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Christmas Carol

2.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 1, 1996
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Gloucestershire Wassail (Traditional)
  2. A Christmas Carol, Part 1
  3. A Christmas Carol, Part 2
  4. Good King Wenceslas (Traditional)


Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 1, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Delta
  • ASIN: B000001VD8
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #449,303 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Laurence Olivier Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I first heard this marvelous Olivier performance as a child in the late 1970s, on a Coca-Cola Christmas promotional vinyl LP. I will never forget curling up on the couch on a December evening at my parents' home in the mountains of Utah, the room lit only by the lights on the Christmas tree, listening intently to Olivier's masterful rendition. This is not a reading of the full Dickens text. It was likely done for a half-hour BBC radio broadcast. Even as a condensed version of the original text, it still captures -- better than any performance I've seen or heard to date -- the magic, both chilling and joyful, of Dickens' story. I can heartily recommend this to anyone who is a Dickens or Olivier fan. It might be especially nice as an introduction to the story for young children, though the sophistication of the performance and edit will certainly appeal to those of all ages.
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Format: Audio CD
My espectations soared high when I bought this CD--imagine the thrill of finally getting to hear the great Laurence Olivier play Scrooge, a role he never portrayed on stage, screen, or television.

Alas,my hopes began to dim as soon as I opened the package.First of all, this is the shortest CD I know of--only 27 minutes, and at the price asked for it---online or off--highway robbery. The program is obviously from an old radio broadcast(probably from the late 40's or early 50's), and the treble must be turned up all the way for satsfactory listening; otherwise there's far too much bass. (There's absolutely no surface noise, however.)

The big disappointment, though, is the production. It isn't really bad, just very ordinary. And while nothing can beat the sound of Sir Laurence's beautiful voice narrating Dickens' classic (although Orson Welles' narration in the 1939 radio version with Lionel Barrymore comes pretty close), his portrayal of Scrooge is good, but surprisingly standard and ordinary, and nowhere near what you'd expect from the actor who was such a great Hamlet,Othello,Henry V and Richard III.

The greatest handicap of this version,though, is that unlike other recorded versions, this one tries to cram EVERY important detail of the story into just under half-an-hour, creating the impression that everybody is just rushing through it without lingering to savor the great moments - almost, but not quite, like speed reading, and a far cry from the famous 1941 Decca version, recently made available on CD in the U.S. by Deutsche Grammophon---a version that starred Ronald Colman as Scrooge, and was issued on 78 RPM records in 1941 and one side of an LP in later years.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As a previous critic stated, this is a radio broadcast of Olivier's drastically forshortened version of A Christmas Carol. However, Olivier's twin performances (Narrator and Scrooge) are a blessing to hear despite the cheesy choral background and limitations in the recording. While not named, the other actors acquit themselves well; Mrs. Crachit is fully realized with remarkably few lines. If you want to hear the book verbatim, I suggest you pick up a copy and begin to read aloud since little else can substitute; however, this is a lovely small piece and a fair introduction of Dickins and Olivier to the newest generation.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Every year, I enjoy reading, watching and listening to as many different adaptations of "A Christmas Carol" as I can. And since the price of this one was right - 25 cents - hey, let's try it.

Well, it stinks. Why? Because they cut the story down to less than half an hour!! I kept thinking "What's the rush?" Why cut it so severely?

Does Lord Olivier shine? Who can tell? It all went by so fast!
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