A Review of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol Costumes
Surely Charles Dickens had no idea how popular his novel A Christmas Carol would turn out to be. It has spawned over five feature films since 1938 to the present. With so many films based on the novel it is easy to find a myriad of different costumes for Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and all the other characters.
The first thing about any of the Christmas Carol costumes is that they are all based on the mid 1800’s. Charles Dickens first published the book in 1843, thus the period costumes. Our first look into A Christmas Carol was offered in 1938 in which Hollywood took a concise and straightforward approach to the Dickens tale. Ebenezer Scrooge was played by Reginal Owen with Marley’s ghost as Leo Carroll. Edward L. Marin directed the film in black and white. The film begins with an introduction into the book describing the character of Ebenezer Scrooge. The Scrooge costume you can adopt from this film will be the formal business suit with a long tail coat, overcoat, cravat, and top hat with cane. It is the costume we first see Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge in before his bedclothes.
Another in the long line of films based on the novel is a made for television movie. It was released on December 17th, 1984 starring George C. Scott, Frank Finlay, Angela Pleasence, and Edward Woodward. Many appreciate this made for TV movie not only for the Tiny Tim costume and Ebenezer Scrooge costume it supplies, but for the simplicity of staying on track with the language, dialogue, and period that makes A Christmas Carol. Director Clive Donner and writers Roger O. Hirson keep to the vision that was Charles Dickens short story.
The most fun and entertaining interpretation of the novel is The Muppet Christmas Carol directed by Brian Henson and written by Jerry Juhl. The Muppets gave the movie a humorous side that children can relate to more than the live action films. Certianly the 1938 and 1984 versions were close to the book, but nothing says children like the Muppets Gonzo, Rizzo, Kermit, Ms. Piggy, and Fozzie the Bear. The Muppets used live action characters, animation, and of course the puppeteers. Michael Cain played Ebenzer Scrooge offering a slightly different interpretation to the costume. Rather than all black this time Scrooge had a blue coat, and eventually a red scarf. With this film it is hard to choose which character you might want to be. After all you have Kermit playing Bob Cratchit, offering a different look to the Bob Cratchit costume. For this you would need to start out with Kermit and add period 1800th century clothing.
2001 offered another rendition of the novel, this time with a live action sequence to introduce the film and then an animated telling of the story. While the period 19th century costumes remained, some changes were definitely made. The film was made more for children lessening the language of the times and adding a younger Scrooge costume to the mix. Rather than white hair Scrooge was given brown hair with a gray outfit. Simon Callow, Kate Winslet, Nicolas Cage, and Rhys Ifans provided voices in the film.
Now eight years after the animated film comes another tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the three ghosts. Directed by Robert Zemeckis with the voices of Jim Carey, Robin Wright Penn, Colin Firth, Gary Oldman, and Michael J. Fox comes a tale like you have not seen before. In an interview Jim Carey asked that this interpretation be unlike any before. He wanted pizzazz, a mixture of dark humor and light- hearted ending. Much of the film has been created with CGI animation over traditional methods. So get ready to take a ride with Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future on November 6th, 2009. You will discover the new ghost costumes and fun that A Christmas Carol can offer. With a mixture of live action and animation it is impossible not to find at least one film based on the short tale that you like.