The ghost of his long dead partner, Jacob Marley, visits loathsome Ebenezer Scrooge one cold and frosty Christmas Eve. The specter informs Scrooge that three spirits will visit him that night in an effort to change his miserly ways. Sure enough, the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future each take their turn pointing out how our curmudgeonly hero has turned his back on his fellow man, and what the consequences will be.
Many may be a bit hesitant about viewing a story featuring “ghosts,” but “A Christmas Carol” is a parable about redemption. Much like “It’s A Wonderful Life,” it demonstrates how one life can affect so many others. Both the book and this account emphasize Christ’s birth through traditional songs being sung by carolers and church members. Bob Cratchit relates to his wife what sickly Tiny Tim had said while walking home from a religious service. “He hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day who made lame beggars walk and blind men see.” And in one scene, after Scrooge has seen the light, he even attends a church service, symbolizing a reverence for God and the birth of His Son. Not quite in the league with Alastair Sim’s 1951 interpretation, Albert Finney’s 1970 musical production, simply titled “Scrooge,” or my personal favorite, George C. Scott’s brilliant performance in the 1984 TV-depiction, but it is entertaining.