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Film Review

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A Christmas Carol




On Christmas Eve 1843, Ebenezer Scrooge, a surly money-lender at a counting house, who has run the business himself for seven years since his business partner Jacob Marley died, does not share the merriment of Christmas. He declines his nephew Fred's invitation to join him for Christmas dinner and dismisses two gentlemen collecting money for charity. Scrooge reluctantly gives his loyal, low-paid employee Bob Cratchit Christmas off, as there will be no business for Scrooge during the day. In his house, Scrooge encounters the tortured ghost of Marley, who warns Scrooge to repent of his wicked ways to avoid being condemned in the afterlife, as Marley has been. Marley tells Scrooge that three spirits will visit him during the next three nights, regardless of Scrooge's reluctance, and to expect the first ghost at one o'clock.

At one o'clock, Scrooge is visited by the angel-like Ghost of Christmas Past, who takes him back in time to his childhood and early adult life. They visit his lonely school days in boarding school, where his friends were all going home for Christmas but he is not allowed, because his father treated him badly after his mother died. Scrooge's sister, Fran, the mother of Scrooge's nephew, comes to Scrooge's school and their father is a lot nicer, agreeing that he could come home for Christmas. The ghost shows Scrooge as an employee of Albert Fezziwig, who had a benevolent heart and acted as a second father to Scrooge. Fezziwig throws a Christmas party, Scrooge attends and meets a young woman named Belle, with whom he falls in love and gets engaged. However, the Ghost shows Scrooge why Belle left him: he chose money over her. A tearful Scrooge extinguishes the Ghost as he finds himself back in bed.

Scrooge meets the serious Ghost of Christmas Present, which shows Scrooge the joys and wonder of Christmas Day. Scrooge and the Ghost visit Cratchit's house, learning his family is content with their small dinner. Scrooge takes pity on Cratchit's ill son, Tiny Tim. The Ghost ages, while commenting that Tiny Tim will not survive until next Christmas if nothing will change. Before the Ghost disappears, he warns Scrooge about the evils of "Ignorance" and "Want", who manifest themselves before Scrooge as two wretched children.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come arrives, appearing as a tall, silent, black cloaked figure, and takes Scrooge into the future. At the stock exchange, Scrooge's acquaintances discuss the death of an unnamed colleague, one of whom says that he only plans to attend the funeral if lunch is provided while another man says he doesn't wear black gloves (one of the clothes of mourning) or eat lunches so there's no reason for him to be there and none of these associates expect anyone else to attend either, given how unpleasant a person the deceased was. In a den, Scrooge sees a charwoman Mrs. Dilber, a laundress Mrs. Riggs, and the local undertaker trading several of the man's stolen possessions to a rag-and-bone man named Old Joe. A young couple, who owed the man money, are relieved he is dead, as they have more time to pay off their debt. The Ghost transports Scrooge to Cratchit's house, discovering Tiny Tim has died and the Crachits are mourning him. The Ghost escorts Scrooge to a cemetery, where the Ghost points out the man's grave, revealing Scrooge was the man who died. Realizing this, Scrooge vows to change his ways just as the Ghost closes it eyes and lifts it head. The grave opens, and Scrooge sees his dead self lying in a coffin. He falls into the grave, then clings to his own dead body as he falls through the earth into Hell, suddenly finding himself in his bedroom. Scrooge finds the ghosts had visited him all in one night instead of three. Finding it is Christmas Day, a gleeful Scrooge decides to surprise Bob's family with a turkey dinner, and ventures out among the citizens of London to spread happiness in the city. He visits Fred's house and has Christmas dinner with the family, followed by dancing. The following day, he gives Cratchit a raise and becomes like "a second father" to Tiny Tim, who escapes death. Scrooge and Tiny Tim and the Cratchits celebrate Christmas.


DIRECTOR(s): David Hugh Jones







Patrick Stewart (Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge)
Richard E. Grant (Bob Cratchit)
Joel Grey (The Ghost of Christmas Past)
Ian McNeice (Mr. Albert Fezziwig)
Saskia Reeves (Mrs. Cratchit)
Desmond Barrit (The Ghost of Christmas Present)
Bernard Lloyd (Marley's Ghost)
Dominic West (Fred [Scrooge's nephew])
Trevor Peacock (Old Joe)
Liz Smith (Mrs Dilber)
Elizabeth Spriggs (Mrs Riggs)
Kenny Doughty (Young Scrooge)
Laura Fraser (Belle)
Celia Imrie (Mrs Bennett)
John Franklyn-Robbins (Crump)
Roger Frost (Clergyman)

Edward Petherbridge (Foster)
Jeremy Swift (Williams)
Matthew Cottle (Dick Wilkins)
Annette Badland (Mrs Fezziwig)
Charlotte Brittain (Marigold Fezziwig)
Pooky Quesnel (Maude)
Helen Coker (Betsy)
Bruce Alexander (Mr Bennett)
Claire Slater (Martha Cratchit)
Ben Tibber (Tiny Tim)
Crispin Letts (Topper Haines)
Tim Potter (The Third Spirit)
Gawn Grainger (1st Broker)
Roger Hammond (2nd Broker)
Stephen Moore (3rd Broker)

LINKS / RATINGS (%)      
74 68 66 72
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Updated - 24/12/2023

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