When a ghostly visitor, played with great aplomb by a game Robbie Coltrane, regales Blackadder with tales from his ancestors’ Christmas Past, Ebenezer begins to realize that “it points to the very clear lesson that bad guys have all the fun! ” Cue a Christmas morning revelation and Blackadder becoming the biggest swine ever.
With so many adaptation of A Christmas Carol out there, when looking at all of them the real question is “what did this one do different?” or “how did these actors read the lines?”. Well, to the first question, in this version we get a lot more backstory of Scrooge, showing a businessman taking him under his wing and corrupting him and slowly turning him towards a life of greed. On the one hand, it’s hard for me not to see this as the canonical version of Scrooge’s life now, even if it wasn’t in the book. On the other hand, I really didn’t need to see it, and it makes the Christmas past part of the story take up way too much of the screen time. As to the actors, a lot of them are some of the best performers of the material. This is our best Marley, probably our best of the spirits, and in my opinion our best Scrooge. The way Alastair Sim can act so much with just his massive eyes really brings you into the story.
Scrooge’s neglected fiancé Belle is shown ending their relationship as she realises that he will never love her as much as he loves money. Finally, they visit a now-married Belle with her large, happy family on the Christmas Eve that Marley died. Upset by hearing Belle’s description of the man that he has become, Scrooge demands that the ghost remove him from the house. In the fifth and final chapter, Scrooge awakens Christmas morning with joy and love in his heart, then spends the day with his nephew’s family after anonymously sending a prize turkey to the Cratchit home for Christmas dinner. Scrooge has become a different man overnight, and now treats his fellow men with kindness, generosity and compassion, gaining a reputation as a man who embodies the spirit of Christmas.
When he asks the spirit to show a single person who feels emotion over his death, he is only given the pleasure of a poor couple who rejoice that his death gives them more time to put their finances in order. When Scrooge asks to see tenderness connected with death, the ghost shows him Bob Cratchit and his family mourning the death of Tiny Tim. The ghost then allows Scrooge to see a neglected grave, with a tombstone bearing Scrooge’s name. The first spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Past, takes Scrooge to Christmas scenes of his boyhood, reminding him of a time when he was more innocent. The scenes reveal Scrooge’s lonely childhood at boarding school, his relationship with his beloved sister Fan, and a Christmas party hosted by his first employer, Mr. Fezziwig, who treated him like a son.
Marley disappeared into the night, flying out of an open window with other ghosts which looked as miserable as him. The earliest version of A Christmas Carolthat I managed to track down was this 1910 short film directed by J. Searle Dawley for none other than Thomas Edison’s film production company. Despite lasting only a little over 13 minutes, and with the medium of film itself only in its infancy, the director makes a pretty decent go of including the important points of Dickens’ story, and even does an effective job of showing the various ghosts onscreen. It’s only perhaps worth seeing out of curiosity, but it’s available for free on YouTube and is well worth a watch, if only for a valuable lesson in cramming a whole lot of story into a very short space of time.
Far too long is spent on the Marley backstory and everything with Ghost of Christmas Past, am aware that it is the past that is the bulk of the story in the first place but it was just overlong, took up too much time and drags from being too padded out. While everything with Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is far too short and rushed, plus the ghost has very little presence let alone creepiness.
It’s for this reason I’m beginning to see that stage adaptations of A Christmas Carol may be where itï¿ 1/2s most at home, where we can constantly see Scrooge reacting to the acts before him, which is really the entire point of the story. All in all, this is definitely one of the better, if not the best adaptation of this story. I can’t call it perfect, but then I have a great fondness for this story so I hold it to a pretty high bar. Southern New England’s favorite holiday tradition continues with an all-new online experience. This free, on-demand video is a wholly unique and thoroughly Trinity Rep take on the Dickens classic that integrates traditional theatrical storytelling with technological possibilities only available with digital production. Ebenezer Scrooge is guided by Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future on a heartwarming journey toward redemption that you can now share with friends and family no matter where they live. Make the spirit of the season come alive with a memorable holiday experience filled with hope.
The least badly paced episode of the three is the second but because the most distasteful content was in that episode that doesn’t count as a merit sadly. The third spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, shows Scrooge a Christmas Day in the future. The silent ghost reveals scenes involving the death of a disliked man whose funeral is attended by local businessmen only on condition that lunch is provided. His charwoman Mrs. Dilber, his laundress, and the local undertaker steal his possessions to sell to a fence named Old Joe.
A very serious and somber TV movie version this, which stars Jean-Luc Picard as Scrooge and McNulty from The Wire as his nephew Fred. Patrick Stewart plays his Scrooge as more of an arrogant and aloof businessman than anything else – much more fearsome than he is loathsome. The film is a steadfastly faithful adaptation, but it lacks any warmth, and while it does the darker stuff quite well, it doesn’t really exude Christmas spirit. It feels like we’re being lectured about Dickens’ story rather than being given an entertaining film. Technically I’m cheating again here, but Blackadder’s Christmas Carol is such a great parody of the classic A Christmas Carol story that I feel it warrants an inclusion. Working in reverse to the source material, Ebenezer Blackadder is a kind and generous man whose saintly nature is taken advantage of by all and sundry.
The story closes with the narrator confirming the validity, completeness and permanence of Scrooge’s transformation. The first of the spirits, the Ghost of Christmas Past, takes Scrooge to the scenes of his boyhood and youth, which stir the old miser’s gentle and tender side by reminding him of a time when he was more innocent. This is the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a man who loved money and didn’t like Christmas. Scrooge wanted to get every little bit of work from Cratchit before allowing him to spend Christmas Day at home.