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A Christmas Carol (2004 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Christmas Carol: The Musical
DVD cover for A Christmas Carol
Based on A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
Written by Mike Ockrent
Lynn Ahrens
Directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman
Starring Kelsey Grammer
Jane Krakowski
Jesse L. Martin
Geraldine Chaplin
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Jason Alexander
Music by Alan Menken
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Camille Grammer
Robert Halmi Sr.
Robert Halmi Jr.
Producer(s) Howard Ellis
Steven North
Cinematography Hanania Baer
Editor(s) Bert Glatstein
Running time 97 minutes
Production company(s) Hallmark Entertainment
Distributor NBC
Budget $17 million
Original network NBC
Original release November 28, 2004 (2004-11-28)

A Christmas Carol: The Musical is a 2004 American made-for-television film adaptation of the 1994 stage musical of the same name, with songs written by Alan Menken (music) and Lynn Ahrens (lyrics). The musical is based on Charles Dickens' famous 1843 novella of the same name, produced by Hallmark Entertainment for NBC.

It was directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman and features Kelsey Grammer, Jane Krakowski, Jesse L. Martin, Geraldine Chaplin, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jason Alexander. The film was broadcast November 28, 2004 on NBC.

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The film opens at the London Exchange on Christmas Eve in 1843 where everybody is looking forward to Christmas Day, except for the grouchy and greedy miser Ebenezer Scrooge ("Jolly Good Time"). Scrooge, who hates Christmas, shows his cold attitude to others by refusing to show mercy to Mr. Smythe, who has just lost his wife, and his young daughter Grace; supporting prisons and workhouses for the poor; and refusing to dine with his nephew Fred ("Nothing to Do with Me"). On his way home from work, Scrooge encounters three individuals--a young woman who is working as a lamplighter, a barker selling tickets to a pantomime, and a blind beggar--and rebuffs all of their requests for charity; as he walks away from each, they imply that Scrooge will pay for his actions, specifically referencing his past, present, and future respectively. Meanwhile, Scrooge's faithful but long-suffering clerk Bob Cratchit returns to his own impoverished family, telling his ill son Tiny Tim that despite their circumstances, their love for one another is the greatest treasure on Earth ("You Mean More to Me"). That night, as Scrooge dines alone before going to bed, the ghost of his seven-year dead partner Jacob Marley appears; Marley is doomed to spend the afterlife bound in heavy chains that he forged with his own greed and obsession with money ("Link by Link"). He tells Scrooge that his own chain will be twice as long and heavy, but that there is a chance for him to redeem himself by heeding the warnings of three spirits who will appear to him that night. Other ghosts who also wear chains also haunt Scrooge, implying they were all selfish and cold-hearted when they were alive.

The first of the three spirits, the Ghost of Christmas Past, arrives after the bell chimes One; Scrooge recognizes her as the lamplighter he met the previous day, though the Spirit denies it ("The Lights of Long Ago"). She takes Scrooge on a trip into his past, first showing him Scrooge's father in court; a judge sentences him to debtor's prison, and as the elder Scrooge is taken away, he shouts to his son to make a fortune and do everything in his power to keep it. Despite their poverty, Scrooge's mother encourages both her son and daughter, Fan, to keep their spirits buoyed with faith ("God Bless Us, Everyone"). The Spirit next shows Scrooge his boyhood, and how he dreamed of home and family to keep himself hopeful throughout lean times ("A Place Called Home"). The next vignette depicts Scrooge and Marley as young men apprenticed to Mr. Fezziwig, a jolly man who throws a massive Christmas party each year to celebrate the season ("Mr. Fezziwig's Annual Christmas Ball"). Later, the death of Scrooge's mother and sister turns him against the world, and he gradually becomes obsessed with his money-lending business. He denies a loan to the Fezziwigs, and his former employer realizes that his apprentice has become a hard-hearted man. Similarly, Scrooge's fiancée Emily breaks her engagement with him, as his love for gold is stronger than his affection for her. In a final tragic moment, Marley himself suddenly falls ill in their counting house on Christmas Eve, dying in Scrooge's arms.

At the stroke of Two, the Ghost of Christmas Present--who resembles the barker selling tickets--haunts Scrooge and shows him how others keep the spirit of the season ("Abundance and Charity"). He first transports him to a joyous Christmas pageant, where dancers and singers describe the pleasures found in the Yuletide; the lessons seem to be affecting Scrooge, as he joins in the pageant and gives young Grace Smythe (who is in the audience) a small present rather than keep it for himself. Scrooge is next shown the Cratchit home, and is stunned by the happiness they and other poor individuals find in the holidays ("Christmas Together"). Scrooge expresses concern for Tiny Tim, and the Spirit foretells that the child will die if his conditions are not improved immediately. During a brief visit to Fred's home, Scrooge discovers that others see him as a miserly, lonely fool for ignoring family, but Fred remains hopeful that his uncle will someday come around ("God Bless Us, Everyone Reprise One"). The ghost, who has rapidly aged over the course of the day, shows Scrooge the two monstrous children Ignorance and Want that cling to his legs, warning Scrooge that they will doom both Scrooge and mankind altogether if they are not cared for. The spirit and children vanish, returning Scrooge to his bedroom.

At the stroke of Three, the blind beggar woman appears in Scrooge's bedroom; she removes her tattered robes and becomes a tall, beautiful woman dressed all in white: the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. The silent spirit shows Scrooge what lies in store in the future if he doesn't change ("Dancing on Your Grave"). Scrooge discovers that his fellow exchange workers--and indeed, no one at all--is mourning for him, while his charwoman and other impoverished people strip his body and bedroom of their valuables to sell to a shady pawnbroker. Scrooge also witnesses the Cratchits kneeling before Tiny Tim's grave, as nothing was done to save him ("You Mean More to Me Reprise"). The Ghost shows Scrooge his own bare grave, and the elderly man breaks down in tears ("Yesterday, Tomorrow, and Today"). At this, Grace Smythe appears and begins to sing to Scrooge, encouraging him to find his own inner light ("God Bless Us, Everyone Reprise Two"). Scrooge joins in the song, and other children sing as well. Finally, visions of Scrooge's mother and a young Fan manifest and encourage Scrooge to feel love and compassion again. He swears to do so, but the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come attacks as a clock chimes midnight; the ground begins to crack, and Scrooge fears he is doomed to Hell.

Scrooge tumbles from his bed and discovers that the spirits have completed their work in one night--it is Christmas morning, and he has a chance to change the visions of the future ("What a Day, What a Sky"). He takes to the streets and begins to make amends for all he has done: he orders a massive turkey for the Cratchits, gives money to charity, and forgives the Smythes of their debt. As he travels, he meets the lamplighter, who gives him a sly nod; similarly, the barker reappears, and Scrooge buys a ticket to his pantomime for every child in the city. Finally, he gives money to the beggar woman, who stands to reveal that her vision has been restored, suggesting that her blindness was an extension of Scrooge's own lack of foresight. As Scrooge continues on his travels, the lamplighter, barker, and beggar meet one another and happily walk away, implying that they were the Ghosts of Christmas in mortal form, their work complete. Scrooge completes his journey by visiting the Cratchits, promising to increase Bob's salary and work tirelessly to heal Tiny Tim. The film ends with Scrooge happily taking a place at his nephew's table, having welcomed the true spirit of Christmas in his heart ("Christmas Together Reprise").


The adaptation

Lyricist Lynn Ahrens wrote the teleplay, based on her and Mike Ockrent's book for the original Madison Square Garden stage musical. The score contains 22 songs, also adapted from the stage. The opening number, "Jolly Good Time", is a more jovial reworking of the first two numbers in the stage version, "The Years Are Passing By" and "Jolly, Rich, and Fat". In the next number, "Nothing to Do With Me", Scrooge first encounters the three ghosts of Christmas in their physical guises as a lamplighter (Past), a charity show barker (Present), and a blind beggar woman (Future). We also see Scrooge's long-suffering employee Bob Cratchit buying a Christmas chicken with his son Tiny Tim in the song "You Mean More to Me".

The visit of the ghost of Jacob Marley becomes a large-scale production number ("Link By Link"), featuring a half-dozen singing, dancing spirits presented with various levels of makeup and special effects. One of these ghosts in this version is known to be an old colleague of Scrooge and Marley's, Mr. Haynes, who was said to be "mean to the bone", resulting in his charred skeleton. Other puns include a headless spirit who wanted to get ahead, a man with a safe full of coins in his chest who "never had a heart" and a man carrying a box that contains his arm because he "never lent a hand".

The Ghost of Christmas Past (Jane Krakowski) sings "The Lights of Long Ago", a number reinforcing her signature theme of illuminating Scrooge's worldview. One notable departure from Dickens' novella in this portion of the film is its depiction of Ebenezer Scrooge's father, identified as John William Scrooge, being sentenced to debtors' prison while his horrified family looks on (a scene inspired by events from Dickens' own childhood).

The Ghost of Christmas Present gets two numbers, "Abundance and Charity" and "Christmas Together", in which he makes his point that Christmas is a time for celebration, generosity, and fellowship. The former takes place at a fantastical version of the charity show he was seen promoting on Christmas Eve, and the latter whisks Scrooge on a tour of London that includes the homes of his nephew Fred, his clerk Bob Cratchit, and Mr. Smythe, a recently widowed client of Scrooge's lending house.

Unlike the faceless phantom that embodies Christmas Yet to Come in most versions of A Christmas Carol (including the book), this film features a mute sorceress figure clad in white (a transmogrification of the blind hag who appears on Christmas Eve). The entire Christmas Future sequence plays out in song ("Dancing On Your Grave", "You Mean More to Me (Reprise)", and "Yesterday, Tomorrow, and Today"), culminating in Scrooge's awakening in his bedroom on Christmas morning.

"What a Day, What a Sky" serves as a musical bookend to "Nothing to Do With Me", dramatizing Scrooge's new outlook as he races through the streets of London making amends. The film concludes with a reprise of "Christmas Together" featuring the entire cast.

See also


  • A Christmas Carol on IMDb
  • "A Christmas Carol: The Musical". Hallmark Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2005-12-25. Retrieved December 28, 2005.
  • "Official Site of the Stage Musical". Archived from the original on 2006-11-27.

External links

This page was last edited on 20 October 2018, at 16:33
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