Film / A Christmas Carol: The Musical

A Christmas Carol: The Musical is a 2004 Made-for-TV Movie that is based on a stage musical production that ran at Madison Square Garden from 1994-2003, which itself is based on a certain Charles Dickens novel. The film version features Kelsey Grammer as Scrooge, flanked by an All-Star Cast, and premiered on NBC. Disney veteran Alan Menken helped with the songs.

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This film provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The Past sequence rewrites Scrooge's childhood to more closely resemble Charles Dickens's own. Rather than being from a well-off family but neglected in boarding school, in this version he came from a poor family, his father was sent to debtor's prison, and he was forced into child labor in a shoe factory. This version also gives us more of Young Scrooge's increasingly ruthless business dealings, showing him rejecting the Fezziwigs' application for a loan, and later shows the death of Jacob Marley as well.
  • Adaptational Name Change: The name of Young Scrooge's fiancée is changed from Belle to Emily. This was allegedly done because Alan Menken had already composed a high-profile musical with an ingenue named Belle in it.
  • And You Were There: The actors who play the three spirits first appear in early scenes as a lamplighter, a charity show barker, and a blind beggar woman, respectively, who speak to Scrooge but are rudely brushed aside. It's later made clear that these people were the spirits in disguise.
  • Catch Your Death of Cold: This version of Bob Cratchit has a cold and sneezes constantly due to Scrooge's stinginess with the coal in his office.
  • Corpsing: The part where the Ghost of Christmas Present sings along with the others at Fred's house was ad-libbed. Scrooge bows his head at this. Kelsey Grammer looks ready to start laughing, but he manages to save the take.
  • Dark Reprise: The Christmas Yet to Come sequence is a medley of dark reprises: "Jolly Good Time", "Link By Link", "You Mean More to Me", "Nothing to Do With Me", and "God Bless Us, Everyone".
    • The last two songs, along with "A Place Called Home", get a Triumphant Reprise when Scrooge is reformed.
  • Economy Cast: As in the corresponding stage play, members of an ensemble play a number of roles.
  • Gender Flip: The Ghosts of Christmas Past and Yet to Come are both of Ambiguous Gender in the book, but obviously female here. Yet to Come is also portrayed as an ethereal elderly Woman in White, rather than the dark hooded Grim Reaper-like figure of tradition.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: All over the Fezziwigs' party.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Jane Krakowski as a leggy, scantily-clad Ghost of Christmas Past, who even does a pole dance on Scrooge's bedpost.
  • "I Am Becoming" Song: Scrooge's pleas to God and the Ghost of Christmas Future, in "Yesterday, Tomorrow and Today".
  • It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: Tiny Tim calls what would have been his last Christmas "the best Christmas ever".
  • Let There Be Snow: It starts to snow just in time for the final number.
  • Magical Negro: The Ghost of Christmas Present is a jolly black man who offers Scrooge "free of charge... a bit of magic... on me".
  • Ms. Fanservice: The Ghost Of Christmas Past in this version is a young blonde woman with a very short dress that shows that She's Got Legs.
  • The Musical
  • The Oner: Used in the opening to show many characters who will feature later.
  • Race Lift: The Ghost of Christmas Present is black.
  • Recurring Riff: "A Place Called Home", "Christmas Together", and "God Bless Us, Everyone" function as overarching themes, rather than isolated songs.
  • Scary Black Man: The Ghost Of Christmas Present, when he's not being jolly.
  • Shout-Out: The director used the dance scene from West Side Story to inspire a romantic scene at the Fezziwigs' ball.
    • A musical passage during the same ball briefly quotes "Thank You Very Much" from Scrooge (1970), to which this adaptation is arguably a Spiritual Successor.
  • Tragic Bromance: Unlike other versions, this Carol portrays Scrooge and Jacob Marley as having been genuinely good friends. The first thing Marley's ghost does upon appearing is burst into tears and hug Scrooge, and later, Scrooge is distraught at having to relive Marley's death in the Past sequence. Ruthless though he already was beforehand, we get the sense that Marley's death was the last straw that fully hardened Scrooge's heart.