A Christmas Carol (1984)

by J.D. Cook

A Christmas Carol Our #4 Christmas Film
Released: December 17, 1984
Directed by: Clive Donner
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The definitive version of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol is the George C. Scott version from 1984. It perfectly captures the timeless tale on film. George C. Scott is the best Scrooge that I have ever seen play the character. He is wonderful as the angry bitter old Ebenezer; and even more wonderful as the joyous transformed Scrooge. His laugh is especially deep and heartwarming. The story is the same one we all love. Scrooge is a greedy old miser who is visited by four ghosts, one being Jacob Marley who forewarns him of the other three, who induce a fundamental change in his character for the better. This is a great story that has influenced countless other tales that flow far beyond the Christmas genre. Almost any time travel story that involves changing something that has not yet happened for the better has to claim just a tiny bit of influence from Dickens classic. Yet Dickens story is not truly focused on the supernatural spirits, the ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet to be, it is instead a study of Ebenezer Scrooge that uses the Spirits to give the viewer insight into what made Scrooge into the man he is in the modern day and into the man he is on Christmas morning. The reason this story stands the test of time is because at its core it is a character study.

That said there are great deal of motifs that populate this story. One of which is wealth accumulated for the sake of wealth accumulation. Dickens never seems to be saying that being wealthy is bad in the story. It isn’t the wealth that made Scrooge bad but the covertness of it and the value of it above people. By the end of the film we see him suddenly realize the value of his money for the first time when he uses it to help the poor, and buy a goose for his worker’s family. Scrooge also sees how his unfair employee policies affect his only employee inspiring him to give the man a raise. Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim (played by Anthony Walters) are played well in this version. Cratchit is portrayed by David Werner; perhaps best known by nerds as the voice of Ra’s Al Ghul in Batman the Animated Series.It should also be noted that this version of the film has a great setting and the music is fantastic during the scenes in which we see a young Scrooge neglected by his father.The best moment of the film comes when Scrooge wakes up on Christmas morning to discover he is not dead and has time to change his ways. Scott plays the role with such vibrant enthusiasm that you can’t help but feel happy yourself. I believe this film and story best illustrate that it’s never too late to change for the better.

The Twelve Film of Christmas

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