"A Christmas Carol" starring Kelsey Grammer

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Peter McM, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. Peter McM

    Peter McM Supporting Actor

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    I must say I found NBC's A Christmas Carol - The Musical quite rewarding. The dialog was carried almost entirely by the music, but even with a couple of recurring themes never became boring or tedious. The lyrics were clever and carried the story well.

    Kelsey Grammar filled the role of Ebenezer Scrooge quite capably, and his singing voice was adequate to the task. I enjoyed the different takes on the spirit characters; "Chrismas Past" was a lovely female, and the normally dank and terrifying "Christmas Future" was given a face and some expression.

    The only character I almost couldn't buy was Jason Alexander as Jacob Marley. Although he, too performed well, I just didn't quite see the initial shock of terror that Scrooge was supposed to experience. In fact, Alexander shone through so much I almost expected something comical from him at some point.

    Overall, I though the treatment to be fresh and original.
     
  2. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    I forgot this was on, but NBC will re-air it on Christmas Eve.
     
  3. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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    I caught the last half of this, and I'm sorry to say I wasn't that impressed. Kelsey Grammar is certainly a capable actor as was most of the rest of the principal cast, but they just didn't move me here. Again, I only saw the last half, but it seemed like all the actors (and the overall production) were simply going through the motions, which is a common trap when adapting a well-known story.

    Despite individual elements that work, nearly all of the "traditional" adaptations of "A Christmas Carol" I've seen fall prey to this at one point or another. One of the few that doesn't is the 1984 made-for-TV version with George C. Scott as Scrooge. I know it's unfair to compare too much, but every time I see a new re-telling of the story, that '84 version is the one I automatically compare it to, because it is so outstanding.

    Maybe I'll try to catch the re-run of this new version, so I can see the first half, but from what I saw the other night, it just didn't seem to work that well.
     
  4. Steven Wesley

    Steven Wesley Second Unit

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    I saw it and it wasn't bad, but I'll always hold the 1970 musical Scrooge higher than this [​IMG]
     
  5. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Screenwriter

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    I thought it was a fresh retelling of the Dicken's story. I thought that the costumes and sets were done very well, but it still didn't evoke the same feeling that the 1951 Alastair Sim version does.

    Andy
     
  6. Todd Terwilliger

    Todd Terwilliger Screenwriter

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    I missed it. Maybe I'll try to catch it on Xmas eve. Nice to see some love for the George C. Scott version, it's my favorite. [​IMG]
     
  7. Peter McM

    Peter McM Supporting Actor

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    Patrick Stewart also did a wonderful turn at the Scrooge chracter five years ago; ayone who hasn't should also check that out, available on DVD.
     
  8. GeorgePaul

    GeorgePaul Second Unit

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    I concur with Andrew and Bryan...the Sim and Scott versions are a clear cut above the myriad other adaptations of the Dickens story. I am very glad the early reviews of Grammer's performance sound so promising, as that would make an ideal trio of "Christmas Carol"s for my DVD collection.[​IMG]
     
  9. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    I'm a huge fan of Dickens novel and have seen just about every screen adaptation ever made....but I absolutely HATED this one. I found it nearly unwatchable.

    I thought Grammer was the worst Scrooge ever, ridiculously over the top and squinting like Mr. Magoo (who I felt gave a much better performance in his version)

    It was very Disney-fied, and pretty much insulting to the original.

    If you must see a "musical" version, go with Albert Finney's SCROOGE as it is 100% time better than this one.

    I like the 1951 version with Sim and the 1984 version with Scott the best, but the 1999 Stewart version has it moments too. Even some of the "updates" set in the American Old West, the 1930's depression or in modern department stores are worthwhile.

    I'll never look at the NBC version again, I barely made it through once.
     
  10. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
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    I got to go with Steve. I thought this one was terrible. I loved Kelsey in just about any role I've ever seen him, but never again.

    I think Scott's version is great, Patrick Stewart's is underrated, Sims is a classic, and the Owen 1938 version is unfortunately forgotten by many. Finney's version I can take or leave and I even enjoyed Susan Lucci's attempt so there aren't many versions I dislike, but I'll make an exception for this musical.
     
  11. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Screenwriter

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    David,

    I also think that the 1938 version is very forgotten. It is unfortunate that it has not been released by Warner Bros. on DVD, but I guess that's another matter for the DVD thread.

    Many people also forget the 1935 British Scrooge. I am also a fan of this one, and it is one of my three that I watch without fail at Christmas, along with the 1938 and 1951 versions. To be honest, I haven't even seen the Scott version, though I plan to pick it up in the coming weeks before Christmas.

    Andy
     
  12. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
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    One of the few remaining advantages of my LD's is the 1938 disc. The list is steadily shrinking, but I still love those covers.
     
  13. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    My girlfriend loves everything to do with A Christmas Carol. We have MANY versions of the book and various movies. She turned this one off after 15 minutes.
     
  14. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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    I don't think you'll be disappointed. [​IMG] Scott is great as always, and thanks to some impressive cinematography (particularly for a TV movie) and convincing locations, the setting really feels like 19th century England. There are also some genuinely scary moments, especially during the Marley and Christmas Yet To Come scenes. (And Scott's reaction to Marley's chains clinking around in the hallway is classic, both funny and creepy at the same time.)

    I've actually never seen the 1951 version with Sim (shame on me), so maybe I'll look for that one this year. [​IMG]
     
  15. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    Just another plug for the 1984 version with George C Scott. Before seeing it, I was convinced they had made a huge casting error, as Scrooge had nearly always been portrayed as a sniveling, whiny and not physically strong man. Scott was not a small man or actor, and I was blown away by his nuanced and passionate portrayal of Scrooge. HIGHLY RECOMMEND this version to all who haven't seen it.

    Second favorite would have to be the 1951 version with Sim. I'm not a fan of musicals, so I dislike the Finney version (Scrooge); contributing to that is that I worked as the lights operator for a stage version of the musical back in high school. I don't ever want to hear "Thank you very much" EVER AGAIN!!

    I found the Patrick Stewart version oddly boring. Stewart is a wonderful actor, and he did well with the role, but for some reason, that version simply did not capture my heart and attention.

    And I will confess to not even catching the Kelsey Grammar version this week - all of the reviews I read ahead of time said it was mediocre at best, plus it's a musical.
     
  16. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    Can you tell I'm bored? Using Imdb, I've compiled a list of different versions...

    For the record, the best movie is Scrooge (1951), but I think the best Scrooge is George C. Scott (1984). Clive Donner was the editor of the earlier movie, and directed the Scott one.

    For a completely wonderful "musical" version, try Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962). All the other musicals, including this latest one, are pretty terrible, including Scrooge (1970).

    1901: UK, “Scrooge, or Marley’s Ghost” directed by Walter R. Booth
    1908: UK, “A Christmas Carol,” starring Tom Ricketts
    1910: USA, “A Christmas Carol,” starring William Bechtel. (17 minutes) on a compilation DVD
    1912: USA, “The Virtue of Rags,” Theodore Wharton’s silent loose adaptation
    1913: UK, “Scrooge,” directed by Leedham Bantock, Seymour Hicks as Scrooge (he also gets a writing credit)
    1914: UK, “A Christmas Carol,” Franklyn and George Bellamy star.
    1915: USA, “A Christmas Carol,” Delmer Daves stars
    1916: USA, “The Right to Be Happy” (“Scrooge the Skinflint” in UK). Rupert Julian starred and directed.
    1922: UK, “Scrooge,” directed by George Wynn, starring H.V. Esmond. Adaptation by W. Courtney Rowden
    1923: UK, “Scrooge,” this one says it’s also a Rowden adaptation, but he’s also listed as director. Russell Thorndike stars.
    1928: UK, “Scrooge,” directed by Hugh Croise, starring Bransby Williams (only 9 minutes, but first with sound)
    1935: UK, “Scrooge,” directed by Henry Edwards, Seymore Hicks repeats his Scrooge, in first full length sound version. DVD
    1938: USA,”A Christmas Carol,” MGM release, directed by Edwin L Marin, starring Regiland Owen. VHS
    1943: USA, “A Christmas Carol,” early TV version. 60 minutes w/ William Podmore as Scrooge.
    1947: Spain, “Leyenda de Navidad” Manuel Tamayo directed first foreign-language version?
    1947: “A Christmas Carol” John Carradine and Eva Marie Saint apparently starred in an early TV version
    1949: USA, “The Christmas Carol.” Another TV version directed by Arthur Pierson starring Taylor Holmes with Vincent Price
    1950: UK, “A Christmas Carol,” Bransby Williams as Scrooge in Brit TV version.
    1951: UK, “Scrooge,” directed by Brian Desdmond Hearst, starring Alastair Sim, adaptation by Noel Lanley. DVD
    1953: USA: “A Christmas Carol” another TV starring Noel Leslie
    1956: USA: “The Stingiest Man in Town,” episode of the Alcoa hour, starring Basil Rathbone as Scrooge
    1960: West Germany, “Ein Weihnachtslied in Prosa oder Eine Geistergeschichte zum Christfest,” German TV version
    1962: USA, “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” animated, book by Barbara Chain, Music & lyrics by Styne and Merrill DVD
    1963: Brazil, “O Velho Scrooge” Brazillian TV series
    1964: Canda, “Mr. Scrooge” another TV version starring Cyril Ritchard
    1964: USA, “Carol for Another Christmas” Mankiewicz’s TV director debut, Rod Serling updated it to the present. Sterling Hayden starred as a Scrooge-like industrial tycoon
    1970: UK, “Scrooge,” directed by Ralph Neame, Finney as Scrooge, Bricusse songs. DVD
    1971: USA, “A Christmas Carol” Animated for TV, with the voices of Sim and Hordern repeating their ’51 roles. The visuals were so well-received that it was released theatrically in ’72 and considered for an Oscar. VHS
    1977: UK, “A Christmas Carol,” TV. Hordern moved up to Scrooge in this version.
    1978: Canada, “Scrooge” TV version. John Blanchard directed, Warren Graves starred.
    1978: USA “The Stingiest Man in town” animated re-make of 56 Alcoa Hour version, Walter Matthau as Scrooge’s voice with Theodore Bikel, Tom Bosley, and Robert Morse supporting. Music by Fred Speilman. VHS
    1979: USA, “An American Chirstmas Carol” TV version starring Henry Winkler, updated to Depression-era New England. DVD
    1979: USA, “Skinflint: A Country Christmas Carol” TV vervsion, set in modern Tennessee. Hoyt Axton leads the cast of this country-western version.
    1981: USA, “A Christmas Carol,” TV version, from Dennis Powers and Laird Williamson’s stage adaptation.
    1982: USA, “A Christmas Carol” TV film of Guthrie Theatre stage version.VHS
    1983: USA, “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.” Alan Young as Scrooge McDuck. DVD (Vol 2 of WD Treasures)
    1984: UK/USA, “A Christmas Carol.” Clive Donner-directed TV version with George C. Scott. DVD
    1984: France, “Christmas Carol” French TV version.
    1985: USA, ‘The Jetsons Christmas Carol” TV. Name says it all.
    1988: UK, “Blackadder’s Christmas Carol” TV. Rowan Atkinson’s take. VHS
    1988: USA, “Scrooged” Bill Murray. Directed by Richard Donner, Mich Glazer and Michael O’Donoghue’s update of the story. DVD
    1992: USA, “The Muppet Christmas Carol.” Brian Henson directed, Michael Cain as Scrooge.DVD
    1994: “A Christmas Carol” a ballet version.
    1994: USA, “A Flinstones Christmas Carol.” Fred Flinstone as Scrooge.
    1994: USA, “Bah, Humbug!: The Story of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’” TV. Dramatic reading on video with Jkames Earl Jones and Martin Sheen.
    1995: USA, “Ebbie” Susan Lucci version described by Robert above.
    1997: Canada, “Ebenezer.” Jack Palance stars in a Western version. DVD
    1997: USA, “A Christmas Carol.” Animated version with Cavallari/Goldsmith songs. Tim Curry and Whoppi Goldberg star. DVD
    1997: USA, “Ms. Scrooge.” TV. Gender-inverted version. Cicely Tyson starred. Directed by John Korty. VHS
    1999: USA, “A Christmas Carol” TV, Patrick Stewart version. Joel Grey as Christmas Past. DVD
    2000: USA, “A Diva’s Chirstmas Carol.” Vanessa Williams. VH1 TV movie version.DVD
    2000: UK, “A Chirstmas Carol,” UK TV. Modern version with Scrooge as a loan shark.
    2004: USA, “A Christmas Carol,” TV version of MSG musical, with Grammer et al. Not on DVD…yet
     
  17. Robert Floto

    Robert Floto Supporting Actor

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    This is fantastic version! It should also be mentioned that it is fairly creepy...and directed by the great Chuck Jones!
     
  18. Peter McM

    Peter McM Supporting Actor

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    Is this 1971 animated version the one that was really creepy whem Christmas Present revealed the children of "Ignorance" and "Averice" under his robe? I remember that scared the willies out of me as a kid!
     
  19. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Screenwriter

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    Bryan, I'll see the Scott version if you see the Sim version. Deal?

    Andy
     
  20. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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    Sounds good to me! I found the Sim version for rent yesterday, so hopefully I'll get to watch it sometime in the next few days.
     

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