Different versions of A Christmas Carol

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MauEvig
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Different versions of A Christmas Carol

Post by MauEvig » Thu Nov 23, 2023 9:27 pm

"A Christmas Carol" is definitely discussed a lot, and I can certainly see why. It's kind of scary when you think about it, which visitations from ghosts and threats of eternal suffering in the future looming in the background if ol' Ebenezer doesn't change his ways.
But I'm curious what some of your favorite depictions are?
I definitely have a soft spot for the Muppet Christmas Carol. It's very creative, still gets plenty dark despite the presence of the cheery Muppets and has one of the best Scrooge depictions in my humbled opinion.
But I also like the Jim Carey depiction "A Christmas Carol." We're fans of ol' Jim, and he's great at stepping into the role of the greedy ol' miser. The entire movie is animated so they can do special effects that wouldn't otherwise fit as well into a live action movie.
The one I'm talking about is listed here: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1067106/
Although all of the movies basically tell the same story, they all have their own interpretations and twists on it.
There's also a more modern take on Scrooge called "Scrooged" which is fun and hilarious to watch with Bill Murray that came out in 1988.
I remember "An American Christmas Carol" had an interesting take on the tale because it took place in America during the Great Depression, starring Henry Wrinkler.
"A Carol Christmas" has another unusual twist, the "Scrooge" in this one is depicted as a woman and is depicted in a modern setting. It's not one of my favorites, but I feel like it stands out as a unique take on the story and it was a made for TV movie on the Halmark Channel.
And you can't forget Mickey's Christmas Carol. That one's definitely a classic.
But I'd have to say Disney's Animated Feature "A Christmas Carol" 2009 "A Muppet Christmas Carol" are my top favorites. I was originally going to title this "what's your favorite version of A Christmas Carol" but I thought it would be interesting to discuss how the different versions of this story are depicted. It's fascinating to me how there's so many different versions and interpretations of the story, and how this story really defined and became a staple of modern Christmas celebrations and traditions.
Oh and I almost forgot...Ebenezer Scrooge has his own game on Steam which I'm sure is going to be an exceptionally fun and different interpretation considering it's a 2D platforming game: https://store.steampowered.com/app/2351 ... 1_5_9__205
I plan to get it myself at some point. It looks really interesting! (According to the description, it's said to be a sequel where Scrooge is now a hero trying to save London with his connection to the spirit world. Fascinating! I never thought of A Christmas Carol as having a sequel! But I guess it makes sense for the previous miser to be depicted as a hero and protagonist in a game setting.)
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Re: Different versions of A Christmas Carol

Post by Murfreesboro » Thu Nov 23, 2023 11:16 pm

Oh, it's too late at night for me to respond as well as I should to this one. Dickens' Christmas Carol is my favorite secular story of the season. When I was 15, my mother gave me a facsimile of the first edition, and I have read it every Christmas of my life since. I also have the book The Man Who Invented Christmas, and the movie that was based on it, about how Dickens came to write it.

My favorite filmed version is George C Scott's (1984). There is much debate over this, of course, but for me, Scott is the best Scrooge. He plays Scrooge with high intelligence and even humor, which is true to the novella, but is rarely captured in drama. I also think Edward Woodward's Ghost of Christmas Present in that film is the best one, because he has a biting sarcasm, very true to the ghost as written. However, I would nominate Joel Grey's Ghost of Christmas Past from Patrick Stewart's version as the best depiction of that spirit, who is supposed to be simultaneously young and old. If you watch many different depictions, you'll see that the Ghost of Christmas Past varies widely. That's because his description in the book is downright surreal, and no one knows how to show him.

I finally saw The Muppet Christmas Carol for
the first time a year or so back. It is surprisingly good, and of course, Michael Caine is always a pleasure to watch.

It's very interesting to consider the role Dickens played in the revival of Christmas among English speaking peoples. I could talk for a while about that, but not tonight.

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Re: Different versions of A Christmas Carol

Post by Andybev01 » Fri Nov 24, 2023 3:01 am

I absolutely love the movie 'The Man Who Invented Christmas '!

When his characters start following him around...hilarious.
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Re: Different versions of A Christmas Carol

Post by Murfreesboro » Fri Nov 24, 2023 7:34 am

Oh, I like it, too. I think it must have bombed at the box office when it first came out, because it was released at Thanksgiving, but was no longer in theaters by Christmas. My birthday is Dec 22, and we often go out to dinner and a movie. That was the movie I wanted to see, but it was gone from the theaters already. For a Christmas-themed movie, that seemed unfortunate. But I couldn't wait to buy it when it finally came out a few months later. It has a superb cast and is both funny and poignant.

The way he gets pursued by his characters actually reflects what Dickens himself said about his writing process. He said when he was writing a novel, the characters became so vivid to him that they wouldn't leave him alone. Some people have speculated that he may have been Bipolar, because he would take lengthy walks all over London in the middle of the night when he was writing. It is one characteristic of mania.

The movie gives a very psychological reading of the Carol. A person might not agree with it, but I find it intriguing.

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Re: Different versions of A Christmas Carol

Post by Murfreesboro » Fri Nov 24, 2023 11:00 am

Has any of you seen the series Dickensian? It had only one season on PBS, I think because it was very expensive to produce. But it was a lot of fun for Dickens fans. It was a mash-up of his most famous novels, as if all the characters were co-existing in the same world. I mention it because the premise was that Jacob Marley had been murdered, and most people had a motive to kill him, so the whole season was a murder mystery. It was very clever.

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Re: Different versions of A Christmas Carol

Post by MauEvig » Fri Nov 24, 2023 2:00 pm

"The Man Who Invented Christmas" looks quite intriguing. I just went out and watched the trailer for it. It looks really good and I appreciate the recommend! And as an aspiring author myself I feel like I can relate to how the characters come to life in your head. :lol:

I haven't seen the Dickensian myself. A series about Charles Dickens? Huh. I know Dickens penned a lot of books, but A Christmas Carol is undoubtably his most famous writing.

I can certainly see why the Ghost of Christmas past is depicted in so many different ways. Yet the Ghosts of Christmas Present and Ghost of Christmas Future (or yet to come depending on the version) are typically depicted about the same.

I wonder if that's a metaphor for how the past is often skewed depending on how one looks back at it and remembers it? I might remember the past differently than one of my friend's might. Of course, it could also represent the past of a child and the past of an old man too?

I might have to go back and re-read the book. I vaguely remember reading it in 6th grade English class. I was fortunate enough to have teachers that had us read that book.

Maybe I'll have to go back and watch the 1984 version.

I feel like I've seen at least parts of the Patrick Stewert version, but he's such a good actor I feel like that one's worth a watch too.

The thing is the story is basically the same for all versions, and yet there's always a charming twist to it that makes each one unique.

I know a while back I made a discussion about the Grinch versus Scrooge and I can't help but wonder if the Grinch himself was inspired by Scrooge?

I know Scrooge McDuck obviously is, and he became the main protagonist of Ducktales and sort of became his own character from then on. I find that fascinating.

Not only is Scrooge iconic but he seems to have inspired a plethora of different characters over the years.
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Re: Different versions of A Christmas Carol

Post by Murfreesboro » Fri Nov 24, 2023 9:50 pm

I think the Grinch definitely owes a lot to Scrooge, though I do enjoy that tale in its own right.

Many people prefer Patrick Stewart's Scrooge to Scott's. Certainly he fits the part physically more than Scott does. I think Scott brings more humor to the role than anyone else I've seen, and that's what I like about his portrayal. He delivers some of Scrooge's outrageous remarks as jests, and I think that's true to the character Dickens wrote. Over the years I think Scrooge has hardened into a stereotype in the public mind, but Scott makes him very human, very believable. His performance is nuanced.

Interesting comments about Christmas Past. I think you are probably onto something, seeing him as a metaphor for memory.

I haven't watched Dickensian for a while, but I recall characters from a number of different novels--Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, The Old Curiosity Shop, Great Expectations, and Bleak House. I've read Great Expectations, which is often taught in school, and Bleak House, which many people regard as his masterpiece. Not so many read it, though, because it is quite long. I've seen film versions of Oliver Twist and Old Curiosity Shop. I think, if they'd gotten more seasons, they might have brought in some more. It was a lot of fun if you had any kind of familiarity with his oeuvre.

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Re: Different versions of A Christmas Carol

Post by Murfreesboro » Sat Nov 25, 2023 1:10 pm

Just a few years ago I learned that A Christmas Carol was probably influenced by Washington Irving's description of Christmas at an English country house in The Sketch Book. I think he'd visited England and had been entertained in that manner, which he then somewhat fictionalized. This would have been early 1820s. Dickens corresponded with him, so he was very aware of Washington Irving's work. People think his description influenced Dickens' depiction of celebrations in the Christmas Present section, although Irving did not write about ghosts.

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Re: Different versions of A Christmas Carol

Post by Murfreesboro » Sat Dec 02, 2023 8:34 pm

Maybe I'm talking to myself here, but I wanted to make a few comments about Dickens as "the man who invented Christmas." While it's true that Dickens aided greatly in popularizing Christmas, I think it would be more accurate to say he caught a wave. The English broke with their ancient Christmas traditions in the 1640s, when the Puritans, who disapproved of the holiday (pagan associations, drunkenness, etc), literally outlawed it. As a consequence, the English never really got the spirit back, even when the Puritans were ousted in 1660.

By the early 19th century, though, there was an increasing interest in the old ways. Antiquarians started publishing books of Christmas carols that no one had heard in centuries. So I'd say that Dickens didn't exactly "invent" Christmas, but he did help popularize it.

By the way, the Germans never stopped celebrating Christmas, and many of our cherished traditions come from them (trees and Christmas markets, for example).

As a kid I used to wonder why we always imagined Christmas as a Victorian-era holiday, when it is so much older than that. But now I know that among English-speaking people, our current celebration does date from the Victorians.

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Re: Different versions of A Christmas Carol

Post by Andybev01 » Sun Dec 03, 2023 12:44 am

Never underestimate the power of talking to yourself.⛄️

I appreciate all of the Christmas traditions, both secular and religious, but perhaps my favorite is Victorian excess.

Hang everything with silver and gold, haul out that holly and bedeck those trees until you'd be hard pressed to see any actual foliage underneath the frills.

I'm Spending this week at my brother's cabin on the coast, and my Christmas gift to them this year is decorating this place, as they don't usually have the time to do it.

A couple of weeks ago I was out thrifting and I found a white christmas tree that is actually modeled after white coral, Which is appropriate being the house close to the beach.

7' tall. LED pre-lit, $39.

It doesn't photograph well, it's amorphous like a spider web, and there's little to focus on.

The ball ornaments are clear iridescent plastic and the little bits of sea life are white or blue. I'm looking for a lighthouse or a lobster, or something similar, to use as a tree topper.
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Re: Different versions of A Christmas Carol

Post by Murfreesboro » Sun Dec 03, 2023 1:27 pm

What an amazing tree, perfect for a coastal cabin!

I've read in all the magazines that white trees are in this year.

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Re: Different versions of A Christmas Carol

Post by Murfreesboro » Sun Dec 03, 2023 7:23 pm

To return to the proper subject of this thread, does anyone else remember the 1960s cartoon version of Christmas Carol with Mr Magoo? I think I had it on VHS for a while, not sure I've ever seen it on DVD. I thought it was charming. It was a musical version, and the songs weren't half bad.

It wouldn't be PC today, because the humor of the Mr Magoo character was always that he was so nearsighted he was basically blind. People today would find that insensitive. I don't recall if they brought that into his depiction of Scrooge or not.

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Re: Different versions of A Christmas Carol

Post by Andybev01 » Mon Dec 04, 2023 1:42 am

I like that version mostly because Jim Backus was the voice of Magoo.
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All you that doth my grave pass by,
As you are now so once was I,
As I am now so you must be,
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Re: Different versions of A Christmas Carol

Post by Murfreesboro » Mon Dec 04, 2023 10:54 am

Yes, he was. I'd forgotten that.

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Re: Different versions of A Christmas Carol

Post by Murfreesboro » Mon Dec 04, 2023 4:09 pm

Andy, I showed your white coral tree to my daughter. She thought it was beautiful.

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