A Christmas Carol and Its Adaptations

A Critical Examination of Dickens’s Story and Its Productions on Screen and Television


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About the Book

Over 150 years after its original composition, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol continues to delight readers. The figure of Ebenezer Scrooge has become a cultural icon, and Tiny Tim’s “God Bless Us Every One” is as familiar as “Merry Christmas.” It is not surprising that Dickens’ “ghostly little book,” as he called it, has proved popular with playwrights and screenwriters. In everything from elegant literary treatments to animated musicals, the role of Scrooge has been essayed by actors from George C. Scott to Mr. Magoo.

This critical account of the story’s history and its various adaptations examines first the original writing of the story, including its political, economic, and historical context. The major interpretations are analyzed within their various media: stage, magic lantern shows, silent film, talkies, and television. Dickens’ other, lesser known Christmas stories, like “The Cricket on the Hearth,” are also examined and compared to the immortal Carol. Finally, a complete annotated filmography of all film and television productions based on A Christmas Carol is included, with commentary on each version’s loyalty to the original text. The book includes 25 previously unpublished photos as well as analysis of previously undocumented productions. The text includes a foreword by the distinguished film and literary scholar Edward Wagenknecht, a bibliography and an index.

About the Author(s)

Fred Guida is the author of the blog www.charlesdickensonscreen.com. He is also a film consultant and programmer at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut, and has taught film studies at Quinnipiac University and Connecticut College.

Bibliographic Details

Fred Guida

Foreword by Edward Wagenknecht

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 276
Bibliographic Info: 60 photos, filmography, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006 [2000]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2840-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments       ix
Foreword by Edward Wagenknecht      1
Introduction      3

Prologue      9
1. The Literary Roots      11
2. The Political and Economic Roots      23
3. This Ghostly Little Book      31

4. Pre-Cinema      39
5. Silent Film      63
6. The Talkies      87
7. Television      117

8. Dickens’s Other Christmases      147
9. Variations on a Theme by Dickens      159

Epilogue      169
Annotated Carol Filmography      171
Notes      233
Bibliography      245
Index      251

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “An unusual and ambitious subject”—Newsletter of The Magic Lantern Society
  • “A useful guide”—The Dickensian
  • “Delightful…a scholarly work crammed with facts, credits, opinion and general humbuggery”—Film Review
  • “An engaging and informative text…. A detailed filmography”—Classic Images
  • “Excellent…intelligently written and painstaking in its detail”—Interzone
  • “You don’t have to be a fanatic like me to love the book too. If you enjoy Dickens, A Christmas Carol or just Christmas you’ll love what’s to learn from author Guida. I have spent more than a generation looking for a really good book that highlights film adaptations of A Christmas Carol”—The Moderate Voice
  • “A labor of love and a work of serious scholarship…valuable”—Dickens Quarterly
  • “Definitive”—The Slide Area.