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4.7 out of 5 stars
Christmas Carol
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on December 22, 2003
This 1984 adaptation of the Charles Dickens story has several noteworthy things going for it. In this writer's opinion, the parts are greater than the whole, but the individual aspects are well worth viewing.
George C. Scott's Ebenezer Scrooge is almost chilling. In Scott's hands Scrooge is calmly insistent in his ways, and relentlessly cold. It's a fine, unique characterization with many subtleties; other actors deliver the "stake of holly through his heart" dialogue as a grouchy peeve, but with Scott it's a grisly joke that Scrooge is especially enjoying. His controlled reserve is admirable for the most part, but misplaced at the finish. One wants to see the Ghosts of Christmas tear off his miser's mask and really scare the stuffing out of him. But somehow Scrooge's reclamation is neither as drastic nor as effective as in other film versions. Scrooge's delighted laugh in the last reel is about the same as his ironic laugh in the first reel.
The supporting portrayals vary in faithfulness to Dickens. Scrooge's nephew Fred, a breezy, friendly character who says he'll "keep my Christmas spirit to the last," certainly doesn't show it by his timid and soft-spoken demeanor here. On the other hand, Edward Woodward is outstanding as the Ghost of Christmas Present, a hearty giant who delights in showing Scrooge up.
Director Clive Donner adds some deft touches (Marley's Ghost howls "Scrooooooooge" as a horse-drawn coffin passes by; for once Scrooge has enough of a Ghost, and terminates the visitation forcibly). There are enough points of distinction to recommend this as a good picture. This writer gives the George C. Scott version a bronze medal behind the Sir Seymour Hicks and Alastair Sim versions.
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on December 15, 2000
Excellent production with uniformly fine performances. The only problem is the choice of George C. Scott for Scrooge. Although he is a superb actor and can play mean and crotchety as well as anyone, he is physically all wrong for the role. Scrooge should be wizened and shrivelled, whereas Scott exudes power and forcefulness. He does the best with what he has, giving a consistent reinterpretation of the part, but it is not the Scrooge we all know and love (to hate). Sometimes the difference is particullarly distracting, like when he bends his robust, healthy frame over his dinner of watery gruel. At the end, when we expect Scrooge to be bubbling over with uncontainable glee, Scott's performance is more restrained, especially in the scene with his nephew. Again, he is utterly believable and self-consistent, but it does not offer the joyous catharsis of more traditional portrayals. For that, I recommend the 1951 version with Alistair Sim, or the musical "Scrooge" with Albert Finney.
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on December 23, 1999
This is an excellent adaptation with Scrooge played by one of my favorite actors, the late George C. Scott. But unfortunately after seeing the Sim version, you are ruined for all other versions because no Scrooge holds a candle to the Sim portrayal. He crushes all of the other Scrooges like little poser bugs beneath his feet. For this reason, and this reason only, does the Scott version get four stars, because to give this one five stars would mean that it is as good as the Sim Scrooge, which it is not. But this version definitely gets kudos and is well worth a view. Warning: make sure you watch this version (or any version) BEFORE the Sim version or, alas, it will seem small and puny in comparison and you will be unable to look at the Scott version as anything more than a cheap imitation, which it is not.
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on November 24, 2003
This 1984 made for TV movie stars George C. Scott in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. To my knowledge, it's the only time An American actor has plaed the role unless you count Bill Murray's "Scrooged".
Scott doesn't surpass Alastair Sim, but he gives a damn good performance, surrounded by a fine British vast including Edward Woodward as a fine Ghost of Christmas past.
The movie portrays Dickensian England very well with great sets and costumes. This one doesn't seem to show up on TV all that much anymore which is a shame.
A definite collection add here...
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on January 2, 2003
George C. Scott plays a Scrooge you will often think about during the holidays. He is on the money with Scrooge's old ways and his transformation is believable. This version is better than the Patrick Stewart one, although that too is decent. Sim's 1951 classic remains the definitive "A Christmas Carol," but Scott is excellent. His simple motions such as when he reacts to hot soup or turns his head at the business exchange are very realistic. This is a great movie to watch during the holidays and the scenery and characters are really good and make you feel part of the events.
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on December 9, 2002
George C. Scott gives the best dramatic portrayal of Scrooge. He doesn't seem to attempt to show the pure joy that Alistair Sims showed after his amazing transition from bitter miser to kind giver but goes after a more down to earth portrayal of Scrooge. The sets and supporting cast are first rate. It is well worth seeing this version if you are a fan of Scott or not. Even if you think the 1951 or some other version is the best I will be very surprised if you aren't impressed with this version of A Christmas Carol.
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Not in my opinion the best version of A Christmas Carol but it is a darn good movie and George C. Scott has always been one of my favorite actors.
I just personally though prefer the Patrick Stewart and Alisdair Sim versions but this does come really close to being tops and I do recommend it! I know some diehard fans of this movie will think I'm slamming it and George C. Scott but I'm not! I like it but it's just not my all time favorite!
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on November 30, 1998
George C. Scott gives a terrific performance as Scrooge, making the character far more real and less a caricature. The film is faithful to the original story, taking fewer liberties than some adaptations. Of all the film adaptations I have seen, this is the best. It retains much of the horror of the original ghost story and downplays the sentimentality. Excellent holiday viewing.
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on October 15, 2003
While I do not feel that this is the best version of "A Christmas Carol" (see my other reviews for that honor) it certainly ranks with the better ones. Scott is brilliant (if a little portly) as Scrooge, and the supporting cast is tremendous. The production values are first rate -- decidedly Victorian. This one bears rewatching every year quite well.
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on December 23, 2002
A different interpretation from the growly Scrooges, and George C. Scott pulls it off wonderfully. This is the textbook version of how to put a new spin on Scrooge and underplay it. He is brilliant --- I love the way he smiles and he doesn't mean it --- and the kid they get to play Tiny Tim is the scruffiest and easily the most believable. Superb!
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