Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Patrick Stewart's Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol is Patrick Stewart's 1999 adaptation of Dickens' story. Stewart stars as Scrooge. There are reasons we particularly like this version, but there are a few bits we do not like:
  • We think Christmas Present is mean, not good-hearted and certainly not o'er-brimming with the hearty goodwill of the Christmas season. He is trudging through his dutiful oversight of Christmas Day without a touch of joy. I can't imagine a worse depiction of Christmas "Spirit".
  • The interchange in which Scrooge says, "I didn't know Cratchit had a crippled son," and Christmas Present replies with "You didn't ask," well, each time we get to this part we roar with laughter and say, "Pardon me, Mr. Cratchit, but do you have a crippled son?"
  • The Giant Jawa-eyed Christmas Yet to Come.
  • The sound of Stewart working up to his big laughing scene at the end. Gagging, maybe?
  • The creepy way Stewart approaches the maid in his nephew's house on Christmas Day. Not so much awkward as, well, creepy.
We especially like the scenes in which Christmas Present visits the sailors at sea and prisoners in the jail -most versions leave this part out. We've grown to appreciate the downtrodden Bob Cratchit, whose portrayal I did not like at all at first but whose demeanor seems more realistic to me now than other versions I used to prefer, and a more good-hearted Fred than the one in this production would be hard to find.

The Younger Son keeps track of Saskia Reeves' career. She does make a great Mrs. Cratchitt. I like Edward Petherbridge, who played Lord Peter Wimsey in the PBS Mystery series back in the 1980's. In this movie, he plays one of the charity men who come to Scrooge for donations for the poor.

This Christmas Carol well worth viewing. We've seen a lot of adaptations, so we can't help but compare them. Patrick Stewart is by no means one of our favorite Scrooges, but this version has much to offer otherwise.

You can watch the scene with Marley's Ghost at Youtube.

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