Sunday, December 11, 2016

Dec 7 - Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962)

Now the floodgates have been opened. As far as I can tell, this is the first time someone saw the book and said, "Look, this thing's a hundred years old...we don't have to treat it like a sacred text anymore, do we? Can't we be a little silly with it?" And so it is Mr. Magoo we really have to thank for making it the default Christmas story for parodies and sitcom send-ups. It's also the first animated version, but it sure ain't gonna be the last one seen on this blog.

It's framed like a play, where Mr. Magoo the actor is playing Scrooge. I thought this seemed random and odd, but apparently Magoo was not just a clumsy, nearsighted retiree for the whole run of the show but became an actor later on. So the format is a bit the "play" is a fully realized adaptation with grand sets and ghosts and tons of locations and not treated with any restrictions like an actual stage presentation, but it at least makes sense after reading more about the show.

And it's not just a play, but a musical. After the last crappy "musical", I was steeling myself to sit through another one, but this is how it should be done. The songs here are great, funny, original songs that characters sing from their point of views. I'm surprised that I haven't personally ever heard any of the songs outside of this show, I could see one or two easily having a life of their own on Christmas radio stations every December.

Besides trimming things for time, no mention of Fred or Scrooge's sister Fan, it's a fairly faithful adaptation. Almost surprisingly so for an animated children's of stabbing people in the heart with Holly and damned souls intact. One of the strange changes is that the Ghost of Christmas Present is the first one to visit...I can't really make any sense of why this was done.

It's faithful, but it also has some great funny moments that don't go so far as to undermine the seriousness of the message. It manages very well to both honor the novel but put its own spin on it.

Watch it on Dailymotion
  1. A Christmas Carol (1951)
  2. A Christmas Carol (1938)
  3. Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962)
  4. Scrooge (1935)
  5. A Christmas Carol (1910)
  6. Shower of Stars: A Christmas Carol (1954)
  7. Scrooge, or, Marley's Ghost (1901)
  8. The Christmas Carol (1949)

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