Scrooge's headstone prop can still be visited at Saint Chad's Churchyard in Shrewsbury where the cemetery sequence was shot. The production team found the stone, apparently blank and gained permission to have it inscribed. At the end of the shoot it was left in place.
This is, perhaps, the only version of ACC in which Scrooge wears dress-slacks, a dress-shirt and a vest (with an Alistair Cooke-type smoking jacket)...instead of merely his nightgown, slippers and cap. (Rumor has it that George C. Scott openly reeled at the very thought of portraying Scrooge under such conditions...especially in mid-winter England.) In the book Scrooge is wearing his shirt, pants, vest, a dressing gown and slippers. Scott's clothing is very close to the book.
Charles Dickens took the name Scrooge from an archaic English verb meaning "to squeeze."
More than 450 people from the town, Shrewsbury, were used as extras during the filming.
The word "humbug" is misunderstood by many people, which is a pity since the word provides a key insight into Scrooge's hatred of Christmas. The word "humbug" describes deceitful efforts to fool people by pretending to a fake loftiness or false sincerity. So when Scrooge calls Christmas a humbug, he is claiming that people only pretend to charity and kindness in a scoundrel effort to delude him, each other, and themselves. In Scrooge's eyes, he is the one man honest enough to admit that no one really cares about anyone else, so for him, every wish for a Merry Christmas is one more deceitful effort to fool him and take advantage of him. This is a man who has turned to profit because he honestly believes everyone else will someday betray him or abandon him the moment he trusts them.
The scenes set in the Cratchit family house were filmed in a wine merchants which is still there. The particular building was next door to a car garage. The scene in which Scrooge visits and learns of Tiny Tim's death had to be re-shot, owing to an extractor fan drowning out the actors' speech from the body shop on the other side of the wall.
Charles Dickens lost the rights to his original story "A Christmas Carol" in a court dispute that was brought about by numerous impostors claiming the story as their own. However following the suit, Dickens wrote an equally successful novel called "Bleak House," about the corruption of the English Courts.
Charles Dickens gave the first ever public reading of 'A Christmas Carol' in the town hall in Shrewsbury, the town in which this movie was filmed. In fact, the first reading was performed at Birmingham Town Hall with Dickens practicing in Peterborough Cathedral beforehand. After two performances of paying audiences, Dickens instructed the organisers to take the seating out and allow the working class in for nothing where they stood listening to his reading. At the end, there was silence followed by cheers and rapturous applause. This led to a new lucrative career on tour especially in America.
This was Derek Francis's final acting role before his death on March 27, 1984 at the age of 60, eight months before the film was first broadcast.
After Scrooge is abandoned by the Ghost of Christmas present, he asks if they can come to a "meeting of the minds". A "meeting of the minds" is one of 6 required elements under the formalist theory of contract. As a Businessman, Scrooge would have been familiar with this term and likely resorted to using it in his desperate situation.
Even though this movie was made for TV, it was released theatrically in the UK in November 1984.
Even though this movie was released in 1984 it was not released to VHS until 1995 and to DVD in 1999. The Blu-ray release came out in December 2010.
When Marley's ghost removes the cloth from around his head and from under his chin, his lower jaw drops agape before he starts to speak. It's mostly forgotten today in our sanitized death culture that with the slackened muscles of death, the jaw tends to drop wide open, creating what viewers of the body might think an undignified, if not ghastly, last image of the deceased. The neatly tied cloth was a means of keeping the lower jaw in place and thus remedying this unsightly side-effect of death on a person's visage. In the case of Marley's ghost, removal of the wrap and releasing his jaw was also necessary for him to speak for that very same reason. The moment is a nice, if unusual, touch to the Marley's ghost mythos.
George C. Scott noticeably plays a slightly different version of Ebenezer Scrooge in the film. In this version Scrooge has a slightly dark sense of humor such as laughing at his nephew when he claims Christmas is humbug as well as refusing to dine with him and at times is sarcastic to his peers especially the Ghost of Christmas Past and to a lesser extent the Ghost of Christmas Present. Plus Scrooge is quite clever in the film as he uses wit to get what he wants from his fellow men of business at the exchange, uses very complex words and claims to be an expert at the game 'Simile.' Scott claimed he wanted to play Scrooge as a man primarly lonely and exhausted, rather than miserly.
In this film's production, a ghostly hearse passes by Scrooge with Marley's voice calling him before he enters his dwelling. The inspiration comes from a single line in the original text used by Dickens where he references it to illustrate the width of the staircase.
Susannah York and George C. Scott starred together as lovers in Jane Eyre (1970). In this production, York is Mrs. Crachit and can't stand Scott as Scrooge.
Shrewsbury's local resident Martin Wood performed as both a stand-in for Edward Woodward (Spirit of Christmas Present) and a body double for Michael Carter (Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come).
This version of A Christmas Carol shows Scrooge and his father interacting outside of the schoolhouse after Fran comes to the school to pick Scrooge up. It is a very interesting and informative scene for Scrooge's character development, showing how indifferently Scrooge's father feels toward his son.
This is the only traditional adaptation of A Christmas Carol where Scrooge's father is seen on screen. He is mentioned in the book but is never seen.
In this version, the Ghost of Christmas Present never actually says "I am the Ghost of Christmas Present".
The Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come responds to Scrooge in the form of an eerie metallic noise sounding similar to a cemetery's gate in this production. This spirit is totally silent in the book and other film adaptations.
Mrs. Dilber (Scrooge's laundress) is the only opportunist who speaks to Old Joe in this production. The charwoman and undertaker are absent.
When Scrooge comments on the existence of prisons and work houses he says "I was afraid from what you said something had stopped them in full force" which does not make any sense except that it rhymes with the actual line from the book which is: "... stopped them in their useful course".
A scene filmed in Market Square Shrewsbury had to be re-shot after a polystyrene cup blew onto the set.
Unlike the book and other film adaptations Scrooge returns to his room after his visit with the Ghost of Christmas yet to Come in the middle of the night rather than in broad daylight.
The tormented wandering ghosts are invisible to the audience in this production, but the audience can hear them moan when Scrooge's window opens as Marley's exit. Marley flies through it and vanishes into the darkness with the other tormented wandering ghosts. The moaning expires when Scrooge looks outside his window.
Liz Smith, who made a great career of playing Charles Dickens characters, played Mrs. Dilber again in A Christmas Carol (1999) starring Patrick Stewart, and then played the character "Joyce" in a "modernised" version of A Christmas Carol (2000).
Many versions of A Christmas Carol depict Scrooge as beginning to understand his mistakes by the end of his time with the Ghost of Christmas Present. However, this is one of the few versions that makes a point of showing that Scrooge does not accept his mistakes until he spends a good amount of time with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. As an example, when he is deserted by the Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge sits down and states, "What have I done......to be left alone like this."
Unlike other film adaptations and the book, the scene of Scrooge's shrouded corpse occurs before the Opportunists scene.
The fade outs for commercial breaks (as seen on TV airings and original VHS releases) perfectly broke the story up into the five 'staves' as per Dickens' original novel (Marley's Ghost/The First of the Three Spirits/The Second of the Three Spirits/The Last of the Spirits/The End of It). These however have been edited out for the more recent DVD and Blu ray releases.
Derek Francis (Pemberton) previously played the 1st Gentleman of Charity in Scrooge (1970).