A Christmas Carol

I was only thinking the other day that I’d never read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I watched various TV adaptations, especially The Muppets version. As I was ironing I was watching some cheesy American Christmas film that seemed all a bit formulaic and highly predictable.

Dickens’ novel was written in six weeks in 1843, published in one volume unlike many of his previous novels that were serialised. It was published on 19th December and was sold out by Christmas Eve. It has never gone out of print. He wrote about his experiences of being the son of a debtor in and out of debtors prison and at a time when Christmas traditions were less celebrated.

As we’re into the final week ahead of Christmas I’m waiting for our daughter to arrive for the family gathering, I was flicking through the channels and came across the original film, made in 1951. I have seen it many years ago but probably not all the way through. For some reason I felt compelled to watch it from beginning to end. It has obviously had a bit of a remastering. The images were very clear and the sound less crackly. As Scrooge comes back from his trip with the ghost of Christmas Present and opens the window to ask the boy to get the goose, bells are ringing out.

Given the technology at the time, this is a masterpiece of cinematography. Faded ghosts, soundtrack and such eloquent acting skills from Alistair Sim. So far, by far, the best Christmas movie I’ve watched.

After the film there was a programme about Dickens’ life. Seems he started out with a very poor and simple background but managed to work his way up from a journalist to novelist, married for 22 years with 10 children before scandalously separating from his wife in favour of an 18 year old bit of fluff. Going from doting husband and father to a bit of a miserly, bitter old man. As his stories grew darker, so did his life.

I’m looking forward to R taking control of the TV remote and finding some fun stuff to watch. She usually puts us on to good films and shows.


2 thoughts on “A Christmas Carol

  1. Two Christmas Carol-related things I came across this week:

    I can recommend the BBC Radio 4 “In Our Time” episode (on BBC Sounds) about A Christmas Carol. Really interesting and lots I’d never thought about before relating to the book.

    And then I came across a link to the New York Public Library’s Christmas podcast from a couple of years ago, of Neil Gaiman reading it – they gave him Dickens’s own original performance notes, which they have, and he even dressed up! Link: https://www.nypl.org/blog/2014/12/19/podcast-neil-gaiman-christmas

    – going to listen to that on Christmas Eve!

    (Seriously, the book is worth reading. It’s very short and it’s fab!)


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