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An American Christmas Carol

33 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Henry Winkler, Dorian Harewood, David Wayne, Chris Wiggins, Cec Linder
  • Directors: Eric Till
  • Writers: Charles Dickens, Jerome Coopersmith
  • Producers: Edgar J. Scherick, Gary Smith, Jon Slan, Stanley Chase
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Shout Factory
  • Release Date: Oct. 9 2012
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0088AW5I4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,325 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

An American Christmas Carol, actor Henry Winkler

Henry Winkler's performance as a miserly financier anchors this often-elegant 1979 TV-movie adaptation of Charles Dickens's classic holiday story of kindness and redemption. Buried under layers of old-age makeup (by Oscar winner Greg Cannom), Winkler manages to bring forth both the bitterness and the pain that fuel Benedict Slade, an elderly finance company president who spends a Depression-era Christmas Eve crushing the spirits of his fellow New Hampshire residents by evicting debtors from their homes or repossessing their belongings. Upon claiming and attempting to destroy a valuable edition of Dickens's Christmas Carol, Slade is visited by a trio of ghosts (David Wayne, Gerard Parkes, and Dorian Harewood) who attempt to convince him to change his ways or suffer a terrible fate. Tony Award-nominated writer Jerome Coopersmith does a fine job of adapting Dickens's story, smartly adding political and financial details germane to the period that anchor its 20th-century American setting; director Eric Till capably balances the fantasy and everyday elements, and captures the period detail and snowy locations (Ontario, Canada, stands in for New England) with an eye towards the picturesque. But the film's success rests squarely on Winkler's shoulders, and the actor provides believable performances as both the youthful and aged Slade that did much to remind viewers that he was a far more talented performer than his most popular screen character, Fonzie of Happy Days, suggested. Shout Factory's full-frame presentation of An American Christmas Carol looks good, especially in comparison to other DVD releases of TV movies from the period, and offers a new eight-minute-plus interview with Winkler, who discusses his concerns about tackling the iconic story, as well as the challenges presented by the considerable makeup design. --Paul Gaita

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Mckinzie on July 24 2003
Format: DVD
Henry Winkler stars in this remake of the classic tale of Scrooge. This one is set in post-Depression era America and is oneof the best I've ever seen. Winkler is equally at ease as a young man with a girlfriend or an old man with an attitude. I watch this every Christmas and was delighted to discover it on DVD. You'll love it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Nov. 6 2003
Format: DVD
Awesome. If you like Christmas, then you'll like this movie. Just as the original by Dickens, it teaches us the true meaning of Christmas. I have been hooked since seeing this movie as a young adult and it still delivers. I enjoy the American twist on Dicken's story. You won't get a Victorian town in England, but you will get a simpler America and the American entrepreneurial spirit. Henry Winkler gives a commendable performance and the supporting cast works well. All in all, a must see for Christmas.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Israel on Dec 23 2002
Format: DVD
Like many other reviewers, I first saw this as a kid on television in '79 and Henry Winkler's "Fonzie" persona was still so much a part of the cultural fabric that it was somewhat shocking to even think of him, much less see him, as anything else.
However, I was transfixed by this adaptation on the Dickens story and was genuinely moved by Winkler's ( Benedict Slade ) transformation at the end. Winkler is simply superb: believable, funny, dramatic, and imminently likable even as the curmudgeon. The supporting cast is wonderful as well even though most of them, with the possible exception of David Wayne, will be unknown to most viewers. The actor who plays Thatcher (the "Cratchit" character in the Dickens novel) does a wonderful job of being as compassionate as the role demands without being too "soft".
The actors playing the roles of Mr. Brewster and Helen Brewster also hold their own and give Winkler solid performances to react to even with limited screen time.
The movie looks and feels like I would imagine turn of the century and Depression era New England to look and feel like to an outsider: quaint, majestic, proud; yet tired and despairing.
My only problem with the movie, and this is REALLY nitpicking, is that they simply made Winkler look too old for the latter Slade ("Scrooge") part. the movie does an excellenet job of letting us know when things are happening, even in the Christmas Past scenarios, e.g., we know Slade and Helen broke up around 1917 because of the backdrop of the war effort (WW I). The contemporary story is set in 1933 and Slade looks like he has aged forty years instead of only 16 or so. He looks MUCH older than his contemporaries. However, maybe they intended to achieve this effect to accentuate his gnarliness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Randall Grossman on Dec 23 2002
Format: DVD
"A Christmas Carol" may well be the most-adapted Christmas story in literature, with version ranging from whimsical to musical to deadly serious. This particular version, starring Henry Winkler as Benedict Slade (a.k.a. Scrooge) is my favorite.
The movie translates Dickens' classic story from 19th century England to Depression-era New England. The result is very effective. For me, an American born to parents who grew up in the Depression, the 20th century setting made the story feel very real. The writers and director made excellent decisions in their choice of sets. Three notable examples were the New England furniture factory as the setting for Slade's youth, the newly-conceived idea of consumer credit as the source of his subsequent wealth and avarice, and the choice of an African-American as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come ("You must be Future," Slade declares, cowering before him).
Winkler's performance is brilliant. He captures the essence of Slade perfectly, and makes the gradual transformation from miser to redeemed man seem natural and believable. The scene at the Thatcher (a.k.a. Cratchit) household at the end of the film never fails to bring tears to my eyes and those of my family. The supporting cast performs ably as well, making this a Christmas classic that one can watch every year.
"An American Christmas Carol" debuted in 1979, midway through Winkler's popular "Happy Days" television series run. After a few years of reruns, it disappeared from view until recently, when it became available on DVD and video. I heartily recommend it for your holiday DVD collection.
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Format: DVD
A good made for television movie adaptation loosely based on Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol but in this adaptation instead of being set in 1843 Victorian era England it is set in Concord New Hampshire 1933 during the Depression and instead of being named Ebenezer Scrooge the main character is named Benedict Slade and has the miserly old grump repossessing the belongings of towns people but later on that night after being visited by the ghost of his old partner he is visited by three ghosts who show him the tragic and disastrous results of his actions of the past present and future and if he doesn't set things right his actions will hurt others and his soul will be doomed just like his deceased partner who made many mistakes in life and business and never set things right. Not as good as the Christmas Carol movies starring Alastair Sim, Patrick Stewart, Reginald Owen, George C. Scott, and Albert Finney but it's good, though I personally found that it started off kind of slow before getting better but Henry Winkler did give a good performance and made Slade's transformation believable and making it the best of the modernized versions of A Christmas Carol and anyone who grew up watching him play the Fonz on Happy Days should get a kick out of watching this movie. I have the DVD and the sound and picture are good but there are no extras and I'm disappointed that the DVD doesn't have Captions for people with impaired hearing, I think all DVD's should include that!
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