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A Christmas Carol And Its Adaptations: A Critical Examination of Dickens's Story And Its Productions on Screen And Television [Paperback]

Fred Guida , Foreword by Edward Wagenknecht , Edward Wagenknecht
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 2, 2006 0786428406 978-0786428403 0
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 The book includes 25 previously unpublished photos as well as analysis of previously undocumented productions.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.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"“Excellent...intelligently written and painstaking in its detail"” --Interzone

"“An engaging and informative text...detailed filmography"” --Classic Images

"“A labor of love and a work of serious scholarship...valuable"” --Dickens Quarterly

"Delightful...a scholarly work crammed with facts, credits, opinion and general humbuggery." --Film Review

"An unusual and ambitious subject." --Newsletter of The Magic Lantern Society

"Definitive" --The Slide Area

"An unusual and ambitious subject." --Newsletter of The Magic Lantern Society

"Definitive" --The Slide Area

"An unusual and ambitious subject." --Newsletter of The Magic Lantern Society

About the Author

Fred Guida is the author of the blog 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.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (August 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786428406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786428403
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6.7 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,581,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Treat for "Carol" Lovers January 15, 2000
Format:Hardcover
Everyone has a favorite film or television version of Dickens beloved "A Christmas Carol." But few of us have any idea how very many adaptations there have been. Mr. Guida's wonderful book examines first the written "Carol," then goes on to detail some of the hundreds of adaptations and variations, from the early stage versions and magic lantern slides to modern made-for-television Carols. Mr. Guida discusses the major Carols with wit and humor as well as rare discernment: his love for his subject is evident. Minor Carols and variations are also covered, albeit more briefly. If you cannot find your favorite version in the text, you are sure to find it in the superb and very thorough filmography. The filmography is worth browsing in and of itself; did you know that there have been Western, country-western, rock-and-roll, and even science-fiction variations on "A Christmas Carol"? Or that actors as disparate as Cicely Tyson, Basil Rathbone, and Mr. Magoo have played Scrooge? If you love "A Christmas Carol" or simply dote on film trivia, I promise you will enjoy this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reference Material December 17, 2001
Format:Hardcover
I've been a fan of the 1953 version of a the Carol for as long as I remember. It was family tradition every Christmas eve to watch it. I've looked at as many possible versions and have yet to find it's match. This book is an amazing resource of all the various interpretations of the Dicken's classic has gone through from early lantern projected pictures, through the silent era, talking films, television, and animated specials. The early version were fascinating and I found it a special bonus that the author made note of various television shows which featured a special Christmas episode inspired by A Christmas Carol. Who could ever forget the "Six Million Dollar Man" Christmas special using the ideas from the novel. This brought back a lot of great television special memories. I was even able to track down two hard to find T.V. animated specials shown in the early 1970's but not seen since. (I found them on Amazon). All in all a great read, especially for fans. I did not agree with all of the criticisms, and the text is a rather dry read, maybe a little too academic. But still great stuff!!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT NEW BOOK December 18, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is not just a meticulously researched film historian's delight. It is thoughtfully written, and chock-full of information related to Dickens and A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Excellent!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - extremely comprehensive and insightful November 25, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This volume assuredly would be a welcome addition to the libary of anyone who loves Charles Dickens and/or the history of film. The style of writing is quite engaging, yet it does not descend into sentimentality or nostalgia.

The opening chapters, which provide a relatively brief yet surprisingly insightful treatment of Dickens' Christmas writings and social conscience, are a concise picture of the setting in which Dickens brought his classic to life. For those unfamiliar with the period, I would find this to be an essential background, lest A Christmas Carol be reduced to a fairy tale, as it is in certain film treatments. Those who are acquainted with these matters undoubtedly would find the quotations from Dickens' more obscure Christmas writings, and references to such other Christmas scenes as those in The Pickwick Papers, to form a comprehensive image of the combination of commentary and imagination in these works, and underlying themes which influenced a Christmas Carol itself.

The treatment of film adaptations, including the earliest silents, is extremely well researched and comprehensive. Even the biggest fan of "Scrooge pictures" would find some in this collection which were unknown. The classic films (for example, Alastair Sims' version) are analysed with an insightfulness that would increase anyone's understanding and enjoyment of their content.

As a Dickens lover, and also as one who is a "Christmas nut" (for whom the insights in this volume were a welcome and lovely nutcracker), I would highly recommend this book on all counts.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Treat February 15, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Fred Guida has presented an incredibly well researched and beautifully written book that blends the literary history of this story along with the history of its various screen presentations. Thank you for this unique presentation.
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