Western Animation / A Christmas Carol


A Christmas Carol is a 1971 film adaptation of the novel of the same name. It is a half-hour animated film directed by Richard Williams (with Chuck Jones as executive producer).

It's a faithful adaptation. Ebeneezer Scrooge, a notorious miser and curmudgeon, is visited by the ghost of his old business partner, Jacob Marley. Marley warns him of the coming of three spirits: the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet To Come. The ghosts teach Scrooge how to keep Christmas.

Alastair Sim and Michael Hordern star as Scrooge and Marley, reprising their roles from the 1951 live-action feature Scrooge.

Won the Academy Award for short animated film.

A Christmas Carol provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adapted Out: An aversion. In Dickens' novel, the Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge various scenes of lonely, isolated people keeping the holiday: a group of miners, two lighthouse keepers, and sailors on a ship at sea. These scenes are virtually always Adapted Out of adaptations, but they are included here, despite the fact that it's a 25-minute short.
  • Compressed Adaptation: It follows the story from the book pretty well for a 25 minute show, but naturally a lot had to be cut.
  • Creepy Child: Ignorance and Want, who in this version look positively demonic.
  • Deranged Animation: The entire part focusing on the ghosts. The Past especially comes closest to the original Humanoid Abomination description in the original book.
  • Epic Tracking Shot: The animated equivalent thereof, as the film proper (after the opening credits) starts with a long swooping pan over the roofs of London before zooming down to the window of Scrooge & Marley.
  • The Grim Reaper: The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come seems like this in the book, but it's explicit here, as he wears a long hooded cloak and points with a bony finger.
  • Narrator: Michael Redgrave provides narration.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The short hits most of the plot points of Dickens' book, but it does cut out the scene with his sister.
  • Role Reprisal: Alistair Sim and Michael Hordern previously played the roles of Scrooge and Marley twenty years earlier in Scrooge (1951)
  • Time Passes Montage: An amazingly brief one in which the film shows Scrooge as a child at school bent over a book, then whips through several shots of a gradually aging Scrooge bent in the same sitting position, before finishing with him as a young man bent over his desk at Fezziwig's business.

Alternative Title(s): A Christmas Carol 1971