Tuesday, December 20, 2011
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
It's a gorgeous production, really. I think the original story is absolutely foolproof in the horror and the humanity it evokes (and that its message is timeless), and all an adaptation really has to do is commit to the characters and the words, but my goodness. George C. Scott gives a full-blooded, totally human Scrooge - cold-blooded at the start, but every little reaction he gives on the way back to humanity's embrace is well-calibrated, building on the one before it. And the whole damn cast commits - among others, who knew that David Warner had such reservoirs of vulnerability to draw upon?
A mention of the late Edward Woodward (yes he died two years ago, but I miss him still). I remember watching this with my mom, the first night it aired. Budding cinephile that I was, I was digging the period detail, the effectiveness of the performances and photography, and just having a nice pre-holiday with mom and this story. But good lord, when the Ghost of Christmas Present bounded in, Mom and I were both agape. Who the hell is this guy? Bedecked in white fur, holly laurels, and an impossible mane of hair, Woodward is the ultimate, pre-eminent party animal, both Lord of the Dance and one of the pubgoers from Wire's "A Serious Of Snakes". Watching him playfully fucking with Scrooge on their tour of Christmas present, and then seeing that mischief turn vicious as he delivers a WITHERING judgment on him, is an absolute joy. I wasn't at all surprised when Woodward returned to CBS the following year in his own series, and I like to think that some executive saw him booming through A CHRISTMAS CAROL and, for some beautifully obscure reason, said "Holy shit, this guy, THIS is our Robert McCall."
(Thanks to fellow Woodwardian Stacia at She Blogged by Night for the second image above.
And Merry Christmas to you.)