Friday, December 23, 2016

A Christmas Carol, Starring Vincent Fegan: Review by William Mortensen Vaughan

TitleA Christmas Carol

My Rating**

Adaptation:  Starring Vincent Fegan as Ebenezer Scrooge

Date of Release:  Sunday, January 1, 2012

Format:  DVD, live-action, feature-length film 

Is this adaptation reverent?  Yes, it's reverent, but it's also creepy!

Does it include the phrase "God bless us...?"  [TBC]

Does it mention "God" or "Christ"?  [TBC]

What does my wife think of it?  She doesn't like it.  She thinks it's weird and creepy.  She doesn't like the lack of background extras.

How closely does this adaptation follow the original novel, by Charles Dickens?  This adaptation follows the original novel fairly well, but it is the epitome of why film producers should use background extras.  Although it follows the original story fairly well, it sorely lacks background characters.  It seems to have been shot in the country, rather than in a city; none of the scenes resemble a city such as London, where the original story took place.  There are no passers-by, no shoppers, no boys sliding on the ice, no workers warming themselves by a fire in the streets...  Fezziwig's ball is not a ball; it's a toast among only three people:  Mr. Fezziwig, Ebenezer Scrooge, and Dick Wilkins.  Fred's party isn't a party; it's Fred and his wife - just the two of them.  The scene with Belle and her husband does not even include her daughter, let alone any children - just her and her husband.  Bob is missing three of his six children.  The mother who owed Scrooge money and is glad about his death is missing her husband.  Old Joe attends only the laundress and the charwoman, and not the undertaker's man.

There are only two businessmen at the Exchange, commenting on Scrooge's death, instead of the three or four whom Dickens mentions in his novel.  (Whether or not there are three, or four, is open to interpretation, based on the original novel, but there are at least three:  one "fat man with a monstrous chin," "another," and "a third."  Dickens also makes mention of a "red-faced gentleman with a pendulous excrescence on the end of his nose," but this may or not may have be the man he refers to as "another.")  There are no other people at the Exchange, in this adaptation, which Dickens describes as a busy place, with "merchants" who "hurried up and down" and "conversed in groups."  My wife thinks the two men at the Exchange in this adaptation are the same two men who went to Scrooge's counting house to ask for a donation.

Although one of the women takes Scrooge's bed curtains to old Joe, and Scrooge wakes up on Christmas morning to exclaim that his curtains are still there, he is shown on a bed which is not a four-poster bed, and has no place to put bed curtains.  The scene is shot toward a curtained window, as if to imply that the bedroom window curtains are the bed curtains in question.

Several shots of female ghosts are included, for no apparent reason.  Perhaps the director owed these women a favor.

When and where does this adaptation take place?  The country, sometime after the introduction of power lines.

Is this adaptation a prequel or a sequel?  No.

Is this adaptation supernatural?  Yes.  Not only is this version supernatural, it seems more like one of Maria Olsen's low budget horror films than A Christmas Carol.  The music is dreadful, sometimes drowning out the dialogue.  The lighting and over-exposure, mixed with art and double or more expsosures, and the lack of background extras, and the solitary settings, as well as the female Ghost of Christmas Past's masculine, telepathic voice, all added to the creepiness of this film.

Is this adaptation "framed"?  Yes, this adaptation is framed by Charles Dickens, played by Laurence Foster, reading the story out loud.

How many original musical numbers and/or dance routines are included?  If there are any musical numbers in this film, they aren't memorable enough to mention. 

How attractive is the visual art?  The art in this film is very unattractive, especially the Phantom's hand, which seems to be covered by melting wax or acid.

How creative and instense are the transitions?  The transitions are inadequate.  They mostly consist of double or more exposure.

What is the most remarkable thing about this adaptation?
The most remarkable part of this whole film is the performance/monologue of Neill Fleming, in the role of Bob Cratchit, grieving for the loss of Tiny Tim.  This is the most heart-wrenching show of grief on the part of any Bob Cratchit for any Tiny Tim which I have ever seen.

What extras are included on the DVD?  This DVD allows chapter selection.  It also includes trailers, one of which is for an Irish, ghost hunting documentary.

Test your knowledge of this film by taking this quiz!

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