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A Christmas Carol and Its Adaptations : A Critical Examination of Dickens' Story and Its Productions on Screen and Television Hardcover – November 25, 1999


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Harlequin Britain by John O'Brien
Harlequin Britain by John O'Brien
Learn more about the emergence of pantomime in 18th century England and its effects on British culture. See full description | See similar books

Editorial Reviews

Review

"an engaging and informative text.... A detailed filmography"--Classic Images

About the Author

Fred Guida is a film programmer and consultant at Yale University's Film Study Center and the Center for British Art. He teaches film and television studies as adjunct faculty and has written a number of journal articles. He lives in Branford, Connecticut.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 276 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company (November 25, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786407387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786407385
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 7.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,901,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lark of The Bookwyrm's Hoard on 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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bradley LaForme on 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth G. Melillo VINE VOICE on 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 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 18, 1999
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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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 15, 2000
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
More scholarly than Paul Sammon's, "A Christmas Carol Carol Book," this tome gives some outstanding history on the various A Christmas Carol adaptations on film, television, and pre-cinema. Fantastic research is evident throughout.

Some of my favorite reviews are on the Richard Williams animated version, the Scrooge musical, the fifties British version, and even the segment on Mr. Magoo. Surprisingly, Mr Guida gives high marks to the Albert Finney musical and even the Mr. Magoo version, who previous reviewers had slammed for a variety of reasons, including their music.

Great chapter on the magic lantern, a predecessor to slide projectors, which many nineteenth century audiences saw colored "slides" from various stories.

Mr. Guida has a relaxed narrative voice throughout the text, not ponderous or heavy as in some history books. I would even recommend this book for younger students.

Going back to the research, when time permits I will try to track down some of the recommended essays in the bibliography. Epigraphs from G.K. Chesterton and William Makepeace Thackeray sound interesting, and seeing names like Shakespearean actor Maurice Evans in the credits from thirties CC productions was a hoot. A picture of Peter Sellers from "Carol for Another Christmas," an early, nearly forgotten, Holiday special from the early sixties caught my curiosity.

Note: Mr. Guida missed the CC adaptation on " The Six Million Dollar Man," and I would love to see him do a follow up version focusing on all the Carol radio interpretations, which were quite numerous in the pre-television era.

Worth rereading several times.

JThree
Williston ND
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