The Cornwall Standard-Freeholder reports that Canadian filmmaker Anthony D. P. Mann is filming and starring in an original musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol, set in Canada in the 1890s, on a "micro-budget." Colin Baker will narrate.
The title of Laura Freeman's recent article in the Telegraph, "How Charles Dickens stopped me from starving myself to death," is slightly misleading. It wasn't just Dickens whose writing about food made this anorexic young woman realize that "food could be a pleasure"; it was also Siegfried Sassoon, Thomas Hardy, Marcel Proust, and several other writers. However, Dickens was one of those who played a part in her recovery, and that makes perfect sense -- he always had a special gift for writing about the simple joys and pleasures of life, and making them sound extra appealing.
In short, as Freeman puts it, "Never readCharles Dickens without a well-stocked larder. His novels can make a reader very hungry."
This year, Dunnes Stores in Ireland ran a heartwarming Christmas Carol-themed commercial (see below). This article in the Irish Independent tells the story behind the ad. John Spain writes, "Given that A Christmas Carol was written by Dickens over 170 years ago, it is remarkable that the words work so well in a modern context. But somehow they do."
Word & Film has an article up giving their picks for the best and worst film adaptations of A Christmas Carol (and including a couple of little-seen versions!). What do you think of their choices? Agree or disagree?
"Now, the tree is decorated with bright merriment, and song, and dance, and cheerfulness. And they are welcome. Innocent and welcome be they ever held, beneath the branches of the Christmas Tree, which cast no gloomy shadow! But, as it sinks into the ground, I hear a whisper going through the leaves. 'This, in commemoration of the law of love and kindness, mercy and compassion. This, in remembrance of Me!'"
"A Christmas Tree"
I hope you've had a wonderful Christmas. As a special Christmas treat, courtesy of the Moving Image Archive, here's a 1910 film version of A Christmas Carol -- all 10 minutes and 25 seconds of it -- starring Marc McDermott as Scrooge. Enjoy!
If you need help, Fox Movie Channel is running the film continuously (with 12-minute breaks between airings) until about 3 ET this morning, and then again tomorrow from 3 to 11 p.m. ET. I'd have mentioned it before, but I didn't know about it until tonight!
Lauren Laverne of the Guardian has written one of the best articles I've ever seen on Dickens and Christmas (and that's saying something). She goes beyond what everyone already knows and probes some deeper Dickensian ideas about the holiday. Here's a sample:
"It’s pretty hard not to remember the dead at Christmas, but Dickens goes further. He is adamant that we should use the day to celebrate other losses, like our failures, abandoned plans and ruined relationships. In the same essay he says: 'Welcome, old aspirations, glittering creatures of an ardent fancy… Welcome, all that was ever real to our hearts; and for the earnestness that made you real, thanks to Heaven!' Every time I read it I wonder why we don’t do more of that. We love the idea of Scrooge’s transformation, but this kind of self-acceptance and equanimity is probably more useful to most people."