A Christmas Carol(s)

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Postby Morwenna » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:21 am

That would annoy me too. As much as I love seeing these different versions, and as many excellences as many of them have, I get annoyed even at relatively minor things, like Fan being older than Scrooge, or like Fred being only engaged instead of already married, that sort of thing. Or like the Cratchits living in a nicer home than the story suggests! Eewww...

Don't mess with Dickens!! :x

ETA: Or Cratchit being made a partner at the end!! :shock: That would never happen unless he were thoroughly trained first!! And in Victorian England there was way too much class-consciousness for such a thing to be easy!
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Postby Cock-Robin » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:52 pm

GwenElf wrote:
Hobbituk wrote:
Cock-Robin wrote:I just got a Doctor Who version of Christmas Carol, (it was their 2010 Christmas special), and am interested in watching it to see if it's any good.


It's fantastic


Seconded. I may force my family to watch it this year, even though none of them is a Whovian.

I had no idea there were so many versions of A Christmas Carol out there! I mean, I should have expected it, but being a huge fan of the Muppet Christmas Carol, I have never felt the need to branch out. Thanks to this thread I have an excellent list of options.


I put on and enjoyed the DW Christmas Carol, it was amazing! and had the strangeness that set it apart. And just watched an animated version with Tim Curry and Whoopi Goldberg as part of the cast. It was good.
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Hobbituk » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:35 am

Go on then, as it's December again...

Yesterday I watched a version called 'Scrooge' from 1935, the earliest version I have watched to-date. It's on YouTube in its entirety and stars Seymour Hicks as Scrooge. I'm ashamed to say I had never even heard of Hicks, but having looked him up on Wikipedia (of course) it seems he is the actor to have played the part more often than any other, if including stage performances. He even played the part twenty two years EARLIER (1913) in a Silent film version.

So, as one would expect from someone who seems to have based their entire career becoming synonymous with a single role, he completely gets it, and it is his performance that carries the film so well from beginning to end. I really liked the Bob Cratchitt in this one too; wise and cheerful whilst remaining thoroughly believable.

Like a lot of films from that period, the cinematography is very dark and oppressive which can make it hard work for a modern audience (or as I like to call them; "me") but some of the clever innovations (such as having Scrooge shrouded in shadow during the 'Christmas Future' sequence) stand up well today and make you wonder why they haven't been used since. Indeed, one or two bits I noticed have been copied wholesale into other adaptations.

Anyone seen this, or watched any others lately? There really are so many.
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Almatolmen » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:41 pm

One of my favorite versions is an Australian animated version. I own it...but in VHS. Guess what? I no longer own a player!

The animation can't match the most recent version, but it still did, IMO, an excellent job.

Every once in a while I compile a list of films that, if I were rich enough and had any talent, that i'd do a remake of. CC tops that list. I'd like to combine the best from all earlier versions, the best of modern tech, and a few angles of my own.

Sims is my favorite version. I miss the annual broadcasts on network TV, or at least their affiliates. I don't have cable, so that's my only option. And I hope they hold off and have a few Christmas programs closer to the holiday. Recently, they've been showing them too early and have little left in the final week!
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby portia » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:31 pm

Remakes are tricky; you might want to invest in something else. The recent re-make of "Red Dawn" should scare anyone off.
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Cock-Robin » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:55 pm

One new one I really like is called Miracle of Christmas: Ebbie's Story. It's set in a department store where the owner is the Scrooge of it. And it's great! Put out by Lifetime.
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Ettinblue » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:31 am

I agree that Jim Carrey's version was surprisingly good. We saw it when it came out. I (still!) haven't read the original book, but it was pretty clear that they were sticking closer to Dickens's writing style than a lot of the other adaptations out there. It was a really, really nice surprise after that (IMO awful) Grinch movie.

My real favorite is The Muppet Christmas Carol. But, everyone in my family loves the Muppets, and I've seen it almost every year since (...erm, too young to remember how old I was) so I guess that more or less explains itself. The Reaper-like figure always scared the crud out of me as a little girl, though. :P
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Wildwood » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:47 pm

I only watched my main three versions this year! I was busy! :D :D :D :D :D I really wish someone would take the best parts of them all, and smish them together and make one really epic version for eternity! :D :D :D :D

What versions? The Alistair Sim one, the George C Scott one, and the Patrick Stewart one! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D I have different parts of each that are my favorites.

From Alistair Sim's version, I really like the way he plays Scrooge. He gets it fairly quickly, but the reluctance hits just the right note. Too old to change, and all that! I like how they really explore the early days of his life, going even into the takeover of Fezziwig's and how that pesky Mr Jorkin embezzles the company's funds, etc!! I like the extra exposition about it, because it shows so well the path he treads to get where he has come to! :D :D :D I also love his Christmas morning, after the Ghost of Christmas Future has left him. The scene chasing after the terrified housemaid is hilarious. And when she realizes just how serious he is in his present for her, he seems so happy! Love it! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

From George C Scott, I liked how curmudgeonly he was. I liked his words of contrition at the end. I loved how he asked what had he done to be abandoned in such a way, by the Ghost of Christmas Present!! He still wasn't getting it. I though he should be figuring it out by then, but he was stubborn!! I loved how he was shown the family out in the snow, eating scraps and such. he was so obviously surpised that such a thing was actually happening!! And I love that version's Ghost of the Present the best of them all, although I would have loved to hear him say the "Man, if you be a man, forbear that wicked cant..." bit. If you have never read it, it is some powerful writing!!! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

I love Patrick Steward as Scrooge, but what really steals my heart, in that version, is Mr Cratchitt!! That actor (who, by the way, was the bad guy in this year's Doctor Who Christmas special!! I was shocked. Bob would never act like that! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D ) just nailed that part down so prefectly! Had me crying, when Tim died, and the reaction to the new Scrooge, all that going for the poker, just in case the crazy man got violent....that was amazing stuff! The joy that suffused him, as he realized that Scrooge was really serious in his intention to be a better person, and help him and his family....its palpable!!! :D :D :D :D :D :D And his Mrs is hilarious with all her "grave on a wet Sunday"....so great!

They all hit the notes well, to one degree or another. I would love to see what is best about each of them combined into one perfect effort! :D :D :D :D I would watch 'em all, every year, in order! :D :D :D :D I drive my poor family to distraction with it, every year! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D But I can't help myself. It makes me feel so happy! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Hobbituk » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:46 am

Combine all the best elements of the very best versions?

Impossible!

Which is why it exists, On Youtube. Enjoy :)
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Wildwood » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:59 pm

Really? Someone already did this? I will have to check it out! Am up to my eyes in Happy Who-Year's Eve right now! Donna and The Doctor are about to save the world.
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D ROSE!!! :D :D :D :D :D :D Ooops...wrong thread! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby solicitr » Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:07 am

The one I grew up with, and thus my sentimental favorite, was a *radio* version we had on record, starring Lionel Barrymore (who was absolutely brilliant). Barrymore did it, live, on CBS Radio every year from 1934 through 1953.
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Hobbituk » Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:54 am

solicitr wrote:The one I grew up with, and thus my sentimental favorite, was a *radio* version we had on record, starring Lionel Barrymore (who was absolutely brilliant). Barrymore did it, live, on CBS Radio every year from 1934 through 1953.


It really must be an actor's dream to perform.
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Hobbituk » Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:12 pm

And once more I shamelessly bump this thread in the hope of capturing more suggestions, memories, favourites and thoughts about the best ghost story... the best Time Travel story... the best redemption story... ever told :)

Isn't it about time someone made another one?
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Cock-Robin » Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:51 pm

I just recently put on the Doctor Who Christmas Carol again. The first time I saw it, I couldn't make head or tail of it, but now I can, and it's SO beautiful! Brought tears to my eyes.
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Hobbituk » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:51 am

That is, by a fair distance, my favourite of the Doctor Who Christmas Specials.

Last night I watched a 1977 BBC TV production of A Christmas Carol starring Michael Hordern. TORCers may be familiar with Michael Hordern as he played Gandalf in the BBC Radio production of LOTR. Funnily enough, Jacob Marley was played by John Le Mesurier... who was the BBC Radio Bilbo Baggins!

The production itself was a mixed bag, I thought. Hordern was very good, he has a natural authority but managed to give Scrooge a curious vulnerability. Almost childlike, both before and after the transformation.

Sadly, the thing was clearly hampered by the production values. They seemed barely able to afford sets, making use of painted backdrops. Those were occasionally very effective, giving the flashbacks an ethereal dreamy quality, but mostly just made it look cheap. That seemed a shame as the BBC often excel with period dramas, even on tiny budgets.

Another problem was the way the flashbacks put the viewer in Scrooge's POV too much, so we can see the events unfolding... but not Scrooge's reaction to them. This meant it felt like there were large stretches where we don't see the older Scrooge at all and thus miss key points of his awakening.

I also felt like some of those key points were danced over a little too lightly, lacking an emotional punch where there should have been one. Perhaps that's unfair as I'm so familiar with other productions which chose to deliver that punch, sometimes overdoing it, so it felt like something was missing when those moments came and went without ceremony.

All in all though, some good performances and very faithful to the text. Not great as an exercise in Adaptation, but well worth a watch. It's on YouTube in its entirety.
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Wildwood » Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:27 pm

Ha! I was just trying to decide which version of it I want to watch this afternoon! :D :D :D :D I think the Patrick Stewart one wins this time ,though. I absolutely love Mr and Mrs Cratchett in that one! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Hobbituk » Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:00 pm

Wildwood, given your views on adaptation when it comes to LOTR, do you have any similar views on A Christmas Carol? I must admit I'm more of a Purist myself with A Christmas Carol than anything Tolkieny.

I don't require it to closely follow the text in all circumstances... so Scrooged, or any of the very many "TV show X does A Christmas Carol" versions can pretty much do anything they like. And I have no objections to expanding on subplots or characters.

But in adaptations which are set in the time period, I'm a stickler for the film-makers using the spoken dialogue as written by Dickens. So adding bits in (like in The Muppets Christmas Carol) is absolutely fine, but replacing one of Dickens' fine turns of phrase with a far less elegant or more modern equivalent really gets my goat. It's just so completely pointless and unnecessary, and VERY irritating.

It also grates when they miss some of the finer points of the redemption, particularly when Scrooge 'gets the girl'. That is the very worst.
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Morwenna » Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:44 am

I watched the musical Scrooge yesterday, mainly for the music. I've seen it before, of course, but as an adaptation it leaves a LOT to be desired. Still, it is rather exuberant. And I like some of the music; I love the "Happiness" song!

Next Thursday TCM or one of those channels is going to have 5 different versions in a row, including the musical (again) and the Sim version. I'm soooo there! :D
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby MeadowForest » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:05 am

Got to be The Muppet Christmas Carol for me! A classic, great music and fun. Not to mention Michael Caine as Scrooge - brilliant!

I thought the Blackadder special was entertaining enough, as well. :)

Can't remember what other versions I have seen.
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby portia » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:23 am

It does sound dreadful. Doing away with the language is BAD. What Next re-written "Hamlet?"

I like the Alistair Sim version, and I recall liking the Patrick Stewart version on stage with no (or few) props.
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Morwenna » Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:45 am

I've never seen the Stewart one-man, only the TV movie. But I do have an audio of him reading the story.
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Wildwood » Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:55 pm

Hobbi, I agree with you!! :D :D :D :D :D I love it when they lift the text straight out of the story!! :D :D :D :D :D And when they do it in period, as you said, it is even more important. BUT I am not as hard-core purist about this one as I am about LOTR, etc. The themes are very important to me. I like seeing the old days, before Scrooge was Scrooged up by disappointment and heartache. I adore - absolutely adore - the ghost of Christmas present, when he says the bit about the insect on the leaf and his hungry brothers in the dust! Scrooge is so lost and lonely, he can't even see human suffering anymore! As for Christmas Future, it's all about those servants for me! Show me some emotion? Here ya go!! It's all you mean to anyone!

For me, the story is about that journey. If they get that part right, if it hits me in the gut, and I feel the transition from period to period, then I give wide latitude. But I do love it when they use the dialog right from the book, because its just EXCELLENT stuff! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

I love the Alistair Simm version so much! I vacillate so bad, between versions, trying to pick my favorite one. My favorite Cratchett family is definitely in the Patrick Stewart version. My favorite Ghost of Christmas Present is absolutely Edmund Guinn (sp?), from the George C Scott version. Even though they didn't let him say as much as I wanted him to, he got that scary intensity. So jovial and jolly, but then - all of a sudden - menacing and imposing too. For the depiction of the early days, I really like the Simms version best, I think. They put a lot into it! I could never name my favorite Scrooge, because I love them all! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D I think I am just a sucker for Redemption, when you get right down to it. :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Cock-Robin » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:35 pm

I have several copies of A Christmas Carol and its adaptations, some good, some not so good. I have made it a collection. I just got one that is a 1949 edition narrated by Vincent Price. Though not as good as others, Price's narration is priceless!

I heard Lionel Barrymore, who played Mr. Potter in It's A Wonderful Life, was about to be cast as Scrooge in a movie adaptation. But to our loss, he was ill when the casting happened, so Reginald Owen took his place. I can only dream of how Barrymore could have played Scrooge, as I have heard he did play Scrooge on a radio program.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmXUF6aUpRM
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Hobbituk » Sun Dec 07, 2014 7:28 am

Annual bump, as I already caught myself re-watching the Blackadder's Christmas Carol the other night. Very early to be watching it, but ah well, it's got to be done :)

Which one(s) are you planning to watch, anyone?
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby portia » Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:17 am

Alistair Simm's version was on cable, recently. I taped it. I loved it, all except the changed depiction of the Ghost of Christmas Past.
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Gungnir » Tue Dec 09, 2014 8:55 am

Alistair Sim's Scrooge is absolutely the best. But avoid the horrible colourised version
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Morwenna » Tue Dec 16, 2014 12:33 pm

I saw the Sim this year, and the Mickey. This week sometime they'll have the Stewart and the Owen; I'll probably catch them. I don't know if I missed the Scott. I think the Carrey has been on, but it may be on again. I know the Hicks is coming up; we'll see.

I want to see the Caine/Muppets again!! And the Magoo!!! ("We're despicable, we make ourselves plain sickable...")
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby portia » Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:29 pm

I am going to watch Stewart to-night.
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Morwenna » Fri Dec 26, 2014 9:42 am

The Magoo was on on Christmas Eve!! :D I hadn't seen it in SO long...
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Re: A Christmas Carol(s)

Postby Lalaith-Elerrina » Sun Jan 04, 2015 7:32 am

Sorry. It's into January, so this is a bit late. I really like the Magoo Christmas one, even though they switch the ghosts of Christmas past and present. That's minor enough not to worry about. The one with Mickey Mouse, I like too.
I didn't care for the movie Scrooged that was done back in the early ninties, and the 2001 one with Nicholas Cage was the only Scrooge I especially didn't like.
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