Advent Calendar 2017! - Day 8


Version: A Christmas Carol (1999, dir. David Jones)

We've gone from one of the worst to one of the best. This version of the Scrooge/urchin scene is pretty damn amazing. Patrick Stewart is by far the best Scrooge we've seen. He gives the best reaction to the date and plays the sequence of events (open the window to hear the bells, see the urchin, ask him the date, buy the turkey) with the most natural sense of flow. He's spontaneous and joyous while at the same time feeling slightly silly asking the questions he's asking, as if it's been so long since he's actually spoken to a normal person that he's trying to remember how to do it without patronising or offending them. I'd argue that the urchin is also the best actor we've seen take on that iconic role, who knows how to play the bemusement for maximum comic effect without going too far into obnoxious smartass kid territory (remember, this was the decade of Home Alone). It's just such a shame he isn't wearing his cap (although it is present in the scene, in his hand). If he was wearing his cap, this version of the Dickensian urchin would have been perfect.

Another interesting thing about this urchin is that he's actually given a close-up rather than being viewed entirely through the eyes of Scrooge. In fact I'd say we're more in the urchin's head here than we are in Scrooge's, with the urchin's attitude really making us feel how ridiculous Scrooge looks. The street set looks nice too, and we're given a sweeping establishing shot of it when Scrooge first opens the window and takes in the atmosphere, so that we too can take in the splendour of a calm Christmas morning before spotting the urchin. This is just great stuff. Real effort has been put into this adaptation.

We've already seen the rules of a good Scrooge/urchin scene come together, but here we see those rules perfected. If the urchin had been wearing his cap, it would've been damn near perfect (we can't really tell because he's holding it but it looks like it would have looked fairly floppy and entertaining on his head).

Framing 10 out of 10.
Scrooge's Reaction To The Date 10 out of 10.
Urchin Accent 8 out of 10.
Window Height 10 out of 10.
Scrooge Nightgown Quality 9 out of 10.
Urchin Cap Quality 6 out of 10.
Final Score 8.8 out of 10. This is it. This might be the best one. And it's only day 8.