- Format: NTSC
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Average Customer Review: 243 customer reviews
- ASIN: 0780623746
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 139,127 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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A Christmas Carol [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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SCROOGE IS A MISERLY OLD BUSINESSMAN IN 1840'S LONDON. ONE CHRISTMAS EVE HE IS VISITED BY THE GHOST OF MARLEY, HIS DEAD BUSINESS PARTNER. MARLEY FORETELLS THAT SCROOGE WILL BE VISITED BY THREE SPIRITS, EACH OF WHOM WILL ATTEMPT TO SHOW SCROOGE THE ERROR OF HIS WAYS. WILL SCROOGE REFORM HIS WAYS IN TIME?
Standing out in the crowded field of screen adaptations of the classic Dickens novel A Christmas Carol is hard to do, but this version pulls it off. When a transparent Jacob Marley walks through Ebenezer Scrooge's apartment door, you know you're seeing something both timeless and contemporary. Other strategically placed special effects--a funnel cloud that transports Scrooge and the ghost of Christmas present, the hollow spectre of Christmas future--keep you riveted without slipping into anachronism. But, as good as the technology is, the performances are what really power this 93-minute television interpretation. Patrick Stewart brings a depth to Scrooge that allows the character to go beyond the cartoonish qualities that have made him a Christmas mainstay. That doesn't mean he's any less heartless with his hapless employee Bob Cratchit (Richard E. Grant) or any less dismissive of his well-meaning nephew. A frail-looking Joel Grey makes an excellent ghost of Christmas past, and a superb cast ably fill the remaining roles. Director David Jones, shooting on location in England and at Ealing Studios, has achieved a balance of science and sentiment that will help this version hold up for many years to come. --Kimberly Heinrichs
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Many "traditionalists" here criticize his decisions as an actor, but every choice he makes is perfectly motivated. One person was very upset that he did not anticipate his name on the tombstone until he actually saw it, but considering he does not even recognize his own room in which the body lies, this willful ignorance is not extraordinary. His fear of the body, as a neglected body, not as his own, is described in detail by Dickens in the book: "Oh cold, cold, rigid, dreadful Death, set up thine altar here." His sarcasm with Marley, the fact that he is still a curmudgeon after his awakening (just one that can laugh at himself) and his approach to just about every line (his quiet condescension as he says "I wish to be left alone") are clearly deliberate choices of one who knows the text VERY well. Traditional it is not, but it is believable and consistent, and the mark of a fine classical actor.
Other positive qualities of this production include (for the purists) that more detail from the story is found here than in any other version (although the Jim Carey cartoon takes a close second). For example, the ghost of Christmas present takes him to see the many "Christmas lunatics", as in the story. Usually his trips to the sea and to the mines are cut as extraneous, but here they also serve to tear him away from Fred's party, the one place he would like to be, and the one place he damned the day before. Fred's party is also the best of any production I have seen, as is the portrayal of Fred himself. I find it intriguing that the Ghost of Christmas yet to Come has the hand of a woman (although the costume is a bit obviously built up), and the I find the graveyard scene to be truly disturbing. Also, Joel Gray plays a Ghost of Christmas past that is both congenial and creepy.
It is beautifully filmed and will adequately "Spirit" up any house for Christmas, and you get more of the story than in any other production. Plus for the price you can't beat it. If you want a bit of Christmas spirit in combination with a bit of artistry, but don't want to spend alot of money, this will serve splendidly.
Also, my non-existent ideal Christmas Carol would include the Fred, Fred's party and the graveyard scene from this one, but that's just me.
Watching this always put me in a Christmas mood and I think it is something the whole family can enjoy again and again. Would recommend to others.
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