Friday, December 06, 2019
“Why, It’s Old Fezziwig!” | Campfire’s A Christmas Carol (2010)
Scott McCullar and Naresh Kumar give almost two pages to Fezziwig's party. It begins with Old Scrooge and the Ghost appearing in the warehouse and Fezziwig's desk is elevated above everyone else. Dickens never says why this is so, but the way the office is laid out in this version makes me wonder if it's so Fezziwig can keep an eye on everything. Not in any kind of micro-managing way, naturally, but just so he can know what's going on at a glance if he's needed. And maybe so all the employees can know if he's available.
That's one thing different about this version: all the employees. It's not just Scrooge and Dick at work; there's a whole staff. I suppose that's to help explain the crowd at the party, but in Dickens the party-goers seem to be made up mostly of Fezziwig's household (maids, bakers, cooks, milkmen, etc.) and people who don't have anywhere else to celebrate. It's hard for adaptations to point out that social outsiders make up so much of the party, but this one obfuscates it even more by creating a whole other source of celebrants. It doesn't even specifically mention Fezziwig's family, though the crowd does grow when the party begins, so clearly it's not just employees.
We never get a great look at Fezziwig or his hair, but he does seem a bit plump and he's probably wearing some kind of old-fashioned, brown wig.
True to Dickens, Old Scrooge points out Dick Wilkins and mentions that "poor Dick" was "very much attached" to Young Scrooge without going into any more detail about what that means or whatever happened to Dick.
Fezziwig instructs Scrooge and Dick to put up the shutters, which is curious since there are so many other employees in the room as well. As Fezziwig's apprentices, maybe Scrooge and Dick have some kind of leadership responsibilities over the rest of the staff.
There's just one panel of the actual party and I couldn't pick out the fiddler in it. It's just a shot of people dancing with narrative text describing food and festivities of the evening. If Belle is there, she's not mentioned.
Scrooge watches most of this pensively, but there's a little smile on his face throughout. Text from Dickens tell us that "his heart and soul were in the scene," but he's not visually exuberant about it. Which is totally cool. The impression I get is that the scene is giving him some peace and I very much like that. I've been running a theory that this Scrooge's ghosts and visions may all be in his head and that his mind is working to heal itself after a lifetime of building unhealthy, perhaps even sociopathic walls between him and the rest of the world. He may or may not have supernatural assistance in this, but either way, Scrooge's brain would be trying to calm itself by recalling these scenes. And it seems to be working.
The text mentions Scrooge and Dick's "pouring out their hearts in praise of Fezziwig," but it's during the party, not after. The party-goers don't even leave the warehouse until a couple of panels later as Scrooge is still defending Fezziwig's generosity.