Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Christmas Carol (1984)

A Christmas Carol (1984) with George C. Scott

This post is half short review and half a promotion of sorts for one of my favorite movies, and probably my very favorite Christmas movie.

Almost everyone as heard of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and can associate it with Scrooge, “bah, humbug”, etc.; in fact, it seems like if you ask someone about Charles Dickens, this is the only story they know about.

Most people have seen some movie version or other; whether it’s the Muppet’s version, or that weird new animated one, or a cartoon something-a-rather, or the one with Patrick Stewart; but it seems like no one has seen this gem, and I can’t figure it out, because it is, in my opinion, the best by far.  (Second best would probably be one of the black-and-white versions).
Spirit of Christmas Present and Scrooge

I can’t compare it too accurately to the book since I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but so far it follows the story and gets the important quotes quite right.

It isn’t silly and it isn’t really spooky like some of the others; it’s just right, and although it has its sad moments it all in all maintains that nice Christmassy feeling. Lovely old-fashioned air too, and you know I must be a great advocate for that!

Scrooge with his nephew and niece
Acting: very good; costumes: very good; this is not like an old 80s BBC mini-series (well, because it isn’t one), it is quite well-made.

And the music! The soundtrack is splendid. Those of you who are fans of The Scarlet Pimpernel will be pleased to know that it’s the same composer (Nick Bic√Ęt). It has several Christmas carols played and sung on the streets, and the songs composed for the movie are lovely as well! You can listen to the whole soundtrack (and buy it) online here: http://www.nickbicat.com/music/index/?id=20
Mr. and Mrs. Cratchit & some children
A tradition in our family ever since I can remember has been to watch A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve and eat special treats we have once a year. Then the ‘kids’ open one present each, and we sleep in the living room & admire the Christmas tree. Once the afternoon of the 24th arrives, it’s like the realization finally hits that it’s Christmas and I get really excited. ;-)
Needless to say, this is the version we usually choose to watch, and though I used to just take it for granted I’ve learned to love it on my own in the last year or two, and am looking forward to it more than ever this year!

I haven’t recognized many of the actors, but here’s a little piece of trivia: George C. Scott (Scrooge) and Susannah York (Mrs. Cratchit) star together as Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre in Jane Eyre (1970). They are far better suited to their roles in A Christmas Carol, though.


I couldn't find a trailer, but I like the first 20-ish seconds of this video:
And, you can watch the whole movie on YouTube...


What about you? Have any of you seen this version, or any of them? Have you read the book?

Merry Christmas!

8 comments:

Miss Dashwood said...

I knew you really liked this movie (from a comment you posted on my TSP review) and so on Saturday night when my family decided to watch a movie, I immediately suggested this. :) Unfortunately we couldn't get it off of Netflix, so we ended up watching the Muppets' Christmas Carol instead. *cough cough* it's called little siblings *cough*

It was actually really, really good. I'd recommend it, but I still wanna see this one.

I love movies that stick close to the book, and I've read ACC several times, so this version sounds right up my alley! Is the Ghost of the Christmas Yet to Come really creepy? That's one thing that has me a little concerned...

Anyway, I hope I can see this sometime!

Melody said...

Haha! Oh don't worry, I've already seen the Muppet's version. =) It makes me laugh a lot. ha A lot of fun quotes. =)
There's a couple interesting actor factors too; Young Scrooge - that would be the one who went walking away while Belle was singing her 'time for us to say good-bye' song - was the same actor who played Frank Churchill in the brown-haired Emma. ;-) But you haven't seen that. Pity.
Also, the nephew Fred? He played John 'Rokesmith' on Our Mutual Friend. I just figured that out when I was watching Muppet's CC with my sister last month. But you haven't seen that, either. ;-)
Of course they were both much younger on there.

Ha, well, The Ghost of Christmas Future is always a little freaky, but not enough to make me go running out of the room when I was 3 or 4 (which yes, I would have done). As I said, they didn't try to make this version "spooky", for which I am glad. Actually now the Future kind of makes me laugh because of it's long fingers pointing in a limp way while it has these creaking noises...
Anyways. It's not any scarier than the Muppet's version I'd say. ;-)

I hope you can watch it! Maybe this Christmas! =) Two or three people could watch it on the computer, I dare say.

Lauren said...

I have read the book (and it was the only Dickens book I liked), but I'm not too sure if I'd watch the movie. It's not a particular favourite book of mine. So I have never seen any of the movies.

But, I am wondering what age group you'd recommend this movie for? And how long is it? Would brothers enjoy it?

Thanks!

~Lauren

Melody said...

Which other Dickens stories are you acquainted with? There are some I don't like, but others I'm rather fond of. =)

It's hard for me to recommend an age group because personally I've been watching this movie (and other versions) ever since I can remember, since it's a tradition of ours. It's rated PG if that helps you; I think this would definitely be one of the better versions to show to children as it doesn't have the 'spooky' feeling some of them like to stick in there.

It's 100 min. (so that would be 1 hr. 40 min), which I probably should have mentioned in the post.

As far as brothers enjoying it, that would depend entirely on the brother! =) My dad and brother both enjoy it. Since you've read the book and know the general story, you might be able to tell whether your brothers would like it or not.

By the way, did you ever try another version of Jane Eyre?

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

My family and I watched this film for the first time on Sunday based on your previous recommendation. We really enjoyed it!
I have read the book a few times and this is the close adaptation I was looking for! It follows the book quite well and has so many charming moments! I'm quite surprised that the soundtrack is available for purchase and The Scarlet Pimpernel soundtrack too!

Miss Dashwood,
The Muppets Christmas Carol is one of my family's favorites, we've watched it at least once every Christmas. Such a sweet film! :)

Jessica said...

I am looking forward to watching this Christmas Eve. :-) I insist on keeping this tradition, although a "certain member" of our little family is always reluctant. Ha It seems most Australians don't quite get this story. They think it's strange. More is the pity...

Lauren said...

Hi Melody

Thanks for replying to the comment! I found your comment to be very helpful ( ;

The other Dickens book I have read is Oliver Twist and the start of a Tale of Two Citys. And I really didn't like a tale of two cites.

I haven't got around to watching the Jane Eyre movie yet. Although I am sure I will some time. We have been very busy lately.

Melody said...

Jessica,
Yes, more IS the pity! =(

Lauren,
Ah, I see. The Charles Dickens stories I like aren't those ones (and I haven't read any except A Christmas Carol), but some movies I enjoy are Little Dorrit (minus a few scenes), Nicholas Nickleby, Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend ...David Copperfield was pretty good too, and I might be forgetting something. ;-)
Little Dorrit is definitely my favorite. It's about a girl, too.

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