A Christmas Carol (1984 George C. Scott)
George C. Scott leads the cast in this classic tale of redemption, based on the Charles Dicken's novella, "A Christmas Carol". Four ghosts attempt to change Ebenezer's miserly heart on Christmas Eve.
I have long loved this tale. Since I was a small child, I loved the idea of redemption and reclamation. The terrifying Scrooge learning the lessons taught by the spirits becomes a better man. As I grew older, the story has just earned a brighter spot in my heart. And after the last few years, I see so much more of American society in desperate need of some spiritual guidance. I have been a part of several stage productions, from director to props manager to sound and light operator and I never get tired of this tale and each and every version has its own, unique strengths.
In 1984, George C. Scott lead the cast of an American / British television movie. It is a beautiful production with extraordinarily strong performances from the entire cast. Scott’s Ebenezer is different from most, often portrayed as an older frail man, shrewd and humorless but without physical strength, but Scott’s very size lends to a quite different take on the character. His imposing presence calls to mind the vision of a schoolyard bully. And this bullying is visually displayed in a scene at the stock market as he raises his price on corn, to the dismay of the other businessmen. He is also not devoid of humor, in fact, he finds himself very funny, heartily laughing as he says the line, “every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart”. He is almost cruel. In other productions, I often feel that Scrooge knows that what he has done was wrong and his defenses are mere excuses justifying his actions. In this production, Scott portrays a man that believes in his heart that he was right and dutifully justified in his actions. All of this makes his transformation at the end even more heartfelt.
David Warner’s Bob Cratchit is also not the timid man we often see, but a strong competent husband and father. His distinctive voice lends much to the rich nuances of the character, who must show fear, joy and grief as the story unfolds. Frank Finlay is a bit over the top as Marley’s Ghost, but does not seem out of place, and the interaction between the two are expertly done. Scott moves beautifully from disbelief through fear to acceptance and then back to disbelief. This is an exceedingly difficult scene to perform and this is one of the best! Angela Pleasence is warm and caring as the ghost of Christmas Past and Edward Woodward is the gregarious boisterous actor needed to portray the Ghost of Christmas Present. His joy and laughter is contagious as the spirit of Christmas should convey.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is as frightening to the audience as it is to Scrooge, a ominous screech accompanying the mute character as he shows Scrooge his doomed future. There is not a weak performance in the cast. The writing, directing and production value are all great quality. If you have not seen it, you should make it a new Christmas tradition.
Since I first saw this version in 1984, it has been my favorite production. It has its own sort of magic that encompasses all that is good and right in the season, which is desperately needed this year.
A Christmas Carol: Honor Christmas in You heart
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Acting - 10/1010/10
Music - 10/1010/10
Production - 10/1010/10
User Review( vote)