniel Petrie- directed production is its score that features music by Fred Spielman and lyrics by Janice Torre. There are several memorable tunes in the show, such as "An Old-Fashioned Christmas," "Golden Dreams," "It Might Have Been" and the title song.

The problems with the production are more apparent today than, I think, they would have been back in 1956. Standards, after all, have changed.

Cast members like Vic Damone, Johnny Desmond and Patrice Munsel may have been marvelous singers and had major fan followings, but the play might have been better served had their roles been cast with actors who could sing, rather than simply fine singers.

Also, the cast, including Rathbone as Scrooge, seems to be giving stage performances, playing to the "upper balcony" rather than to the television camera.

Nevertheless, THE STINGIEST MAN IN TOWN is a very entertaining way to spend 81 minutes of the Christmas season, and we are grateful to Video Artists International for preserving this classic program for future generations.

© Michael B. Druxman
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Alan W. Petrucelli on November 27, 2011
Format: DVD
`Tis the season to be jolly, and a really jolly way to enjoy this season is with Video Artist's International release of The Stingiest Man in Town. VAI is famous for bringing us TV treats from the `50s, and this musical bon-bon will keep you smiling.
Broadcast on December 23, 1956, it's based on the Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol that would have been fit for Broadway. The music and lyrics are by Fred Spielman and Janice Torre, who've given us not only "Paper Roses", but also tunes sung by Melchior, Presley and Garland. The production values are superb; the video is a tad grainy or jumpy here and there, but for a TV show more than 50 years old, it's in remarkable condition.
What's most remarkable is the cast. Basil Rathbone sheds his pipe, violin and Dr. Watson persona to play the infamous Scrooge, and he is absolutely outstanding. Singing, dancing and snarling his way through this live broadcast, it's unfortunate his talent didn't grace more musicals. He's thoroughly credible, making the transition between the stingiest man in town to the most generous, happy and joyful with an ease and a style that's just wonderful to watch.
Rathbone is supported by some of the great talents of the period. Robert Weede, from Broadway's The Most Happy Fella and the Metropolitan Opera plays Marley's ghost (in a costume that frankly makes him look like a nun in chain bondage); from the Met we also have Patrice Munsel, who was in any number of musical television broadcasts. The Four Lads, the ultimate `50s pop group, narrate and play various chorus parts, and Johnny Desmond, fresh from replacing Sydney Chaplin in Funny Girl opposite Streisand, is nephew Fred.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 11, 2011
Format: DVD
This wonderful musical version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol was originally broadcast on television in 1956. The songs are really beautiful and the cast is stellar: Basil Rathbone (best known as Sherlock Holmes) appears as Scrooge and Johnny Desmond plays his nephew. Vic Damone appears as the young Scrooge who performs two beautiful duets with Patrice Munsel. Robert Weede
(The Most Happy Fella), The Four Lads and Betty Madigan round out the cast.

One word of warning, since this title has not been released, I have no way
of knowing the picture and sound quality of the DVD. I do, however, own the CD
and the sound quality is excellent, but that may not apply here.
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