George C. Scott as Scrooge was inspired casting. He was a formidable presence. The mean Scrooge was really mean. Scott doesn’t make him a caricature. The adaptation gives you a great sense of the work that had to be done to redeem Scrooge. When he sees Bob Cratchit he comments that “he does quite well for 15 bob a week.” The audience sees the changes in Scrooge slowly. This is partly the adaptation, partly the direction, but mostly the magnificent acting. And the transformation was a wonder.
The rest of this 1984 production is at the same level. I have to say, this version is amongst my favorites. The production is beautifully designed, and feels very period. The cast is wonderful (you’ll recognize a lot of them). David Warner’s Bob Cratchit didn’t fit my image at first, but when you see his “the first of us to leave” speech in the Christmas Yet to Come scene he’ll make you forget every other version.
Marley is scary, Ignorance and Want make an appearance, the businessmen are given context, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is haunting, Old Joe and the gang cash in, Mrs. Cratchit finds the color hurts her eyes and Scrooge and Cratchit make a date for a mug of smoking bishop. A must see for Christmas Carol afficiandos.