Monday, January 2, 2017

Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, Review by William Mortensen Vaughan

TitleMr. Magoo's Christmas Carol

My Rating*****

Adaptation:  Featuring the voice of Jim Backus as Mr. Magoo

Date of Release:  Tuesday, December 18, 1962

Format:  DVD, animated, made for television

Is this version reverent?  Yes.

Does it include the phrase "God bless us..."?  Yes.

Does it mention God?  Yes.

What does my wife think of it?  She likes the hymns in it, and think's it's "pretty cute."

How closely does this adaptation follow the original novel, by Charles Dickens?  This adaptation follows the original novel fairly closely, with some changes and exclusions, within a "frame."

Mr. Magoo plays the role of Ebenezer Scrooge on Broadway.

After Jacob Marley's ghost appears to Scrooge, the next ghost to appear is that of Christmas Present, at 2 a.m., in a pink robe, instead of at 1 a.m., in green, with white trim.  The next ghost to appear, is the Ghost of Christmas Past, who arrives at 1 a.m.

Scrooge appears as a boy in school, but the scene with Fan is missing.  He then meets Belle at Fezziwig's ball, and she breaks off their engagement in the next scene.

Fred and his wife and friends are missing.  Scrooge celebrates Christmas with Bob Cratchit and his family instead.

Mr. Magoo's performance receives a standing ovation.

What dialect is used?  Plain English

When and where does this adaptation take place?  Modern (1960's?) Broadway

Is this adaptation a prequel or a sequel?  No.

Is this adaptation supernatural?  No, although, since it's a cartoon version of a stage production, the ghosts and magic seem real.

Is this adaptation "framed"?  Yes, Mr. Magoo drives crazily through a traffic jam to a theatre, where he stars as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.

How many original musical numbers and/or dance routines are included?  Several excellent, original hymns/songs are incorporated into this adaptation.  Carolers sing "Joy to the World!"  Mr. Magoo sings about how good it is to be back on Broadway.  Scrooge sings "Ringle, Ringle" as he counts his coins.  Young Scrooge and old Scrooge each sing a sad song about being "all alone in the world."  Scrooge and his fiancee sing about a warm winter. The Cratchits sing about "razzleberry jelly" and having "the Lord's bright blessing."  The charwoman, laundress and undertaker's man sing song about how "despicable" they are.

How attractive is the visual art?  The art is acceptable, and, for me, very nostalgic.

How creative and instense are the transitions?  The transitions are adequate, and include shots of Scrooge and the Ghosts flying.

What is the most remarkable thing about this adaptation?  It seems to be the perfect combination of humor, drama, tragedy, music, and nostalgia.

What extras are included on the DVD?  The DVD includes a Scene Index; a "History of Mr. Magoo in Film and Television"; "Biographies of the Voice Talents, With Jim Backus"; "Career Retrospective of Composer Jule Styne and Lyicist Bob Merrill"; original movie poster; and a classic Bonus Mr. Magoo short.

Test your knowledge of this film by taking this quiz!

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