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A Christmas Carol (1977)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama | Fantasy  -  24 December 1977 (UK)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 162 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 3 critic

Miser Ebenezer Scrooge hates Christmas, but then gets a visit from his companion Jacob Marley, who has been dead for seven years. He urges Scrooge to change his life.

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Title: A Christmas Carol (TV Movie 1977)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Clive Merrison ...
Carol MacReady ...
Maev Alexander ...
...
Stephen Churchett ...
John
Will Stampe ...
Christopher Biggins ...
Tricia George ...
Little Blonde
John Salthouse ...
Veronica Doran ...
Caroline
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Storyline

It's the end of December and professional miser Ebenezer Scrooge absolutely despises this time of the year. He thinks Christmas is all humbug. He doesn't buy his nephew's talk of Christmas being a kind time, thinks it's absolute madness his servant Cratchit wants a day off and sends away collectors of donations for the poor penniless. It's also the time of the year in which his companion Jacob Marley died seven years ago. When he is all alone, he suddenly sees Marley again, in the door handle, in a tile, a bell suddenly rings. Humbug, thinks Scrooge. But then Marley really appears for him and tells him he should change his life. He warns Scrooge he will be haunted by three spirits, the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Written by Arnoud Tiele (imdb@tiele.nl)

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Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

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Release Date:

24 December 1977 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Cuento de Navidad  »

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1.33 : 1
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Version of It's Never Too Late (1953) See more »

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User Reviews

Proof you don't need a big budget to do the story justice!
5 December 2003 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

I highly recommend this terrific U.K. television version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL and I wish it was better known than it is. Some PBS stations used to show it in the late 1970's and early 1980's but since then this version of the Dickens Christmas classic has shown up rarely even on cable.

Let me make it clear right off the bat that I'm one of those people who could watch an "All CHRISTMAS CAROL, All The Time" channel every December. That doesn't mean that I love each and every version of the story that comes along, it just means I love watching them all every single year. This adaptation of the story stands out from every other film and television version I've seen and only it's low budget and short running time put it behind the George C Scott classic.

The lighting may be 70's sitcom level and for some scenes this T.V. movie may use painted backgrounds but it wins the viewer over by demonstrating over and over again that it "gets" the point of the story. There's no attempt to psycho-analyze any of the characters, no silly attempt to contemporize the ghosts, no omission of Ignorance and Want and for once Belle doesn't overstay her welcome.

The secret of this version's appeal is that it uses nothing but Dickens' own story and best of all, nothing but Dickens' own dialogue. This may put the conversational exchanges over the heads of very young viewers but those who love the novelette will be ecstatic about this. Dickens' wordplay in the original story is wonderfully close to prose poetry and it's delightful to hear it presented in it's original form. Similarly, there are no fabrications of scenes not in the "real" story and no extraneous characters added. I enjoy seeing what some adaptors do with the story as much as anyone but it's refreshing to see a visual depiction of nothing but the content in the original classic.

Non-devotees of A CHRISTMAS CAROL would likely rate this lower than I do since I think the emotional bang of this telefilm makes up for it's budget limits. Even CAROL purists may be put off by the omission of some scenes from the original story but with the short running time that can't be remedied. Unless someone eventually does a film version of this story that's as slavish to it's source material as Erich Von Stroheim's GREED was to the novel McTEAGUE I don't think we'll see an adaptation that comes closer than this to realizing Dickens' original work.

As long as you don't expect outstanding production values I think the heartfelt performances and respect for the viewers' intelligence will put this version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL near the top of your list.


27 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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