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, and Grim Natwick as an uncredited animator).
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.
A Christmas Carol provides examples of the following tropes:
- Adapted Out: The young debtors celebrating Scrooge's death are left out, as is Scrooge's sister Fan.
- Compressed Adaptation: It follows the story from the book pretty well for a 25 minute show, but naturally a lot had to be cut since it's only 25 minutes long.
- Creepy Child: Ignorance and Want, who in this version look positively demonic.
- Deranged Animation: Anything involving the ghosts, especially Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
- The Ghost of Christmas Past also gets a notable mention for being very accurate to the original depiction of the book's text, which is to say, a being in constant, flickering flux of going from one body with the usual set of proportions to multiple eyes, heads, legs, and bodies all while in a pattern of rapidly aging/de-aging its appearance. the accurate description of the original character done in animation which in itself, justifies it.
- 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.
- Narrator: Michael Redgrave provides narration.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: Being only 25 minutes long, hits most of the plot points of Dickens' book, but it does cut out the scene with Scrooge's sister.
- 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.
- Truer to the Text:
- 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 almost always left out of adaptations, but they are included here.
- This version also shows the Ghost of Christmas Present spreading Christmas cheer with flicks of his torch, and proportionally aging over the course of a single day, two plot points from Dickens that other adaptations rarely use.
- Scrooge enjoying the characters in books is kept.
- This cartoon also includes the book's subtitle "Being a Ghost Story of Christmas", which virtually no other adaptation does.
- The Ghost of Christmas Past comes closest to the description in the original book, with looking simultaneously old and young, its shape constantly flickering like a candle, and giving it the appearance of multiple eyes and limbs.