Just a seasonal movie post today....
Published Tuesday, December 20, 2005 by lecram sinun | E-mail this post
And the seasonal movie post for today is... (drumroll)A Christmas CarolThis particular version (1951) is the one I recommend. I have seen several other versions and it is still this one that I always come back to. I like the version with Patrick Stewart for the design elements... and the fact that for the first time I think they got the Ghost of Christmas Past right - the whole cgi morphing young or old asexual quality. However, it is this one with Alastair Sim that speaks to me. For more detail, read Zonthar's recent post on this old chestnut.
Now, I do have a bit of history with this story... only because I had to adapt it for the stage several years ago. This was a couple of years after I had played the role of Scrooge in a musical version to Zonthar's Marley. (We have since reprised our roles several times in "our" version.) In an attempt to get out of playing the part in the musical version (yeah, I'm a theatre person who hates acting) I tried to scare me off the director by suggesting that I play Scrooge as a Jew. Of course I wasn't serious... I was just trying to get out of the gig... and what better way than to suggest something controvertial for a "family show". I justified this by explaining that 1.) He is the only kid who doesn't go back home for Christmas holidays.... hmmm... 2.) Dickens was probably doing a take on Merchant Of Venice...Scrooge is a money lender like Shylock... he even cites Shakespeare in the opening paragraph... both their names begin with the letter "S".... hmmm... hmmm... 3.) Disraeli, Fagin, yada yada... hmmm... hmmm...hmmm... it didn't work. I did the show and at final dress blew a touching monolog in the end by calling Marley... Bob. (There was also a curtain call where my shirt-tail stuck out of my fly from a not so perfect "quick change" backstager... the applause that night was thunderous BTW.)
Several years later, after reading over 40 odd scripts I decided to undertake the task of adapting it myself for the stage for my theatre company. (We needed a "money show" that year!) I hated the fact that almost all the versions were staged as a "pretty Victorian" drama. WTF??? (Have these people forgotten that Dickens wrote Oliver Twist, etc???) Upon reading the original story and doing some research (including snippets from Dicken's journals) I set it in industrial revolution England - not a pretty time. Workhouses, pick-pockets, hookers, and general dankness ruled. And most importantly we tried to get back to the "ghost story" aspect of the piece. Our version even had "handlers" who held a tight reign over Marley's chains who we jokingly referred to as Christmas Ninjas. Our Marley was more of the "pissed off - Fuck, I'm in Hell" character instead of the "woe is me" gentleman ghost. Zonthar still delights in the fact that people would jump out of their seats and children would burst out in tears at his entrance. BTW his entrance was from under Scrooge's bed and our Marley scene is still talked about around town. Thereminman composed and recorded a creepy soundtrack of disemboweled Christmas Carols that enhanced the effect that I was going for - it's a ghost story and NOT the Tiny Tim show, dammit! (check out the 2 samplings of his brilliant soundtrack below.... and to give yourself a good case of the Heebie Jeebies ) SSM played Scrooge in our last production of it. I can go on and on ranting about how this particular story is almost singularly responsible for the commercialism of Christmas today... but enough about our production.
Back to the movie... If you decide to pick this one up... For the love of God watch the Black & White version!!!! Which idiot thought it was a good idea to colorize this thing? Alastair is wonderful in it! The "old school" cheesy special effects work... especially the swirly hurricane of ghosts. And of all the versions... this one is closest to presenting the story... as a ghost story. (Can you tell this whole Ghost Story thing is big with me?)
Favorite Scene/s: Scrooge's transformation in the end... not so much a redemption in finding religion but more of an awareness that he had been missing out on the joy of life.
Sexiest Scene: Are you kidding?
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