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An American Christmas Carol

Henry Winkler , Dorian Harewood , Eric Till    Unrated   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 12.99
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An American Christmas Carol + A Christmas Carol (Full Screen) + A Christmas Carol
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Product Description


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

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Une oeuvre à posséder!!! Dec 31 2002
Je crois que de toutes les versions qui ont été faites du conte de Charles Dickens, celle-ci est sans doute à la fois la plus originale et la plus fidèle. Le thème central est bien respecté mais l'adaptation est totale puisqu'elle situe l'action en Amérique plutôt que dans l'Angleterre du 19e siècle mais avec une touche début du siècle et moderne.
Même si ce film n'est disponible qu'en anglais sur DVD, il vaut la peine d'être acheté puisqu'il n'est plus diffusé à la télévision depuis plusieurs années suite à une mésentente avec le producteur et il semble bien que la situation n'est pas près de changer. C'est un film de collection que tous se doivent de posséder pour le temps de Noël. Une version française a jadis été disponible mais elle ne l'est plus maintenant ce qui est très malheureux. Henry Winkler est remarquable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Christmas Classic July 24 2003
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Tale Revisited Nov. 6 2003
By A Customer
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent... Dec 23 2002
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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5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite "Christmas Carol" Dec 23 2002
"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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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
good job by Henry.
Published 2 months ago by grandpapippo
5.0 out of 5 stars Just like I remembered it
couldn't find this version for a long time. This one is my favorite, im so thankful to amazon for having it in stock.
Published 8 months ago by maria
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Classic!
An entirely different take on an old classic, and when I say "different" I mean in a good way! Read more
Published 8 months ago by Tracey O'Farrell
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Christmas Tale
Henry Winkler is amazing in his role of Scrooge....the story line doesn't change but it gives it more realism with Henry in charge! Read more
Published 12 months ago by Doncott
5.0 out of 5 stars Christmas Classic hard to find
Searched high and low for this DVD for a friend then someone suggested Amazon. Wish I'd thought of it sooner because it would have saved a lot of time. Arrived quickly.... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Alex Muir
5.0 out of 5 stars Great flick
Bought this for my mother and she absolutely loved it. I've never seen it so she gave me the rating.
Published 20 months ago by Darryl B
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this one!
Henry Winkler plays a great Scrooge. The story is an interesting twist on the Dickens Classic and it is even better because it was filmed in Canada not far from where I live. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Richard Crossman
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Classic
My husband passed away a year and a half ago. I finally found this movie that he remembers watching years ago. I have watched him and thought of him all through it. Read more
Published 20 months ago by BeckyK
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
I love all Christmas movies and I love Henry Winkler. I'm so glad this was rereleased and at a reasonable cost.
Published 20 months ago by chris klatecki
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Christmas Classic
An American Christmas Carol is a classic in our house. I love this adapation of the Christms Carol. Henry Winkler is great as a "Scrooge".
Published 21 months ago by Charlene Leclerc
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