Monday, December 26, 2005

Listening to the audio tapes then inspired me to dig up my taped-from-TV video of his 1999 TV movie version, a full production with other actors, movie sets and visual effects. I watched it on Christmas day.

With its sequences of the ghosts taking Scrooge on a tour of Christmas past, present and future, it is not far in form from a holodeck story on TNG. In fact, the episode “Tapestry,” in which Q takes Picard back to his Academy days to change one fateful day, and then forward to the consequences of the change, evolved from a story idea called “Q Carol,” a direct reference to the Dickens’ story. (So writes Larry Nemecek in the STNG Companion.)

Both Stewart’s stage version and the film version ( with music by Stephen Warbuck, who would win the Academy Award for Shakespeare in Love released the previous year) adhere very closely to Dickens’ book. So the Dickens’ point of view, often obscured in other productions, is very clear in this one. It conveys a very Star Trek-compatible message.

For instance, the first ghost to visit Scrooge is that of his dead partner in the counting-house, Jacob Marley. Marley must drag heavy chains of regret because of his misspent life. He cries out:

Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!"

"But you were always a good man of business, Jacob," faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

"Business!" cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. "Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"

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