Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Rich Little's Christmas Carol: Review by William Mortensen Vaughan

TitleRich Little's Christmas Carol
My Rating***

Adaptation:  Starring Rich Little as W.C. Fields, as Ebenezer Scrooge

Year Released1978

Format:  DVD,
live-action, film

Is this adaptation reverentYes, this adaptation is reverent.  It shows Scrooge sincerely repenting and even giving up alcohol.  However, I cannot in good faith recommend it to general audiences, because it includes implied sex scenes in which Rich Little, as Groucho Marx, as Mr. Fezziwig, demands sex from (and apparently has it with) his female employees.

Does it include the phrase, "God bless us..."Yes, when Rich Little, as Jean Stapleton, as Edith Bunker, as Mrs. Cratchit asks someone to say "grace," Rich Little, as Truman Capote, as Tiny Tim says, "God bless us, everyone!"

What does my wife think of it
She thinks it's one of the most uniquely entertaining adaptations of A Christmas Carol that she's ever seen.

How closely does this adaptation follow the original novel, by Charles Dickens?  This adaptation follows the original novel
somewhat, with numerous, interesting twists, the bulk of which involve Rich Little playing famous people (historical and fictitious) playing the main roles.

To start with, Rich Little plays W.C. Fields, as Ebenezer Scrooge, who is in "the boat and bottle business," with Bob Cratchit, played by Rich Little playing Paul Lynde.

Jacob Marley is played by Rich Little as Richard Nixon, with reel-to-reel tape all over him, instead of chains.

Tiny Tim is played by Rich Little as Truman Capote, as an adult midget version of Tiny Tim who is not lame, but merely wishes to become a novelist.

Belle never appears, nor is she ever mentioned.

All of the Ghosts of Christmas are famous, fictitious detectives in trench coats:  Columbo (Peter Falk), Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart), Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers), as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, respectively.

What dialect is used?  Plain English.

When and where does this adaptation take place?  This adaptation is a comedic fantasy, in which time and place are less relevant than the jokes and impersonations.  Although the set and wardrobe usually tends to portray Victorian England, Richard Nixon and reel-to-reel tape appear as Jacob Marley and his chains, making jokes about Watergate, even though these are all Twentieth Century phenomenons.

Is this adaptation a prequel or a sequel?  No.

Is this adaptation supernatural? 
Yes, this adaptation is supernatural, featuring ghosts and time travel.
Is this adaptation "framed"
Yes, by a narrator.

What original musical numbers and/or dance routines are included
This adaptation includes several unique songs:  "The Merriest Christmas Yet," "Typical Office Party," and
"It's Better to Give Than Receive (No One's Ever Going to Get a Cent From Me)." 

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

How creative and instense are the transitions, especially when "the Scrooge" is taken from one time and/or place to another?
  The transitions are fair, involving mostly cameras cutting to the next scenes.

What is the most remarkable thing about this adaptationThe most remarkable thing about this adaptation is Rich Little's ability to impersonate so many celebrities playing various roles in A Christmas Carol.

What extras are included on the DVDThis DVD contains an audio commentary track by Rich Little and the Director, Trevor Evans.  It also contains a similar film, Robin Hood, with an audio commentary track.

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