TF1 in France

TF1 in France

Christmas-Carol- A-Thon 2013 continues with one of the most visually enticing versions ever made. Unfortunately, it’s also virtually impossible to obtain for people who lack the nearly psychotic drive necessary to track these things down.

TF1 Television in France first aired this version of A Christmas Carol, which could be described as a Carol for the arthouse crowd. Not a put-down OR a compliment, just an observation. The performances are even more low-key than in the George C Scott version and the direction, by Pierre Boutron, is very inventive, bordering on a surrealist approach .The overall effect is like A Very Jean Cocteau Christmas or something. As with the Spanish Leyenda de Navidad this French production keeps the story in 1843 London and stars Michel Bouquet as Scrooge and Pierre Olaf as Bob Cratchit.

This 90 minute version of the Carol is one of the tiny handful that depict Scrooge at Marley’s funeral, like the 1969 Australian cartoon version. Marley’s Ghost has the look of a bearded badass, but delivers his warning to Scrooge with a cold and calculating air that is almost more chilling thanthe impassioned delivery of most other Marleys. The Ghost of Christmas Past is played very androgynously by Pierre Clement (an embarrassment of Pierres in this version), appropriately enough for a spirit whose gender cannot be determined according to Dickens in the novel.

Christmas Present is clad in red instead of the usual green, and is portrayed by Georges Wilson. This Christmas Present really departs from tradition and could be described as if he’s acting like Scrooge’s therapist or something, nudging him along to a broader self- awareness through the images he shows our protagonist. Those images include Ignorance and Want, always a sure sign that the filmmakers “get” the Carol, unlike the versions where those despair-inducing figures are omitted. This ghost wins bonus points from me for including Dickens’ speech about pompous religious nuts who think they’re fit to lecture others about the “proper” way of observing Christmas. Virtually no other version of the Carol includes that bit.

Christmas Yet To Come is played by Lisette Malidor and, while she remains unspeaking, like that spirit does in the Dickens novel, she has a severe look and a way with wordlessly ordering Scrooge around that are sort of like a Christmas Dominatrix. Ah, the French! The spirits convey Scrooge to their temporal destinations by means of teleporting his bed, or filling his bedroom with a fog which, when cleared, reveals their new location.

Scrooge on the morning after remains disappointingly subdued, the only time the low- key performances work against this production. And just as this telefilm opened with a scene that is simply mentioned, but not detailed in the original novel, it closes the same way, presenting a flash- forward to Scrooge’s own funeral, where it is clear how beloved the man became after changing his ways. In attendance is a grown-up Tiny Tim, but Miss Vicki is nowhere to be seen (rimshot).

FOR MORE VERSIONS OF A CHRISTMAS CAROL CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/category/a-christmas-carol-2/

© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 




  1. Love this! Joyeaux Noelle!

  2. Very nice! This is one version I never knew was made!

  3. Not everyone celebrates xmas. u should cover other December holidays

  4. I would very much like to see this version!

  5. Pingback: Preetha

  6. Intriguing collection of these different variations of A Christams Caraol

  7. Garrett Kieran

    What a coincidence you say this version is Jean Cocteau-like, because Fred Guida says the same thing in his book. He says it reminds one of his rendition of “Beauty and the Beast” and challenges us to imagine what an adaptation of the Carol directed by him would be like. Also, I’ve read about a humorous twist in this adaptation. After the Ghost of Christmas Present gives Scrooge that speech you say they usually leave out, Scrooge apparently takes his torch from him and pours some of his own magic incense over him, and the ghost is in a good mood again.

  8. Pingback: Homepage

  9. Nathanial

    A Christmas dominatrix? Only the French!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s