Candles in the Dark

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Candles in the Dark
Genre Drama
Written by Nicholas Niciphor
Directed by Maximilian Schell
Starring Alyssa Milano
Chad Lowe
Music by Richard Bowers
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) James M. Dowaliby
Producer(s) Ilmar Taska
Peter Shepherd (co-producer)
Diana Dru Botsford (associate producer)
Eva Banhidi (associate producer)
Running time 88 minutes
Production company(s) Family Productions
Distributor The Family Channel
Original network The Family Channel
Original release December 3, 1993

Candles in the Dark is a 1993 American made for television Christmas drama film directed by Maximilian Schell. Produced for The Family Channel,[1] the film stars Alyssa Milano and Chad Lowe.


When her father thinks she is too spoiled, he sends Sylvia to her aunt in Estonia. She soon finds herself engulfed in a struggle with her father, and finds herself being hunted by the KGB. Meanwhile, after she meets Jaan, Sylvia immediately falls in love with him. Together, they fight to keep the Christmas spirit alive in the dark and old fashioned city.



The film was shot between August and September 1993 on location with an Estonian crew most of whom did not speak English.[1] According to the Los Angeles Times, this was the first non-Estonian film to be shot in Estonia.[1] Maximilian Schell looked back on production and the crew: "They would say 'yes' to everything. Sometimes it would fit and sometimes it wouldn't. Our time was very short with the sound and music, all of the coordination. It was a lot to do in such a short period of time."[1]

The version aired on the Family Channel was not Schell's final cut. He planned on buying the film's rights to distribute a re-edited version overseas, but this never happened.[1]


Variety magazine wrote: "Candles in the Dark is a sweet, endearing but safe story that occasionally suffers from low production values and muddled sub-characters but will no doubt make the family weep."[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Mendoza, N.F. (November 28, 1993). "'Candles' sheds light on freedom in a holiday movie on Family Channel". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  2. ^ Variety magazine. December 3, 1993.

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