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Christmas Carol, A (1977)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

On Christmas Eve, Jacob Marley dies. His only mourner is his business partner, Ebeneezer Scrooge. Exactly seven years later, Scrooge continues to work in his office, insisting that his clerk, Bob Cratchit, do a full day's work. The office is freezing cold, as Scrooge won't pay to have it heated. Scrooge's nephew comes to visit, and refuses to let his uncle dampen his seasonal high spirits. When men come to ask Scrooge to contribute to a fund for the poor and needy, he is completely unmoved.

On his way home that night, Scrooge sees the face of Marley on his doorknocker. After a small meal, as Scrooge prepares for bed, he is visited by the ghost of Marley. He tells Scrooge that his afterlife is full of sadness and remorse. He warns him that he is about to be visited by three spirits and to take heed of what they bring.

The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge back to when he was a lonely child and reminds him of the great kindness shown him by his sister. She then revisits the end of his engagement to Belle, who left Scrooge when money replaced her in his heart. Belle has now remarried and has only pity left for Scrooge.

The Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge the happy family life of the Cratchits, despite their poverty and the poor health of their son Tiny Tim. He shows him how his nephew drinks a toast to him, even though Scrooge has never made any effort to be friendly to his nephew. He also shows him the terrible conditions under which many children are forced to live.

The Ghost of Christmas Future, an unspeaking figure entirely cloaked in black, shows Scrooge the misery brought by the death of Tiny Tim and a grave that may be his own. We see a man and woman take what little Scrooge left behind, with no one left to mourn him. Scrooge begs that he be released from this torment, that he might change this future and help set things right.

Scrooge awakes determined to change his life. Full of jollity as it is now Christmas morning, he asks a passing boy to buy the biggest turkey in the shop and have it sent immediately to Cratchit. He then goes to visit his nephew to pass Christmas Day with him. At the office, he raises Cratchit's wages and ensures that from now on it be properly heated.