Friday, February 10, 2017

Northern Ballet Adaptation of A Christmas Carol: Review by William Mortensen Vaughan

TitleA Christmas Carol
My Rating***

AdaptationStarring Jeremy Kerridge as Ebenezer Scrooge

Date of Release
Thursday, December 8, 1994 
(NOTE:  The film indicates that it was produced in 1992.)

Format:  DVD,
live-action, feature-length, film of a musical stage production

Is this adaptation reverent?  Yes, this adaptation is reverent; it includes the hymn "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen!"

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

Does it mention "God" or "Christ"?  Yes, this adaptation includes the hymn, "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen!"

What does my wife think of it?  She hates it; she doesn't like musicals, and refuses to watch this one.

How closely does this adaptation follow the original novel, by Charles Dickens?  This adaptation follows the original novel fairly well, but with obvious changes:

The opening scene is Marley's funeral procession.

Instead of two portly gentlemen entering Scrooge's office to ask him for a donation, a crowd of picketers appear outside his office, where Bob Cratchit joins them in asking for "Christmas Comfort for the Poor" and for people to "Feed the Hungry."

Fred apparently brings a woman (presumably, his wife) to visit Scrooge at his office.

An odd musical number is inserted, in which a line of dirty children, dressed in rags, file past a stern-looking man, while a variation of the song "Four Pence a Day" is heard in the background.

Instead of sliding on his feet across ice, Bob Cratchit (Rocco Vitalia) slides on his bottom, down a slippery slide used to lower burlap bags full of some product from an upper level to a lower level, on the stage.

Fred's residence is never shown.  Bob plays Blind Man's Buff with his family after Tiny Tim's death.

Only four children appear at Bob's residence.

When the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge his bedroom in the future, after his death, four hags fight over his belongings.

On Christmas Day, Scrooge throws a block party in front of his office, to which Fred, Fred's wife, and Bob come to celebrate.
The finale at Scrooge's office features an encore appearance by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.

What dialect is used?  Plain English.

When and where does this adaptation take place?  London in the 1800's.

Is this adaptation a prequel or a sequel? 

Is this adaptation supernatural? 
Yes, this adaptation is supernatural, with numerous ghosts.
Is this adaptation "framed"

What original musical numbers and/or dance routines are includedThere is a unique version of "Four Pence a Day," and various other songs, including one which contains the phrase "Marley is dead!"

How attractive is the visual art?  The set, wardrobe, architecture, and art are excellent.

How creative and instense are the transitions, especially when "the Scrooge" is taken from one time and/or place to another?
  The transitions are excellent; they do not use special film effects which detract from the play, although different camera angles and zooming in and out help keep the viewer's interest.

What is the most remarkable thing about this adaptation?  The most remarkable thing about this adaptation is, perhaps, the inclusion of the song "Four Pence a Day."

What extras are included on the DVD?  Scene selection and subtitles in English, French, German, and Spanish are available on the DVD.  An excellent program, in the form of a twenty-page booklet is included with the disc, in the jewel case.

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