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A Christmas Carol [DVD] 
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George C. Scott plays the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in this version of the Dickens Christmas classic. Scrooge is a misanthrope unimpressed by the fuss everyone makes during the festive season. That is, until his sleep is disturbed one Christmas Eve by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, each of which takes him on a journey which helps him to open his heart to his fellow man and to thereby learn the joy of Christmas. Filmed entirely on location in the historic town of Shrewsbury.
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What a huge disapontment. Scott cannot act his way out of a paper bag and misses the character of Scrooge entirely. The ghost of Christmas past is just dull (think sociology teacher), Present is oddly tall and lanky (Edward Woodward on stilts but no machine pistol, the inclusion of which would have improved this for me no end), and Future is just funny; E.T. meets Big-bird. Yes they do get Ignorance and Want in there, and then entirely schmaltz it and miss the point as to why.
For my money the Muppet version is actually better!?! At least Michael Caine would appear to have read the book and understood the character. His emotions, furthermore, are conviningly portrayed where Scott's appear just read from an autoprompt. Oh and the frog Tiny Tim did not, unlike the lisping oddity in this version, actually move me to hurl tangerine rind and nut husks at the screen every time he appears.
My advice? Read the book aloud to each other, or for a serious film version get the Albert Finney version which has its merits. Failing that go for The Muppets; yes they do miss out Ignorance and Want, but Miss Piggy captures the essence of Mrs Cratchet entirely, Gonzo and Rizzo narrate the story very well, the Ghost of Christmas Past is haunting (I defy anyone to disagree), and the only critism for which I have is that they miss the oportunity to get a 'croak' gag in about Tiny Tim...
Christmas Day was always weird of course, namely because Mother insisted on cooking a different creature each year for 'experimental purposes.' Last year's Snowy Owl was not well received, mainly because we had specifically requested Tawny Owl, but Mother never listens!
So onto the film in question, which has been made into a staggering seven hundred and twenty two versions since Dickens first published the play back at the turn of the 17th Century. Everyone knows the story, so I won't dwell on that too much. In a nutshell, Abananza Scrooge is a miserly old shop worker. Measuring men for suits by day and getting drunk by candlelight at night. He is visited by several ghosts on Christmas Eve who aim to make him see the folly of his ways. The ghosts are alright, not scary enough though, excepting Michael Barrymore as the ghost of Christmas yet to come.
Dotted with a pleasing Christmas soundtrack, the likes of 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' and 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday' give the film a much needed festive feel.
The film is not without its downfalls though, namely the scene where Scrooge calls out to a street urchin and demands he go and buy him the plumpest goose. Everyone knows geese had not been invented at the time this film was set. Also, the scene where Scrooge spies on Bob Cratchitt's family, if you look carefully, you will see Cratchitt visibly has a George Foreman grill in his kitchen. Otherwise, a rousing film.
However most of them don't have much idea of what it was like in Victorian times - a murky past where people wore long dresses. It draws rather obviously on previous film versions but although Scrooge seems quite well acted he is not physically right for this part. It does help to convey the period and the way Scrooge slowly changes and comes around to another way of seeing things. Ponderous in places and the Cratchits should be poorer, why are film makers afraid of dirt and dust. London was filthy in Dickens' time, here it is too clean and polished. But then the story itself has a saccharine, sentimental quality with a race to the finish. How Tiny should Tiny Tim be? Scrooge is far too well built.
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