A Christmas Carol is the Dickens novella classic that has been adapted to big screen and small screen and the stage, and has been referenced / parodied countless times. The Muppets even did a special based on the novel. And, don’t forget Scrooge McDuck!
Many consider the 1951 film version starring Alistair Sim as the best representation of the tale.
Here are some basics:
The published title was: “A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas”
Ghost stories told around Christmastime were fairly common at the time, and popular. The story was a novella (not a novel). It was first published in 1843.
There were a number of printings, all selling out. Dickens read the story to audiences over a hundred times at readings.
The basic story centers around a man named Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited by the ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley. Marley tells Scrooge that he will be visited by three spirits, in succession. The three spirits represent stages in Scrooge’s life.
The Spirit of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to earlier, seminal moments in his life, a time when he was happy, but also to a time where he lost that faith and the light he had.
The Spirit of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to things that are going on currently that he is not aware of – how other people live, and how they feel about him.
The Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come takes Scrooge to a time where he has passed on, and again, how others feel about him, how he is treated (in death), and also what may happen to Tiny Tim, if Scrooge does not change his ways.
The novella begins with a great first line: “Marley was dead.” It is considered one of the great opening lines in literature. It brings one immediately into the story.
There have been many versions of the story, and one that both David and Troy recommend, beyond the 1951 film, is the 2009 animated version, starring Jim Carrey.
Scrooged, starring Bill Murray, has a fantastic opening, and is well worth watching, just for that. Look for cameos from Lee Majors; John Houseman; James Farr; and Mary Lou Retton.
Troy and David rate some of the films, and do their Dream Cast and Schrödinger’s Cast. The Dream Cast is where they take the best actors/actresses of all time, either living or dead, to play the roles. The Schrödinger’s Cast takes the same six roles, but has very unusual casting to fill the roles. Here are the roles they look at, and the actors that portrayed them in the 1951 film.
Spirit of Christmas Past
Spirit of Christmas Present
Francis De Wolff
(as Francis de Wolff)
Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come
(as C. Konarski)
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