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Compare and contrast 2 different film versions of the opening chapters of the Christmas carol - Version 1- 1999 starring Patrick steward, Version 2 - 2000 starring Ross Kemp.

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Introduction

English Language Coursework Compare and contrast 2 different film versions of the opening chapters of the Christmas carol. Version 1- 1999 starring Patrick steward Version 2 - 2000 starring Ross Kemp Version one is based in nineteenth century London. Society is shown to be split into two very different classes, the poor workers and beggars and the rich businessmen. There are many people dressed in ragged clothing that look thin and dirty. However, these people also tend to look cheerful and happy when compared to Scrooge. He is shown wearing black clothing, looking very intimidating. He has a very serious look on his face. This reflects the idea portrayed in both versions that wealth does not give you happiness, in fact, much the opposite. Buildings in London are dirty and old, such as Scrooge's office where a window cleaner has to wipe his windows just to look inside. Likewise, in Version two, set in modern day London, the flats that Scrooge rents out to people are also old, dirty, but this filth has been modernised to show graffiti, and with a broken lift. Poverty is shown in both films quite differently, firstly, in version 1, the busy London streets, not only show a thriving community, but also show a high population density with lots of overcrowding. Collectors come to scrooge's office asking for money for the poor and Scrooge bluntly refuses and ignores them. ...read more.

Middle

Scrooge also appears to have no emotions, when he asks his nephew why he got married, and when he replies he laughs `Because you fell in love?!' When Bob Cratchit asks for Christmas day off to be with his family, Scrooge agrees reluctantly. In the second version, light is more emphasised, at the beginning, we see Christmas lights before the camera pans over to the block of flats that scrooge owns which are very dark and dirty, similar to the scrooges office in version 1. In both versions, scrooge lives in a expensive, and dark home, he makes himself suffer by not lighting his home just to save money. In version 2, music plays a strong part in the film. It begins with carols, which overlay crime scene, this creates a shocking contrast of Christmas joy and murder which gives dramatic effect. It has also modernised the film by using Christmas carols as disco tunes, which inject entertainment and energy into the film. When we see images of young people, including Scrooges girlfriend, a poor nurse, dancing and enjoying themselves contrasted against Scrooge sat on his own looking depressed, it backs up the view that wealth does not buy you happiness. There is little use of music in version 1, however, music is used to build up the tension when the bells are ringing in scrooge's house, and scrooge hears chains rattling in the basement, it is slow, eerie and dramatic. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, the more traditional scrooge, like in the original text is cold and harsh. The two films although they are set over a century apart still retain the principles of the original stories. It is inevitable, that with two different films, the producers will have different ideas about the final product, however, the differences are quite remarkable between these two. Apart from the obvious differences, including the year and the setting, a coloured man has also replaced Marley. This draws out the issue of racism and racist crimes, as Marley was obviously murdered. Although we do not know that it was a racial motive, it represents the murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence as it remains unsolved. The modern version has been used to draw attraction to other issues as well such as homelessness. It makes us think of how we treat them in the streets as Scrooge's chases off the homeless and shouts abuse at big issue sellers. Version one keeps to the traditional roots in Dickens's original text. Much remains unchanged, apart from the occasional line `You may just be a bit of undigested British Beef'. Both stories show Scrooge as a lonely man, with few friends, and living in a dark flat alone. I think that the modern version is the better, as I think the producer had a more difficult job of retaining the principles of the story whilst giving it a modern influence to appeal to a younger audience. It translates parts of the story that we would otherwise have difficulty understanding. ...read more.

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