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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for A Christmas Carol can be found here.
Rich London businessman Ebenezer Scrooge (Patrick Stewart), known for his miserliness, particularly hates Christmas, considering it "humbug" and those who celebrate it as "idiots". On Christmas eve, Scrooge is visited by his deceased business partner Jacob Marley (Bernard Lloyd), who warns Scrooge that, if he does not change his greedy ways, he will end up like Marley—wearing the chains he forged during his life and unable to find rest. Thereafter, Scrooge is visited by three more spirits: the Ghost of Christmas Past (Joel Grey), the Ghost of Christmas Present (Desmond Barrit), and the faceless, voiceless Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come. Each of them show Scrooge a segment of his life and introduce him to the spirit of Christmas as displayed by his nephew Fred (Dominic West) and the family of his clerk Bob Cratchit (Richard E. Grant) and Cratchit's crippled son, Tiny Tim (Ben Tibber).
A Christmas Carol is a TV movie based on A Christmas Carol (full title: A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas), an 1843 novella by English writer Charles Dickens [1812-1870]. The novella was adapted for the television by English playwright and screenwriter Peter Barnes.
Back in Dickens' time, undertakers would tie a bandage 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.
It's an obsolete wind instrument called a serpent.
"We've All Been Havin' A Go At It" by Harry Wincott and Harry Leighton. Full lyrics can be found here. However, this song could not be sung at the Cratchit house. Dickens published A Christmas Carol in 1843, but the song wasn't composed until 1896, over 50 years later.
Non-Brits often ask that question when Mrs Cratchit pulls a cheesecloth wrapped "pudding" out of a pot of boiling water and then sets it aflame. To the English, however, Christmas or plum pudding has been a traditional favorite in Christmas dinners since medieval times. More like a fruitcake spiked with brandy, wine, or cognac, plum pudding should be made weeks, months, or even a year in advance in order to let it cure. A recipe for English plum pudding can be found here.
At the end of the movie, Scrooge tells Cratchit that they will discuss his affairs over a bowl of "smoking bishop", meaning a wassail bowl filled with warm, mulled wine.
Scrooge wakes up the next morning ecstatic to find that he is still alive and that it is Christmas Day. He hails a young lad in the street and asks him to buy the prize turkey hanging in the window of the poulterer, whom he then pays to deliver the turkey anonymously to the Cratchits. After stopping to sing a Christmas carol in church, he makes his way to Fred's house where he apologizes for the time he has wasted, asks to join them for dinner, and is heartily welcomed. The next morning, when Cratchit comes into the office 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 thereon, the Fred narrates saying,
My uncle was better than his word. He did it all and infinitely more. And to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man as the good old city ever knew...or any other good old city, town, or borough in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him. But he let them laugh and little heeded them. His own heart laughed, and that was quite enough for him. It was always 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."
Dickens himself doesn't specify what disease Tiny Tim has. He speaks only of him using a crutch and being expected to die within a year if untreated. 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. Most commonly mentioned is polio because of the crutch. Tuberculosis was also a very common disease at the time, typically respiratory in adults but it could appear in children as a crippling illness also causing fatigue and weight loss. A third possibility sometimes mentioned is rickets, a disease caused by vitamin D deficiency. Symptoms include soft bones, muscular weakness, osteoporosis, and joint pain. Without vitamin D, the body cannot absorb the calcium needed for building and maintaining strong bones. Since 1992, it's been suggested that Tim might have suffered from renal tubular acidosis, a disease where the kidneys fail to excrete acids into the urine, causing them to build up in the blood. It can result in growth retardation, bone disease, and progressive renal failure.
Yes. On the back of the DVD package, for which the film is presented in 1:33.1 full screen, it states that the film is presented in its original television exhibition. If you compare this version to the 1.78:1 version, you'll notice there is less picture on the top and bottom, but the same amount on the sides. Also the opening credits are a different font because they apparently had to redo them.
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