Balladeer’s Blog’s Christmas Carol-A-Thon 2016 continues with the 1998 telefilm Ebenezer, the only version of the Dickens classic to feature a whorehouse! Well, as long as you don’t count whatever underhanded business Scrooge and Marley are running in the Alastair Sim version. (I’m kidding!)
Previously Balladeer’s Blog has reviewed The Trail to Christmas, a version of A Christmas Carol adapted to the American West of the 1800s. Ebenezer adapted the Dickens novel to the wild west of Canada in the 1800s, which adds an extra layer of novelty to this production. Casting Jack Palance as Ebenezer Scrooge was the real strength of this adaptation!
Palance’s Scrooge is a miserly and crooked saloon owner while Bob Cratchit (Albert Schultz) is his much-abused bartender. Rick Schroder (yes, Rick Schroder) portrays gun-slinging Sam Benson, a character unique to this version and Tiny Tim is played by Joshua Silberg.
Scrooge’s late partner is called Jacob Marlowe instead of Marley in this film and there’s a gratuitous whorehouse Madam as one of the many people who owe Scrooge money. The tayloring of the Ghosts is always a key aspect in any Carol adaptation and Ebenezer does not disappoint on this level.
Michelle Thrush portrays the Ghost of Christmas Past as a Native Canadian woman, Richard Comar plays a Ghost of Christmas Present who is a Canadian Mountie and there’s a nice twist with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come that I won’t spoil by saying more.
Palance’s Ebenezer Scrooge was a promising business student but the collapse of his father’s business caused him to be yanked out of his schooling prematurely. He then robbed money from his employer Fessiwig (sic) and became a gambler, gunfighter and con man roaming the west and preying on innocent people in all manner of vile ways.
This Scrooge actually marries his past love Belle but only so he can underhandedly sell her family’s ranch out from under them, a betrayal that causes the death of Belle’s father. His wife leaves him, not wanting anything more to do with Ebenezer and his ill-gotten fortune.
This is a fun version of the Carol, albeit not a particularly emotional one, but it has such a good time adapting all the story elements to its Western Canada setting that you can’t help but like it. Ebenezer is an enjoyable trip and hits nearly every story high point from Nephew Fred’s visit to Scrooge toying with Bob Cratchit when he’s late to work at the saloon on the day after Christmas.
Christmas Carol-A-Thon 2016 will be continuing soon!
FOR DOZENS MORE VERSIONS OF A CHRISTMAS CAROL CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/category/a-christmas-carol-2/
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