The character of Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes
Bob Cratchit - Scrooge's clerk, a kind, mild, and very poor man with a large family. Though treated harshly by his boss, Cratchit remains a humble and dedicated. Bob Cratchit is a fictional character in the Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol. The abused, underpaid clerk of Ebenezer Scrooge Cratchit has come to. Scrooge and Bob Cratchit No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Away they all went, twenty couple at once; hands half round and back again the.
And therefore, and therefore, I am about to raise your salary! Scrooge chases one off without even opening his office door. Possibly Creepy Twinsthough it's never specified. The Ghost of Christmas Present keeps a silent, wraith-like boy and girl — Ignorance and Want, respectively — under his cloak, telling Scrooge that they are mankind's children, born of poverty.
Cruel to Be Kind: However, this is in the efforts to avoid that future. This also applies to the other ghosts, including the otherwise jovial Ghost of Christmas Presentwho pulls no punches in throwing Scrooge's own words back at him. Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: When Ebenezer declines Fred's invitation to attend a Christmas party and Fred urges him not to be cross, Scrooge gives the following response: If I could work my way, every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled in his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart!
Dark Is Not Evil: Lampshaded by Scrooge himself, who states that whilst he fears this ghost more than any of the others, he knows it is acting for his benefit and so follows it without question. Scrooge has one with Jacob Marley, where Marley informs Scrooge of just what awaits him if he keeps being such a crotchety old miser.
A Christmas Carol Film Adaptations - Best and Worst Movie Versions.
Thanks to the sign above his door, some people call Scrooge by Marley's name as well as his own. Scrooge answers to both names, as it's all the same to him. You're quite a powerful speaker, sir. I wonder you don't go into Parliament. A short while later, after Fred leaves, and Bob Cratchit wishes him a merry Christmas: There's another fellow, my clerk with fifteen shillings a week, and a wife and family, talking about a merry Christmas; I'll retire to Bedlam.
And when Marley's ghost visits Scrooge in his home: Seven years dead, and traveling all the time? The whole time; no rest, no peace.
Incessant torture of remorse. On the wings of the wind. You might have got over a great quantity of ground in seven years. Marley's ghost wears heavy chains as penance for his sins in life. Did Not Get the Girl: Scrooge does not end up with Belle.
The fact she dumped him around Christmastime helped contribute to his hatred of the holiday. Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Scrooge mocks Marley as being an Acid Reflux Nightmarethen threatens to invoke the trope on himself by swallowing a toothpick whole. Marley promptly scares the daylights out of him with a marrow-chilling howl. With money, not alcohol. Scrooge's fate in the visions of Christmas to come.
No one cares that he's dead; some even celebrate it. And he's only put in a grave as a matter of formality. Earn Your Happy Ending: Scrooge vowing to change his ways and become a good man earns him a second chance at life, and it's so implied that he did manage to avoid the same fate the Jacob Marley did. The Ghost of Christmas Past comes quite close to this. It has no defined form, no obvious gender and keeps changing in appearance.
It calls quite close to the description of angels, who themselves were examples of this trope. The Ghost of Christmas Present foresees Tiny Tim's empty chair and his crutch tucked into a corner by next year's Christmas if things do not change from their current course of events. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come does him one better and shows Scrooge the empty chair, along with Tim's grieving family. They can detect it in Scrooge, anyway.
He's not necessarily evil, but he's truly a bitter man towards everyone, including his only living relative Fred.
He gets better in the end. Extremely Short Time Span: The visions encompassing several decades notwithstanding, the story takes place between close of business on December 24th, and ends shortly after opening on December 26th.
Lampshaded by Scrooge, who assumes that Christmas Past took the whole night and that Christmas Present is the next night and is shocked when he realizes that he's woken up on Christmas Day. Peter Cratchit's collar isn't comfortable, but he's still proud to be wearing it. He doesn't get a happy ending either. A Foggy Day in London Town: The fog is mentioned several times in the novel. The Christmas Day feasts are described in as much mouth-watering detail as possible. Seeing how many of Scrooge's unpleasant memories happened at Christmas time, as shown in the Christmas Past sequence, it's little wonder he's so down on the holiday.
It's implied he spurns his nephew because the lad reminds him of his dead sister. In-universe, when the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come leads him to a graveyard, Scrooge realizes it resembles the Grim Reaper and becomes newly fearful of it. Scrooge isn't remembered with any fondness in the future shown to him by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
Future Me Scares Me: Well, yes, being a white corpse wrapped in a sheet while people on the streets either laugh at your death or are glad that you are dead is a pretty scary thought.
Scrooge at first mistakes Belle's daughter for her. Scrooge is a much happier man when he opens his heart to others. Good Is Not Nice: The Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come is the most famous example, but all three ghosts are fairly harsh on Scrooge - particularly Present, who is incredibly sardonic. Marley's ghost wears a bandage around his head to keep his jaw from hanging down, unhinged, and at one point takes it off in order to frighten Scrooge even more.
Scrooge is the Trope Codifiereven though most adaptations of the story play up this trait more than the original work. Scrooge spends most of the story in a dour mood about Christmas, contrary to everyone else in Dickens' Victorian London making merry.
Amusingly inverted at the end of the story. Scrooge pretends he is about to blast Bob for being late, then suddenly announces that he's going to raise his salary, then laughs and shouts "Merry Christmas"! Hanging Up on the Grim Reaper: The story employs this for Scrooge, who is first visited by the ghost of Jacob Marley who warns him of his impending doom. He doesn't take it seriously and so is later visited by three ghosts of Christmas; the last one, in particular, makes him beg for a longer life so that he can enact the moral learnt from the three.
Cratchit, Fred and his wife, The Fezziwigs, and Belle and her husband. Have a Gay Old Time: Meanwhile, "Total Abstinence Principle" was a phrase commonly associated with teetotaling, i. Yes, Dickens is indulging in a pun. There's a whole paragraph, during the scene where the Ghost of Christmas Future is showing Scrooge the body on the bed, which is basically a meditation on death. But of the loved, revered, and honoured head, thou canst not turn one hair to thy dread purposes, or make one feature odious.
And see his good deeds springing from the wound, to sow the world with life immortal! But everybody already knows that. Jacob Marley died on Christmas Eve, and if Scrooge doesn't reform, so will he. It was stated how good his word was when it was mentioned he was one of those who signed Jacob Marley's death certificate.
So he's not dishonest; he's just heartless. If its physical description is to be believed, the Ghost of Christmas Past certainly qualifies.
It looks human, but it's impossible to tell if it's old or young, male or female - and it flickers like a candle flame, so that it looks like it has multiple heads or other limbs. Scrooge himself is described in such terms early on, as the cold within him froze his features, made his eyes red and his lips blue, and made external heat and cold have no effect on him whatsoever.
It is Christmastime of course, so this is the time of year that gets the best out of everyone. I Gave My Word: Belle can see that Scrooge doesn't love her any more and that he intends to stick by their engagement only because he sees it as a contract he's bound to. She decides it's better for them both if she releases him from the obligation. I Hate Past Me: Upon witnessing them firsthand, Scrooge is decidedly not proud of his past self's actions. Though the cause of his illness is never specified, tuberculosis, polio, or renal tubercular acidosis seem like good candidates.
Rickets is another one. Medical papers on Tiny Tim are numerous. Fred, Bob Cratchit, and Tiny Tim compete to see who best exemplifies this.
Fred is always jovial, Bob is a good man caught with a terrible boss, and Tiny Tim is purely innocent in every respect. Christmas Present considers it a serious likelihood that Tiny Tim will die, and Christmas Yet To Come shows Scrooge the future in which this happens, complete with the full emotional repercussions on the Cratchit family.
Scrooge considers his nephew Fred to be "poor"; in reality Fred, while not wealthy lives a comfortable middle-class life and makes at least enough to afford a live-in housemaid.
This shows us how stingy Scrooge is. Actually, just shadows of things that had been, are, and will be happening.
Used twice, both times by the Ghost of Christmas Present to Scrooge. The relevant parts are bolded below. Oh, no, kind Spirit! If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, none other of my race will find him here.
If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Have they no refuge or resource? Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?
Jacob Marley is forever chained to moneyboxes and safes, symbolizing his greed - all his wealth in life is now beyond useless to him. Scrooge sees other ghosts of rich men he knew, roaming the streets of London - now they're forced to witness firsthand the misery of the poor whom they scorned to help in life. I've Come Too Far: Once Scrooge stops defending his wretched behavior he begins insisting that it's too late for him to change and to make things right. The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come convinces him that he has to try anyway, no matter how hopeless it seems.
Belle reasons that Scrooge would only be miserable and filled with regret if he married a poor girl like her, so she breaks off their engagement. Worn by exactly whom you thinkalthough Scrooge notes that the trope is older than that and ghosts in haunted houses are often said to drag chains. Dickens adds the twist that Marley's chains are made from the moneyboxes and ledgers that symbolize his selfish ways. Marley is also dressed in the clothes he was wearing when he died, but has the added accessory of a scarf that was bound around his jaw to keep it shut in the coffin.
Jacob Marley represents what could happen to Scrooge if he doesn't mend his ways. Morphing into Jerkass Woobie as more of his background is revealed. Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As uncaring and callous as Scrooge is he isn't evil, he's simply a good person who has forgotten what it means to be good.
When he's reminded of how much fun he had working for Fezziwig he instantly realizes how horribly he treats Bob Cratchit and wants to make amends for it. And spending just a few moments in the presence of Tiny Tim is enough to make Scrooge horrified at the idea of him dying.
Much of the first chapter is largely an exercise in showing how mean and bitter Scrooge is, but his line about letting the poor die off is particularly thoughtless and cruel.
Although he doesn't advocate outright killing the poor, Ebenezer Scrooge does advocate the poor offing themselves Solicitor for the Poor: Many would rather die than go there [to prison or to a workhouse]. If they'd rather die, then they had better do it and decrease the surplus population. As with a lot of Dickens' books. Take, for instance, this little digression at the beginning of the story: I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail.
I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. Tiny Tim's illness is not necessarily fatal, it is just that the Cratchits are too poor to afford treatment, which is why he dies in the alternate future.
So when Scrooge has his change of heart and increases Bob's salary, Tim doesn't succumb to his illness. Lonely at the Top: The opening notes that Scrooge was the sole mourner at Marley's funeral seven years before, and he he wasn't too broken up about it as he did a lot of business that day.
Married to the Job: Belle accuses Scrooge of being this. The Ghost of Christmas Present had more than 1, siblings presumably all deceasedeach representing a year of Christmas. Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The question is left open whether Scrooge's visitation by spirits was real or All Just a Dream.
The word "scrooge" was originally slang for "to squeeze", as in Scrooge's tight-fistedness. The Ghost of Christmas Past's physical appearance, which was allegedly so confusing that the book's original illustrator didn't even attempt to draw it. The story goes from bleak and depressing, to scary, to cheerful, to sad, to cheerful again, to scary and sad, to extremely sad, to scary again. It then lastly ends on a cheerful note. Scrooge associates the Ghost of Christmas Present with the sort of blue-nosed Moral Guardians who want bake shops closed on Sunday.
The Ghost gets pissed and angrily dismisses any connection between angels like himself and the Moral Guardians. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.
An in-universe example; the narrator considers Fred's laughter to be this: Introduce him to me, and I'll cultivate his acquaintance. Marley was one when he was alive. Scrooge is at least honest with people's money, but he's such an old miserly jerk that everyone presumes he's morally corrupt. When Fred invites Scrooge to Christmas dinner.
He went the whole length of the expression, and said that he would see him in that extremity first. The term "scrooge" has become slang for a miser, especially a bitter one.
There are so many good people in this story. Dickens names four of Bob Cratchit's children—Peter, Belinda, Martha, and of course Tim—but a younger son and daughter are mentioned but not named. Fred's wife also is not named. The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, who is completely shrouded, his true form always just out of sight. It makes sense in that he's the embodiment of a man's blindness toward his own future.
Erroneously expecting the Ghost of Christmas Present to come to his bedside on the second night at 1 o'clock, it's stated that nothing between a baby and a rhinoceros would have surprised him much.
When nothing happens, he freaks out. It turns out the Ghost was actually waiting for him in Scrooge's living room. The book never specifies exactly what Scrooge's business is. He's referred to as being hard on his debtors, which implies that he's a moneylender.
They turn to mingle with the Victorian clad cast, who break into a rousing rendition, entitled An Old Fashioned Christmas, for which Johnny Desmondplaying the part of Fred, takes centre stage amidst a gaggle of gregarious extras who dance, fawn, kiss and pirouette their way through an opening number that soon gets your foot tapping along to the rhythm.
As the dulcet tones drift off into the ether, Fred, wishes them all a merry Christmas and pushes open a door, over which we see the names of "Scrooge and Marley", and there he is, the wizened form of Basil Rathbone, crouched over his desk, scribbling away with his quill pen.
And then, Basil Rathbone does something that his agent really should have advised him not to do - he sings. Well, I think that's what he's doing. Mind you, he does manage to rhyme St Nicholas with ridiculous, so, I'll give him that one and move on.
Bob Cratchit remains awkwardly in the background for this scene, only coming to the fore - or in this case the door - when Fred leaves and the two charity collectors enter the counting house. One of them, played by John McGiver, appears to have over imbibed in the Green Room, and slurs his lines in such a way as to suggest the early arrival of the festive spirits, but perhaps it's just a fault on the recording. We get a series of blandly forgettable exchanges between Scrooge and Bob Cratchit, and between Scrooge and Mrs Dilber, before the pace picks up with the arrival of John Heawood as "'arry 'awkins, rag picker at you service", and the Four Lads return to join him in a foot stomping number entitled "The Stingiest Man in Town.
We get another musical ditty about how Scrooge should repent, after which he learns what the night has in store for him, and then Santa Claus appears in his bedroom, who, so it transpires, is, in fact, the Ghost of Christmas Past. Pay attention at the back. The ghost and Scrooge simply discuss Scrooge's school days, as opposed to actually visiting them; but we then get a festive treat of dancing, swirling and twirling through Fezziwig's feast, before Vic Damone treats us to one of the most excruciating younger Scrooge's never committed to celluloid, and demonstrates his love for his sweetheart, Betty in this version, by, quite literally, building a wall of gold between them, although in the next song he claims he's "built a wall of gold around us.
But, the shock of how mature Peter is, pales into insignificance when Bob Cratchit staggers in, with the biggest Tiny Tim I've ever seen balanced, precariously, on his shoulder. As Bob struggles to set the lad down, you can sense the collective concern that poor old Martyn Green, who plays the role of Bob, might well collapse from a coronary before Scrooge has had the chance to double his wages.
Mind you, you have to take your hat off to Dennis Kohler, playing the part of Tiny Tim, who, later in the scene, struggles to chew his way through a stubbornly tough slice of goose, while Robert Wright, as the ghost, blasts a song in his ear, and the camera remains in close up on his face for an inordinately long amount of time. To think, the poor lad endured all this on live TV.
Scrooge then heads over to eavesdrop on nephew Fred's Christmas celebrations and, following what would have been another ad break, the Four Lads return to "Holly Ho, Holly Ho, Ho, Ho" us into the Christmas Yet to Come segment of the story, which, if I saw it correctly, begins with Scrooge, apparently, picking his nose, in nervous anticipation of the arrival of this particular bogey. In strides the ghost, bearing such a striking resemblance to Darth Vader that you expect its first words to be, "Scrooge, I am your father.
And then, Basil Rathbone does something that, even his dentist should have advised him that he really shouldn't do - he sings again. As the shock wears away, and Scrooge clutches at the spirit's robe, begging it to intercede on his behalf, Scrooge finds himself back in bed; and we follow him through his Christmas morning redemption, as he heads out onto the snowy studio floor, to make amends with all those his old self has offended.
His final call is to the Cratchits' house where, having sought Bob's forgiveness, he seeks to enlist Tiny Tim's assistance in changing the future. However, no sooner have the words left Basil Rathbone's lips, than Tiny Tim bursts into song, and screeches - in a voice that can only be described as sounding like a cross between finger nails being dragged across a blackboard and the Hound of the Baskervilles being castrated with a pair of bricks that have been wrapped in barbed wire, before being dipped in liquid nitrogen - "Yes there is a Santa Claus for children everywhere Thankfully, the Four Lads reappear to "Holly Ho, Holly Ho, Ho, Ho" us to safety, as the camera pans out, and we bid farewell to what has, most certainly, been a festive feast of heart-warming nostalgia.
I have to say that, although it has its flaws, and it can, in parts, look and sound dated, this production has a comfortingly reassuring charm about it; and the fact that it was all done live is a truly impressive feat, and one that I doubt many modern TV producers and directors could pull off, even with today's high tech wizardry. There are some excellent performances - and Basil Rathbone, whilst, perhaps, not the greatest Scrooge ever, certainly puts in a watchable performance.
Magoo's Christmas Carol, which first aired on NBC on 18th Decemberhas the distinction of being both the first animated Christmas Special ever produced for television, and the first animated version of Dickens novella. We first encounter Quincy hands up all those who didn't know his first name was Quincy Magoo, "Broadway's Beau Brummel," driving the wrong way down a one way street en route to the theatre where he is, according to the critical notices that pepper the opening sequence, wowing audiences with his critically lauded version of A Christmas Carol.
Following a series of Magoo type mishaps, he dons his costume and joins his fellow cast members on stage, at which point we take our place in the auditorium as the curtain rises on our myopic matinee idol in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. Which means that the TOTN listeners voted a fictional character, playing the role of a fictional character in a fictional play as their favourite Scrooge ever! And, do know what? They might well have a point, as he makes a pretty darned good job of it!
Fitting the story in to a 60 minute TV time slot meant that sacrifices had to made. However, the scenes that are included remain reasonably faithful to the book and Magoo actually delivers many of Dickens original lines verbatim without, as has happened in several recent versions, any attempt to alter or simplify them in order to make them understandable to modern ears.
For some reason, the first of Scrooge's three visitations is the ghost of Christmas Present, who tells Scrooge, "you have never seen the like of me before," eliciting the response, "I'm not sure I see the like of you now.
- With Albert Finney As Scrooge
- Bob Cratchit at Work
- Bob Cratchit at Play
The second spirit to appear is the Ghost Of Christmas Past. There is a genuinely moving sequence when Scrooge places a comforting, transparent arm around his younger self as they sing "I'm all alone in the World" One thing that struck me towards the end as the reformed Scrooge goes about dispensing huge bags full of his beloved gold coins - and the moral here does seem to be that money can buy everybody happiness - to all the poor he had previously despised is what if Scrooge is only doing it in the hope that it will make them as miserable as it made him?
Apart from several verbal references to Magooo's short sightedness, the production is free from the usual Mr. Magoo style catastrophes until the curtain call when Magoo drags the director onto the stage and, as he does so, manages to quite literally, bring the house down.
However, given that this version, airing as it did regularly in the 's, 70's and 80's, was, for many adults, their introduction to Dickens classic, it would be churlish to find too much fault with it and, in honesty, it is still enjoyable and the songs, written by Jules Styne Music and Bob Merill Lyricswho shortly after this special collaborated on the musical Funny Girl and are, actually, quite memorable and, in a strange sort of way, rather haunting.
Making his way upstairs, to the strains of distant voices warbling on the night breezes, he raises a clenched fist to knock on a door. But suddenly the haunting melody that accompanied his journey breaks into "Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me" and he turns and walks away, evidently not yet ready for a Christmas Eve encounter with the three spirits of the Andrew Sisters. The camera though has no such reservations and, ghost like, it continues its journey through the door and into the room, where the silhouette of a lone figure sits in a high back arm chair, and the disembodied voices swirl around the room urging him not to go walking down lovers lane with anyone else.
Evidently, this man is no fan of the Boogie Woogie Bugle Sisters from company nine, and proceeds to switch his gramophone off without even bothering to first lift the stylus off the record. Thus we hear, and I think I took this down correctly, "I just got word from a girl who heard from therrrrr guurrrrrrr nxtster ter taaahhhhhhhhhhh merrrrrrrrawwwwwwaaaaaaa waaaa, warrrrrr It's even spookier when the man, who by his pained expression is a troubled man, goes to leave the room and the song starts playing again of its own volition, without the stylus actually being on the record.
He is going to be haunted by the Andrew Sisters. Thus are we treated to one of the most unusual introductions to Ebenezer Scrooge, or as he is in this case, Daniel Grudge, ever to have been committed to film. However, the story of how this mid's re-working of the Carol came to be made in the first place is every bit as unorthodox as the opening we have just witnessed.
For, bizarrely, Carol For Another Christmas was brought to us by no less an organisation than that well known maker of blockbuster movies, The United Nations, who hijacked Charles Dickens immortal story to launch a charm offensive on the people of America, and, as charm offensives go, they made a bit of a hash of it. It's one thing to get a message across in a subtle and understated fashion, it's quite another to stuff your message into a sock and whack the viewer over the head with it.
The programme itself was produced by the Telsun Foundation standing for Television Series for the United Nationsan organisation which had been founded in an attempt to tackle widespread hostility towards the United Nations amongst the American people. Unfortunately, for various reasons, NBC and CBS declined to become involved and thus the first of these "Specials" Carol For Another Christmas aired on just one network, ABC, on 28th Decemberand viewers sat down to watch the aforementioned opening sequence as the spectral voices of the Andrew Sisters drifted through the corridors of the old house that Daniel Grudge, who is evidently a man of extreme wealth, appears to share with nobody but his African-American butler.
And, it has to be said, as opening sequences go, it is gripping and quite spooky. If they'd kept this momentum going we'd have a genuine marrow chiller of a film. But it quickly becomes apparent that scaring the pants off us with a cracking ghost story for Christmas is the last thing on the mind of the programme's writer, Rod Serling, which is a great pity since, as his other achievements include being the creator of the Twilight Zone, as Christmas creepers go, this one most certainly had potential.
As we watch, Daniel heads downstairs to be greeted by his nephew, Fred, who has dropped by to ask "I wonder if we could talk? Some perverted mass murderer who's seen the light and wishes to assume his rightful place in society, as an alternative to the electric chair?
A movement to donate the Mississippi to the Sahara Desert? It transpires that Fred is mightily miffed that Uncle Daniel has gone and nobbled a cultural exchange programme whereby one of the professors at Fred's university was due to spend a year lecturing abroad, whilst, in return, a professor from abroad was due to spend a year lecturing in America.
You don't really expect me to be a party to inviting one of them in here now do you? He could almost be a card carrying member of the John Birch Society. Daniel then treats Fred to a terrific updating well an updating to and the Cold War years of Scrooge's berating of all and sundry at the beginning of the original Carol. Your responsibility happens to be your classroom. Do you insist upon making it a better World? Wont you die happy until you do? Do you insist upon helping the needy and the oppressed?
Is that some kind of an itch that you can't stop scratching? Then tell them to help themselves. Let them know the cash draw is closed and make them believe it. You'll be surprised how much less needy and oppressed the needy and oppressed turn out to be. His fine young body turned into a bundle of bleeding garbage I give them a son and they give me back his effects. We also learn that, according to Fred, Daniel "mourns the death of Marley less than you mourn your own personal loss of him.
Run that one by me again Fred. What are the Andrew Sisters doing these days? Fred then chides his uncle that he will go on feeling the pain until "you realise the true tragedy of Marley's death. Not that your son was killed by another man's son, but that mankind still allows such dying to happen. You find yourself wondering.
Daniel, though, is having none of this lily-livered liberalism, and his parting "Christmas present" to his nephew is a homily in which he tells him to put all his energies into "developing the fastest bombers and the most powerful missiles on Earth, they'll provide a lot more security for our young, and for the rest of the World's young than all of your debating societies, forums, treaties and other forms of surrender and handout But Fred has a parting salvo for his uncle. And then you realise, if you've not twigged already, that the purpose of this version of the Carol isn't so much to move and scare you as to preach at you.
So, for the next hour, the dialogue is peppered with grim facts and even grimmer statistics that, whilst highlighting the horrors of war, and the threat of an impending nuclear catastrophe, manage to, and I hate to be picky about this, put a right dampener on Christmas. The central message here isn't so much "God bless us, Everyone" as "God save us, Everyone. So long as you talk you don't fight When we stop talking, we start swinging, and then we bleed. Then we got problems, like winding up dead.
But to do so is to do so with hindsight and, in many ways, this was a brave piece of programming for Christmas ,when the World was genuinely looking the prospect of nuclear annihilation square in the face. Over the next 12 months more American sons would start heading off, in ever increasing numbers, to die or be maimed in a foreign country called Vietnam, and parents across the land would be asking the same question that Daniel Grudge is asking. It's just that the preachy, self righteous way it goes about making its point starts to grate very early on and you start wishing that Mr.
Magoo would turn up and lighten the mood a little. With Fred having departed, Daniel goes to close the front door and, as he does so, there in the glass he sees a reflection of his dead son, Marley. Hoorah, you think, the sermon's over. Turning, Daniel glances through the door to the dining room, and there he is again, Marley, occupying the place his doting dad has been setting for him at the table for the last 20 years. Except, when he looks again there's no sign of him.
Here come the creepy bits, you think. Suddenly, the plaintive voices of the Andrew Sisters break the silence, and Daniel casts a concerned glance upstairs, just as Charles, his loyal butler, shuffles past, evidently oblivious to the ghostly tones. Oh this is getting good. But then, something truly bizarre happens. Marley fails to appear at all. Apparently, the ghost of Marley was meant to have been played by Peter Fonda, which is why the portrait in Daniel's house bears an uncanny resemblance to him.
But, for reasons that have never been explained, his scenes were cut from the finished programme. So, without knowing why it's happening, which, after all, was the reason for Marley's appearance in the first place, poor old Daniel finds himself on board a ship on a foggy night and, without so much as a by or leave - nor, for that matter, a word of explanation - he comes face to face with crooner Steve Lawrence, dressed as an infantryman with the World War One American Expeditionary Force AEF.
Daniel appears as confused as we are. After all, like us, he's not had the benefit of Marley having dropped by to put all this into context. We're quite a stew. But the exchanges between him and Grudge are so top heavy with UN propaganda and pro-isolationist rhetoric - the latter being clumsily scripted to show the absurdity of such a stance - that you find yourself in the strange position of not being sure whether you should reach for the mistletoe or a missile. And so we follow Grudge through his Christmas's past and present and on to the future which, as it transpires surprise, surpriseis a post-apocalyptic future where the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, played by Robert Shaw, can't tell Grudge what year they've arrived in because no-one saw the necessity for calendars " As the final credits roll, you feel utterly drained, as you mutter to yourself that you will try to be a better human being.
But, all joking and cynicism aside, Carol For Another Christmas does have a certain nostalgic charm about it and the performances from the various actors are gripping, albeit depressing. There is a bizarre moment early on when Fred, Scrooge's nephew, turns up at the counting house and, for some reason, feels it necessary to burst into song, accompanied by a full orchestra playing from somewhere deep within the depths of Scrooge's counting house!
Since it's the only musical number in the whole programme, you can't help wondering if he did it simply to annoy his crotchety old uncle even more! Scrooge, however, gives as good as he gets and responds with a rasping musical retort, only to be rebuked, in song again, by Fred and his hidden orchestra.
At which point, Bob Cratchit - who, by the fawning look he gives him seems to have developed a massive crush on young Fred - interjects with a half-hearted handclap and an encouraging "here, here," whereupon Scrooge brings the ditty to an abrupt halt, and, presumably out of concern for Bob's blood pressure, musical numbers are banned from the rest of the film.
Either that, or the film's budget would only stretch to one musical number. Marley's ghost is particularly spooky, albeit Scrooge seems to black out several times throughout the visitation and, during his conscious moments, manages to, mysteriously, materialise in different parts of the room with such seamless dexterity that it's a wonder the ghost doesn't get fed up of trying to focus on him, call it quits, and tell him to stay miserable for the rest of his life.
All in all though, this version makes a good effort at re-telling the story, and its target audience - of which, given the fact is was made inI was one - would, no doubt, have loved it.
With Albert Finney As Scrooge Byfoot stomping musical versions of Dickens works had become the order of the day. We'd had Oliver and Pickwick and so the time seemed right to give Dickens Christmas classic the full razzle-dazzle musical treatment - they had a head start with this one since Dickens had, after all, written it in staves as opposed to chapters.
Thus Scrooge, in the robustly miserable form of Albert Finney, waltzed onto the screen, accompanied by a cast of all singing, all dancing, classically trained authentic working-class cockneys.
The sets really do capture the flavour of Victorian London, although I suspect there would have been a little less singing and dancing in the more poverty stricken parts of the 19th century Metropolis. Alec Guinness drops in as an, initially, quite camp Jacob Marley.
In fact, he enters the room with such a convincing mince that you fully expect Scrooge to enquire "are you free Mr. Marley" and then await a spectral "I'm free. Edith Evans appears as the Ghost of Christmas Past - evidently having forgotten to change out of her Lady Bracknell or Miss Western costumes from previous movies - and playing the spirit as such a sweet old dear that your first thought is that it's the woman from the Gainsborough films topping up her pension in her dotage.
Kenneth More turns in a splendidly jocular portrayal of the Ghost of Christmas Present and proceeds to get Scrooge so drunk on the milk of human kindness which looks suspiciously like red wine that it's a wonder he doesn't wake up on Christmas Morning with the mother of all hangovers and proceed to throw up all over the little boy he shouts down to from his bedroom window.
In this adaptation we even get a brief glimpse of the face of Christmas Yet To Come I won't spoil the surprise who proceeds to give Scrooge an almighty shove, which sends him toppling into his own open grave and plummeting into the pit of hell you know it's hell because the entire set is painted red where we're treated to one of the most surreal sequences ever to have appeared in a film version of a Dickens classic.
In a break with the book, and, for that matter, with other film versions, Marley returns and tells Scrooge that he is to become Lucifer's clerk, whereupon a line of hooded, burly, toned and topless male demons, with oiled bodies, proceed to wrap a chain around Scrooge, binding him to a post.
You can't help but wonder, or perhaps it's just me, whether the Ghost of Christmas Present hasn't spiked Scrooge's drink and taken him to a dodgy pool party. All that aside though, this is a terrific version of the Carol and the songs, although not particularly memorable, are most certainly catchy and you find yourself humming them at the most inopportune of moments.
Alastair Sim, provides the voiceover for Ebenezer Scrooge and does an adequate, though not particularly riveting job. Given it's only 25 minutes in length, this is a quick jaunt through the story the chief glory of which is the stunning animation. The section when Scrooge arrives home is genuinely creepy, and the sequence with Marley's ghost is absolutely terrifying, especially when he undoes the bandage to allow his jaw to drop.
Mind you, you do find yourself puzzling how he manages such clear enunciation of his words with his jaw stretched wide open throughout his entire dialogue. Scrooge appears a little confused when the first of his supernatural visitors turns up wearing a dress, with long flowing hair, and with features so very feminine that its a wonder she doesn't take umbrage and give him a good slap when he addresses her as "Sir.
The depictions of Ignorance and Want are truly disturbing and extremely well done. Again the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come sequence is rushed but, as with the previous visits manages to get the main points of Dickens narrative in. All in all, whilst not an outstanding version, this is certainly a reasonable adaptation, beautifully illustrated throughout, and it manages to cram Dickens story into a mere twenty five minutes without losing too much of either the atmosphere or the moral of the original.
The only real surprises are that a it took till and b it's only ever been done once. When my researches revealed the existence of a pornographic adaptation two thoughts immediately crossed my mind. Firstly, how would they spell Scrooge's name and, secondly, what would be the nature of Tiny Tim's affliction. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to provide an answer to either question, nor am I able to supply any insightful comments regarding how faithfully it sticks to Dickens original story, not out of any moral indignation, but simply because it's not available in England.
I have managed to track down one, decidedly un-titillating, clip on Youtube that shows Carol being led into her future by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come ooh matron which, following an excruciatingly drawn out, mist shrouded tour of the flesh pots of what I presume to be Times Square, yields the memorable line "spirit I don't understand any of this, it's just a cheap hooker picking up some creep.
Well, to be honest, nothing. This is a lovely retelling of A Christmas Carol with various Disney characters playing the parts. Scrooge Mc Duck takes on the role of the miserly money lender, upon whom, incidentally, he was originally based, and presents us with the only Christmas bill you'll ever been delighted to see! Mickey Mouse appears as the careworn and abused clerk, Bob Cratchit - whilst Donald Duck splutters his way through an Oscar worthy performance as Scrooge's nephew, Fred.
Goofy appears as a delightfully clumsy, and far from terrifying, Marley's ghost, lamenting to his old partner that " Oh you had class Jacob. Scott As Ebenezer Scrooge Why is it that, whenever you see the words "And Introducing" in the opening credits of a film, you instinctively know that you're never going to hear of that actor, or actress, again? How many students have, over the years, raced excitedly home from drama school, to burst in on their startled parents, panting, "See, mum and dad, I told you those 4 years of dressing up as a banana and handing out leaflets on the pavement outside ASDA would pay off, they're introducing me in a new film"?
Father, meanwhile, nods his approval, and surreptitiously reaches for the local paper in order to peruse the situations vacant columns, on the off chance that McDonalds might be recruiting in the near future.
I only mention this because we are treated to just such an introduction in the opening credits of this television outing of the Dickens Classic, when the words "And Introducing Anthony Walters As Tiny Tim" appear, writ large across the screen. In fairness to him he did go on to play Liam Neeson's son in Shining Through, and the squire's son in the version of Black Beauty, so, as far as "and introducing's" go, he seems to have done alright for himself.
But, back to the film. In this reworking of the novella, George C. Scott dominates the screen with a performance that is so masterful that it puts his Scrooge up there with the best of them. The film itself is beautifully shot and, the moment it begins, you are overwhelmed with the sensation that you have been transported back to the 19th century; so much so that you can almost feel the cold of the chilly Christmas Eve engulfing you, as the acrid smoke, swirling through the air, seems to somehow fill your nostrils as your eyes alight upon the snowy, foggy streets of Victorian London, which, given the film was actually shot in Shrewsbury, is, to say the least, somewhat confusing.
Still, it must be said, Shrewsbury makes a terrific bygone London. As the fog swirls around the screen, a solitary bell begins tolling a mourning knell and the sombre funeral procession of Jacob Marley is shown edging its way through the streets.
Then, the opening credits roll and, having been informed that we're about to have the honour of being introduced to "Anthony Walters as Tiny Tim", we find ourselves inside Scrooge's counting house, where Bob Cratchit informs us that 7 years have elapsed since the death of Marley. Wow, you think, that was a long opening credit sequence. Bob then goes to put a coal on the fire, but his employer snaps at him that the human race invented clothes in order to keep warm, and so an additional coal on the fire is unnecessary.
There's no arguing against that sort of distorted logic, so Bob resigns himself to the fact he's going to have to shiver through the few hours of Christmas Eve he has left at work, and shuffles back to his work station. As he leaves the room, Bob meets Scrooge's nephew, Fred, and they proceed to exchange pleasantries - of the "Merry Christmas" variety - before Fred marches into his uncle's office and subjects him to the familiar homily of how good Christmas has always been to him.
Needless to say, Scrooge, old curmudgeon that he is, begs to differ and gives his nephew short shrift, ending the exchange by declining Fred's invitation to come to Christmas dinner the next day One of the few criticisms I have of this early section of the film is that the performances from both David Warner, as Bob Cratchit, and Roger Rees, as Fred, are a little too cloying and sentimental.
Indeed, you fully expect David Warner to burst in to tears at any moment as he delivers some of his lines. However, this is more than made up for by the wonderfully gruff and menacing performance given by George C. Scrooge then leaves the counting house, pausing to retrieve his top hat from his long-suffering assistant, and informs Cratchit that, in lieu of the fact he'll be taking Christmas Day off, he'd better be at work all the earlier the next day.
So saying, Scrooge heads out into the foggy, snow covered streets of Shrewsbu Who could this be hobbling towards him through the snow, struggling to keep his crutch from slipping on the unforgiving ice? Yes, it's Anthony Walters, being introduced as Tiny Tim. And, my oh my, does he make a good Tiny Tim. For one thing, he is, well, errr. For another, he looks ill and sickly, just as Tiny Tim should. In fact, as he tries to wish Scrooge the compliments of the season, you find yourself wondering if he's actually going to make it through the rest of the film, in order to be able to deliver his closing "God bless us, Every one!
Just how hard, and how sharp, we get to see in the next scene, when he arrives at the Exchange and meets with three businessmen who wish to buy corn off him. The businessmen protest that what he is doing is totally unfair, only to be told by Scrooge that business is not fair.