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YMMV / A Christmas Carol (1984)

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • George C. Scott's Scrooge is just as compelling for his originality as his believability, playing him as the loneliest man in the world who, at the start, is content to live as he does while being angry at the world in general. There's his Adaptational Villainy and coldness, with the fact that he smirks and laughs in disdain at others' kindness and Christmas cheer. He's also more of a tough nut to crack than most Scrooges, responding to the ghosts' revelations with a blend of humor, self-defense, denials, and Don't You Dare Pity Me! even as he's clearly shaken and softening until the moment when he finally vows to change and collapses in Broken Tears at his own grave. His post-Heel–Face Turn manner is less wildly giddy than others (apart from one adorable moment of gleefully jumping on his bed) but blends joy and warmth with the same reserve and dignity he had before, as well as a due sense of regret and apology for his past actions. This three-dimensional approach also makes Scrooge easy for the viewer to identify with and be happy for as he comes around.
    • The Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present are both more Cruel to Be Kind than usual. Past responds with smirking sarcasm to Scrooge's attempts to defend his mistakes (and really seems to smugly get off on finally making Scrooge lose his composure at seeing Belle and her husband pity him), while Present is possibly the angriest portrayal of that spirit ever put to screen.
    • David Warner's Bob Cratchit is less meek and pathetic than many other portrayals and more of a stolid, quietly dignified Iron Woobie, which makes it especially heartbreaking when he finally breaks into Manly Tears over Tiny Tim's death.
    • Belle. Instead of being The Ingenue as per her standard characterization, she comes off much more strong-willed and bitter about Scrooge's neglect. When she asks Scrooge if he'd still try to win her now if he hadn't originally engaged with her, he attempts to mask his dithering by accusing her of doubting that he would. In the book, she lets the comment slide; here, Belle calls him out on his Revealing Cover-Up, implying that this above all was proof that their romance really is over. She still feels sympathy for him years later, though, when she learns from her husband how alone he is.
  • Awesome Music: The main theme, "God Bless Us Everyone".
    • The orchestral score has a very seasonal richness and softness, ranging from wistful tenderness to creeping dread, abject terror, and serene euphoria.
  • Can't Un-Hear It: George C. Scott surprisingly gave one of the best interpretations of Scrooge. Ditto David Warner as Bob Cratchit.
  • Faux Symbolism: There is an argument that the amount of light the Three Spirits have, from Past with almost 100% down to Future with almost zero, is symbolic of Scrooge's journey.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Scrooge's declaration that Christmas is a "false, commercial enterprise" seems eerily prescient today.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Although Scrooge is a horrible person for 3/4 of the film, it's easy to feel sorry for him when you consider his Freudian Excuse. It also helps if the viewer considers that Scott portrays him as the loneliest man in the world.
  • Misaimed Fandom: George C. Scott plays Scrooge as deflecting the effects of the Ghosts' visits with humor, anger, and denial, while still being affected by what he sees. Some people missed that he was affected until the end when he breaks down, and thought he changed at the very last second.
  • Narm: When Marley prepares to speak, he removes the bandage from around his jaw, which flops open as if broken. It's as close to Body Horror as a TV movie from the 80s could be permitted but can be quite comical.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Joanne Whalley appears briefly in an early role as Scrooge's sister Fan. She was not yet a well-known actress at the time.