A Christmas Carol
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

It's Dickens' classic story. Rich London businessman Ebenezer Scrooge (George C. Scott), known for his miserliness, particularly hates Christmas, considering it 'humburg' and those who celebrate it as 'idiots'. On Christmas eve, Scrooge is visited by his deceased business partner Jacob Marley (Frank Finlay), who warns Scrooge that, if he does not change his greedy ways, he will end up like Marley...wearing the chains he has accumulated during his life. Thereafter, Scrooge is visited by three more spirits the Ghost of Christmas Past (Angela Pleasence), the Ghost of Christmas Present (Edward Woodward), and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (Michael Carter). Each of them show Scrooge a segment of his life and introduce him to the spirit of Christmas as displayed by his nephew Fred (Roger Rees) and the family of his clerk Bob Cratchit (David Warner) and Cratchit's crippled son, Tiny Tim (Anthony Walters).

Yes. A Christmas Carol (full title: A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas) is an 1843 novella by English writer Charles Dickens [1812-1870]. The novella was adapted for the screen by Roger O. Hirson.

Back in Dickens' time, undertakers would tie a bandage around the head and under the chin to keep the mouth from springing open. A dead person's jaw will hang open after a while because the muscles do not hold tension and the tongue swells forcing the jaw wide open. Nowadays, undertakers will sew or wire the mouth shut for the same reason.

Where was the movie shot?

The movie was filmed in the town of Shrewsbury in County Shropshire, bordering Wales in western England. A map of England showing Shrewsbury and Shropshire can be seen here. The opening scenes of the movie, in which people are walking about in the snow, was shot in the Shrewsbury town Square. The skating scene was filmed outside the Parade Shopping Centre, which was used as the exterior of the Corn Market. The grave of Ebenezer Scrooge, created for the movie, was erected in St Chad's churchyard and left in place after filming was completed. It's now a great tourist attraction.

How does the movie end?

Scrooge wakes up the next morning ecstatic to find that he is still alive and that it is Christmas Day. He waves down a young boy and asks him to purchase the prize turkey still hanging in the poulterer's window. He dresses and hurries over to Fred's house, along the way wishing a merry Christmas to everyone he meets and stopping to make a generous donation to the poor. Both Fred and his wife Janet (Caroline Langrishe) are happy to receive him, and Scrooge begs God to forgive him for the time he has wasted. The next morning, Scrooge goes into the office. When Cratchit comes in late, Scrooge pretends to be annoyed and calls him on his tardiness, then says that it leaves him no alternative but to double his salary. From hereon, a narrator says, ''Scrooge was better than his word. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as a good a man as the old city knew. And to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. It was said of Ebenezer Scrooge that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us. And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us every one.' In the final scene, Tiny Tim runs into Scrooge's arms, and they walk off together.

Charles Dickens never names what illness Tiny Tim has, other than to say that he wears a brace on his leg, walks with a crutch, is weak, and won't live to see another Christmas. Considering that the story is fiction, Dickens might have meant only to portray Tiny Tim as sickly and in need of medical attention, which Cratchit could not afford on his salary. However, viewers have suggested several possibilities, including polio, tuberculosis, scurvy, and/or rickets. More recently, American pediatric neurologist Donald Lewis has offered the diagnosis of distal renal tubular acidosis, a kidney disorder that makes the blood too acidic and can result in weakness, bone fractures, and problems between nerves and muscles. Although the disease as it is known today was not understood in the 1840s, doctors did recognize the symptoms and did have a cure. Patients would be given alkaline solutions to drink, solutions that would counteract the excessive acid in the blood and recovery would have been swift.

We see scenes of Scrooge conducting business, which seems to involve commodity trading. We briefly meet Scrooge's father, who is taking Ebenezer home from school for Christmas only briefly, prior to his being apprenticed to Fezziwig. Scrooge witnesses a scene at a camp of poor people. The scene with Belle, her husband, and her children, is similarly missing from the book. The Ghost of Christmas Past is female in this adaption, but male in the novella.

Charles Dickens' novella about Ebenezer Scrooge is one of the stories most often made into a film. It can be found in silent versions such as The Right to Be Happy (1916) as well as talkies. It can be found under various titles, most commonly A Christmas Carol and Scrooge, but also under variations such as Scrooge and Marley (2001), Ebenezer (1997), Ebbie (1995), The Stingiest Man in Town (1978), and An American Christmas Carol (1979). It's been animated, spoofed, and turned into a comedy in such films as A Flintstones Christmas Carol (1994), The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), Blackadder's Christmas Carol (1988), Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983), The Jetsons: A Jetson Christmas Carol (#2.41) (1985), Bugs Bunny's Christmas Carol (1979), and even Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962). Probably the three most commonly viewed versions are this one, Scrooge (1951) starring Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge, and A Christmas Carol (1999) in which Patrick Stewart plays the role of Scrooge. For a fairly comprehensive, although not necessarily definitive, list of various versions of the story, see here.

Yes. The text to A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas can be found here.

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