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An American Christmas Carol, actor Henry Winkler


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Product Details

  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: GAIAM INTERNATIONAL
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (350 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0088AW5I4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,650 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "An American Christmas Carol, actor Henry Winkler" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

It is Christmas Eve 1933, and the townspeople of Concord, NH are trying to hold onto their holiday spirit in the face of the Great Depression. But old Mr. Benedict Slade (Henry Winkler) is ruining what hope they have left by mercilessly repossessing their prized goods. Alone in his apartment, Slade is visited by three ghosts--Christmas Past, Present and Future--who take him on a fantastic journey through time that will show him the tragic consequences of his actions if he doesn't mend his ways forever.

Amazon.com

Henry Winkler's performance as a miserly financier anchors this often-elegant 1979 TV-movie adaptation of Charles Dickens's classic holiday story of kindness and redemption. Buried under layers of old-age makeup (by Oscar winner Greg Cannom), Winkler manages to bring forth both the bitterness and the pain that fuel Benedict Slade, an elderly finance company president who spends a Depression-era Christmas Eve crushing the spirits of his fellow New Hampshire residents by evicting debtors from their homes or repossessing their belongings. Upon claiming and attempting to destroy a valuable edition of Dickens's Christmas Carol, Slade is visited by a trio of ghosts (David Wayne, Gerard Parkes, and Dorian Harewood) who attempt to convince him to change his ways or suffer a terrible fate. Tony Award-nominated writer Jerome Coopersmith does a fine job of adapting Dickens's story, smartly adding political and financial details germane to the period that anchor its 20th-century American setting; director Eric Till capably balances the fantasy and everyday elements, and captures the period detail and snowy locations (Ontario, Canada, stands in for New England) with an eye towards the picturesque. But the film's success rests squarely on Winkler's shoulders, and the actor provides believable performances as both the youthful and aged Slade that did much to remind viewers that he was a far more talented performer than his most popular screen character, Fonzie of Happy Days, suggested. Shout Factory's full-frame presentation of An American Christmas Carol looks good, especially in comparison to other DVD releases of TV movies from the period, and offers a new eight-minute-plus interview with Winkler, who discusses his concerns about tackling the iconic story, as well as the challenges presented by the considerable makeup design. --Paul Gaita

Customer Reviews

Henry Winkler does a great job.
Lisa Bucci
I was very happy to find it recently produced on DVD/Bluray.
Henry J. Ogonowski Jr.
Good cast and I enjoyed the movie very much.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Ken Roberts VINE VOICE on October 19, 2001
Format: DVD
Henry Winkler proves his acting ability in this American version of the Dickens classic. One will actually forget that he was 'The FONZ' and will be amazed at his transformation from nice guy to mean guy back to nice guy. The general feel of this movie, though, is grey. That's the best way to describe it. But then, it was a bleak grey time in American history, with the Great Depression and all. When Dickens originally wrote the book, it was a grey time in England's history as well, so the subdued feeling one gets while watching this 'modern' version fits in well with the spirit of the original story.
A nice twist (sorry, Oliver!) to a true classic.
By the way, for my money, the finest original version out there is the George C. Scott version followed closely by Alistair Sim.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Randall Grossman on December 23, 2002
Format: DVD
"A Christmas Carol" may well be the most-adapted Christmas story in literature, with version ranging from whimsical to musical to deadly serious. This particular version, starring Henry Winkler as Benedict Slade (a.k.a. Scrooge) is my favorite.
The movie translates Dickens' classic story from 19th century England to Depression-era New England. The result is very effective. For me, an American born to parents who grew up in the Depression, the 20th century setting made the story feel very real. The writers and director made excellent decisions in their choice of sets. Three notable examples were the New England furniture factory as the setting for Slade's youth, the newly-conceived idea of consumer credit as the source of his subsequent wealth and avarice, and the choice of an African-American as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come ("You must be Future," Slade declares, cowering before him).
Winkler's performance is brilliant. He captures the essence of Slade perfectly, and makes the gradual transformation from miser to redeemed man seem natural and believable. The scene at the Thatcher (a.k.a. Cratchit) household at the end of the film never fails to bring tears to my eyes and those of my family. The supporting cast performs ably as well, making this a Christmas classic that one can watch every year.
"An American Christmas Carol" debuted in 1979, midway through Winkler's popular "Happy Days" television series run. After a few years of reruns, it disappeared from view until recently, when it became available on DVD and video. I heartily recommend it for your holiday DVD collection.
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49 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 31, 1999
Format: DVD
IT WAS 1979, CHRISTMAS JUST A COUPLE OF WEEKS AWAY FLICKING THROUGH THE CHANNELS, I STOPPED ON CITY TV, CHANNEL 79, AS IT WAS KNOWN AT THAT TIME. I STARTED WATCHING THIS MOVIE CALLED AN AMERICAN CHRISTMAS CAROL WITH HENRY WINKLER, EVER SINCE THAT NIGHT IN DECEMBER 1979. I HAVE ALWAYS TAKEN TIME WATCH THIS FANTASTIC MOVIE, I BOUGHT THE VIDEO, NOW I WILL BUY IT ON DVD. I THINK ITS THE BEST VERSION OF CHARLES DICKENS CHRISTMAS CLASSIC SCROOGE....
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Awesome. If you like Christmas, then you'll like this movie. Just as the original by Dickens, it teaches us the true meaning of Christmas. I have been hooked since seeing this movie as a young adult and it still delivers. I enjoy the American twist on Dicken's story. You won't get a Victorian town in England, but you will get a simpler America and the American entrepreneurial spirit. Henry Winkler gives a commendable performance and the supporting cast works well. All in all, a must see for Christmas.
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31 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 11, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
If you already have (and love) the Alistair Sim version (Scrooge, 1951), the Reginald Owen version (1938) and Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (no, I'm not kidding, it's beautifully done), this will be an interesting film for comparison.
Two good points stand out for this version of Dicken's classic Christmas story:
1) Since it is an adaptation, set in a different time and place from the original (Depression-era New England), deviations from the text and basic plot-line, are not as bothersome as they are in the films that adapt the story in "Dickensian" England.
2) Henry Winkler, who, at the time, was playing against his well-known Fonz character, gives an excellent characterization to the Scrooge-like Benedict Slade.
George C. Scott and Albert Finney give detailed performances as Scrooge in their version, and the films that feature them have good production values -- and, in the case of the Finney version a couple of good songs -- but the deviations in text in the Scott version and the added material in the Finney version (Scrooge in hell -- what?) are both unnecessary and more than a little annoying.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By christopher on November 9, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
First time i saw this movie was 1985 on television. Henry Winkler was excellent! Actually, the whole cast was great. I spent 17 years trying to locate this movie. You won't find it in a video store, at least where i live. And they don't show it on regular t.v. anymore. It is a MUST HAVE if you collect christmas movies.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steve Gick on January 17, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
One of the best "Scrooge" movies, a very creative adaptation.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Israel on December 23, 2002
Format: DVD
Like many other reviewers, I first saw this as a kid on television in '79 and Henry Winkler's "Fonzie" persona was still so much a part of the cultural fabric that it was somewhat shocking to even think of him, much less see him, as anything else.
However, I was transfixed by this adaptation on the Dickens story and was genuinely moved by Winkler's ( Benedict Slade ) transformation at the end. Winkler is simply superb: believable, funny, dramatic, and imminently likable even as the curmudgeon. The supporting cast is wonderful as well even though most of them, with the possible exception of David Wayne, will be unknown to most viewers. The actor who plays Thatcher (the "Cratchit" character in the Dickens novel) does a wonderful job of being as compassionate as the role demands without being too "soft".
The actors playing the roles of Mr. Brewster and Helen Brewster also hold their own and give Winkler solid performances to react to even with limited screen time.
The movie looks and feels like I would imagine turn of the century and Depression era New England to look and feel like to an outsider: quaint, majestic, proud; yet tired and despairing.
My only problem with the movie, and this is REALLY nitpicking, is that they simply made Winkler look too old for the latter Slade ("Scrooge") part. the movie does an excellenet job of letting us know when things are happening, even in the Christmas Past scenarios, e.g., we know Slade and Helen broke up around 1917 because of the backdrop of the war effort (WW I). The contemporary story is set in 1933 and Slade looks like he has aged forty years instead of only 16 or so. He looks MUCH older than his contemporaries. However, maybe they intended to achieve this effect to accentuate his gnarliness.
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