A scene from A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, directed by Bill Melendez for CBS.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965, Bill Melendez)

Two things stick out in “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. First, Charlie Brown is a bit of a drag. Charles M. Schulz, writing the script, initially sets up Charlie Brown as the Scrooge of “Christmas”. While that condition changes a little–eventually, Charlie Brown is the victim of the rest of the Peanuts gang–it’s a disconcerting opening.

Schulz is trying to make a statement about commercialism and Christmas, but it never connects.

The other thing about “Christmas” is Melendez’s direction. It’s often terrible, which is surprising. The beginning is reasonably sublime, set to Vince Guaraldi’s lovely score, but then the action moves inside and Melendez loses touch. He has these terrible close-ups.

There are some nice touches–Linus on the run from Sally, Lucy and Schroeder contending with Snoopy–but “Christmas” is undercooked.

Schulz works towards a point, but doesn’t find one, and Melendez similarly flounders.

It’s rather disappointing.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Produced and directed by Bill Melendez; written by Charles M. Schulz; edited by Robert T. Gillis; music by Vince Guaraldi; released by the Columbia Broadcasting System.

Starring Peter Robbins (Charlie Brown), Christopher Shea (Linus Van Pelt), Tracy Stratford (Lucy Van Pelt), Kathy Steinberg (Sally Brown), Chris Doran (Schroeder / Shermy), Geoffrey Ornstein (Pig-Pen), Sally Dryer (Violet), Ann Altieri (Freida), Karen Mendelson (Patty) and Bill Melendez (Snoopy).

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s