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. The increasing pace of the story line is reflected in the increase tempo of the music. Mostly, music inside scrooge’s office and home is depressing, and dismal, reflecting Scrooge’s personality, outside, the Christmas carols are cheery. Version 1 contains slight modernisation of the original text with little change. Version 2, however has been completely modernised. The setting has been brought forward by over 100 years.
There are no dirty town houses, but there are now ageing dirty blocks of flats. There is evidence of more modern items such as televisions. Views of Christmas have changed. `That TV goes on at 7 am and it stays on until midnight’ Christmas is not thought of as the birth of Christ, but as a period of good programs on television. Scrooge refers to Christmas as ` a celebration of the birth of catalogue shopping channels’.
Scrooge also has a girlfriend in version 2, she is a nurse, and although she is poor, on low wages, she enjoys herself at the pub party whilst scrooge sits on his own. Scrooge lives in a very modern flat although, like the original, he keeps it dark and dirty. He also keeps piles of cash on his shelf and strokes them to show his love of money. The sound of a train at the beginning of the film also gives a sense of modernisation and urban area. Humour plays a more profound role in the second version, but it is used in the first when scrooge says to the ghost of Marley `You could be a bit of undigested British beef’. British beef being the subject of controversy at the time as it was thought to cause disease.
In the second version, humour replaces the role of suspense and drama to some extent `We’re saving up’ ` oh really, I never heard anything about it in the financial times… I was thinking of inviting Britney Spears over for eggnog’. This use of humour attracts a different audience to the production, a younger audience that can relate better to modern Britain and are used to modern comedy programmes rather than traditional drama. In version 1, drama is sustained more from the original novelist, especially whilst Scrooge waits to see the ghost of Marley.
Even in version 2, when the producer could have made scenes more dramatic, he chooses to keep them relaxed, probably so that it is not too scary for younger audiences. The producer of the first version has kept very faithful to the original text, not changing it much ` I wear the chain I forged in life, I made it link by link’. However, in order to modernise the film, and bring it into modern time, the producer of version 2 has had to make the language much more colloquial. `C’mon, you’re not gonna bottle it are ya?”.
In version 1, the ghost of Marley leaves via the window, the supernatural element is emphasised by the way Marley walks in through the door. The language has been modified so that we can understand it better and relate to the words used. It also gives Scrooge and other characters more personality. The modern scrooge is very sarcastic to add to the humour. 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.