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film reel image

Sunday, December 10, 2023

A Christmas Carol 1984 * * * Stars


George C. Scott is a legendary actor who left us over twenty years ago. In 1984's A Christmas Carol, Scott gives a naturalistic, underplaying performance as Ebenezer Scrooge. Yeah it's in the lamb chop facial hair, the moderate plumpness, and the gruff, sort of coarse vocal delivery. He's perfectly cast as is everybody else, updating then closely, the 1951 version of Charles Dickens's classic novel. "God bless us everyone". For sho.

Now is "Christmas Carol" a perfect film to hark in the holidays, all amended to make George C. Scott look like the new Alastair Sim? No but it comes close. This flick is richly textured, dark, and genuinely scripted, giving enough streamlining as the mid-80s would solely allow. And is A Christmas Carol just another redrafting of the ten or so offerings that came before it (remember Albert Finney, Sim, and Reginald Owen?)? Yeah but so what. There are some nice touches, some new songs, troupers that look like the characters that you envision in your head, dusky hues, and a hazy, white light look that's ready-made for the almighty silly season. If it's five degrees outside and you happen to be brewing some hot cocoa, '84's smoke is the way to go. 

The story of "Christmas Carol" is the same don't you know. An old curmudgeon gets visited by three ghosts on December 24th bent on getting him to change his ways and embrace the heartwarming swipe that is Xmas. A Christmas Carol clocking in at 100 minutes, well it does the whole deal in style, with scenes that are drawn-out but still faithful to what Dickens probably conceived. Sure the pic is mournful, dejected, and less giddy than its predecessors but I digress. Considering the contemporary production values, the barren looks on the actor's faces, and director Clive Donner's fascination with the fronts of caskets, I figured it was the right avenue to pursue. "Ho ho homebound." 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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