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A Christmas Carol

Critique Text At the movies

Christmas Carol first editionFirst edition
Publication details ▽ Publication details △

Original title
A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.

First publication

Literary form


Writing language

Author's country

Approx. 28,000 words

Scrooged scene
TV executive Frank Cross (Bill Murray) has a surprisingly uplifting message to be delivered via airwaves.

Modern Scrooge catches the old spirit

Scrooged (1988): Film, 100 minutes; director Richard Donner; writer Mitch Glazer, Michael O'Donoghue; featuring Bill Murray, Karen Allen, Robert Mitchum, John Forsythe, Alfre Woodard

Scrooged (1988) is said to be "suggested" by the Dickens story. If anything, it's an updating—from early nineteenth-century British to late twentieth-century American.

Comic actor Bill Murray is TV executive Frank Cross whose station is producing a live version of A Christmas Carol. He's a cynical bastard himself and, in a parallel characterization to Scrooge's, he doesn't get the Christmas spirit.

That is, until he's visited by the spirits—though they aren't quite the ghosts Dickens envisioned.

In fact, all the characters in this film are funny, while behaving quite normally for the situation.

And, although the film seems at first to be a satire on A Christmas Carol, and despite flirting with nastiness from time to time, it follows the same storyline and concludes with the same uplifting message.

Surprisingly this story of Scrooge once-removed was a middling success when it came out two decades ago and has proven popular over the years, popping up every Christmas, as much or more than any straightforward Dickens rendition.

— Eric


Critique Text At the movies

1935, 1938, 1951, 1970, 1978, 1984, 1988, 1988, 1997