MERRY CHRISTMAS! Christmas Carol-A-Thon 2018 comes to a close with Balladeer’s Blog’s look at this neglected 1982 Australian cartoon version.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1982) – Burbank Films of Australia produced this mediocre at best animated version of the Dickens classic. Previously I reviewed the 1969 Australian cartoon version and if you were to go strictly by this 1982 rendition of A Christmas Carol you would think that Australian animation technology had not progressed one bit since 1969.
Background figures often don’t move at all and the ones that do just repeat the same gestures and gesticulations ad nauseum like in early video games. There’s also a delayed reaction element to every dialogue exchange early on. The Australian accents add a bit of novelty but that was also true of the 1969 version.
Moving on to the story, Nephew Fred’s visit to his Uncle Ebenezer and Bob Cratchit largely sticks to dialogue directly taken from the novel but pointlessly throws in meaningless asides here and there. The delayed reactions in the early exchanges of dialogue really stick out here. It’s like you’re watching live actors who take a while to remember their next line.
The dialogue flows much better between Scrooge and the two Charity Collectors. Bob Cratchit’s farewell to his boss is trimmed to the bone, robbing it of any impact, but this IS one of those versions which shows Bob joining children in sliding along the sidewalk ice like an overgrown kid so that’s nice. Continue reading
BLACKADDER’S CHRISTMAS CAROL – My Ninth Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues here at Balladeer’s Blog! Long-time readers know what a big fan I am of Rowan Atkinson’s work – especially his Blackadder programs. Hell, I’m even an enormous fan of his more serious work in Full Throttle. And I never tire of telling anyone who will listen that I think he’d make a perfect Dikaiopolis in Aristophanes’ comedy The Acharnians.
As to why it took me so long to finally get around to reviewing Blackadder’s Christmas Carol, it’s the same reason that applied to the George C Scott version: I wanted to handle some of the more obscure Carols before hitting the well-known ones.
This Christmas Special is set in Victorian England with Atkinson starring as Ebenezer Blackadder, owner of a moustache shop. Tony Robinson is on hand as yet another member of the Baldrick family line.
In typically perverse Blackadder fashion the storyline reverses the usual sequence of events. Ebenezer starts out as a kind-hearted and generous soul but soon the Christmas Spirit (Robbie Coltrane) shows him visions of Blackadders Past, Present and Yet-to-Come. Continue reading
A CAROL CHRISTMAS (2003) – Here’s another entry in Balladeer’s Blog’s Ninth Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon. This version is one of the many that tries mining laughs out of setting the Dickens classic in the modern age. These adaptations have varying degrees of success and on a scale of 1 to 10 I would give this effort a 6.5.
A Carol Christmas isn’t trying to be the most touching or the funniest rendition of A Christmas Carol, it’s just a pleasant, fluffy diversion for the Christmas season. Tori Spelling stars as Carol Cartman, a daytime hostess like Jenny Jones, Oprah and so many others. As the Scrooge figure Spelling is selfish, mean-spirited and abuses her staff, especially her assistant Roberta, the Bob Cratchit role.
Roberta (Nina Siemaszko) is a struggling single mother caught up in a custody battle for her version of Tiny Tim in a novel departure from the usual Cratchit family pathos.
Dinah Manoff portrays the ghost of Carol’s late aunt and manager Marla. Aunt Marla was a driven “show-biz mom” type whose monomaniacal, cold-hearted drive was passed on to Carol as she forced the girl into a show business career she never really wanted. Because of this Marla is cursed in a Jacob Marley manner and has come to warn her niece that she faces the same fate unless she changes her ways. Continue reading
A DIVA’S CHRISTMAS CAROL (2000) – Balladeer’s Blog’s Ninth Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues with a look at this Vanessa Williams venture. Due to the nature of this adaptation of the Dickens classic it is often categorized as one of the “African-American versions.” Among other such Carols I have reviewed are Christmas is Comin’ Uptown with Gregory Hines and John Grin’s Christmas starring Robert Guillaume.
The forever-underrated Vanessa Williams is brilliant in this very good film that mixes comedy, music and drama together far better than many stage versions manage to do. Williams stars as Ebony Scrooge, a pop singer who puts on a kind and pleasant public face but who is a … well, a diva behind the scenes.
Ebony is even more nasty than usual as she pushes her entourage beyond all their limits to get ready for an alleged “charity” show for the homeless on Christmas. Ebony’s demeanor makes it clear that she is really doing it all just for public image reasons and to feed her own ego (Bono – cough – Bono) as she wallows in the plaudits sent her way. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog’s Ninth Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues with the song Humbug from the 1953 television version of The Stingiest Man In Town. For my review of the entire production click HERE
Balladeer’s Blog’s Ninth Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon, also called Carol-A-Thon 2018, rolls along with Ponsett’s Christmas Carol. Back during Christmas Carol-A-Thon 2013 I reviewed The Trail to Christmas (1957), Jimmy Stewart’s television adaptation of this particular radio play.
Stewart was basically cannibalizing his own radio show, The Six-Shooter, on which that Old West version of A Christmas Carol, titled Ponsett’s Christmas Carol, first aired. Continue reading
Here at Balladeer’s Blog I’m known for my strange sense of humor and my love of oddities, the more obscure the better. How could you NOT love the internet when it lets you find virtually any particular cultural kitsch that you get in the mood for?
In addition to K-Mart Christmas Muzak from 1974 plenty of other years are available, all the way up to the 21st Century. Just pick your favorite year and listen!
After all, what could be more Christmassy than the periodic between-song reminders that smoking is permitted ONLY at the Snack Bar. Or a Blue Light Special in the Deli! It’s like an audio version of a Currier and Ives Christmas Print! (I’m kidding.)