Christmas
Tales
of
Ghostly
Trails:
Classic
Christmas
Ghost
Stories

With
Liam Dale
(2000)
Review
by
William Mortensen Vaughan
As of:  7:10 p.m. E.S.T., Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Christmas Tales of Ghostly Trails
Title:  Christmas Tales of Ghostly Trails:  Classic Christmas Ghost Stories with Liam Dale

My Rating:  *****

Dove Foundation Rating:  [NOT RATED]

M.P.A.A. Rating:  [NOT RATED]

Adaptation:  read by Liam Dale

Date Released:  2000

Format Reviewed:  audible adaptation streamed online

Is this adaptation reverent?:  Yes.

Does it include the phrase, "God bless us..."?  Yes, someone, off screen, in the role of Tiny Tim, says it, at the end.

What does my wife think of it?  She thinks it's interesting.

How closely does this adaptation follow the original novel, by Charles Dickens?  

This adaptation is a drastically altered and abridged adaptation with a runtime of approximately five or six minutes, at the end of an hour-long documentary about Charles Dickens' life, and various places which are allegedly haunted, in England and Wales. Although I somewhat agree with a previous, 1-Star review, on Amazon, that this film seems like something a teen could shoot with a smart phone, at home, and in front of old homes in their neighborhood, I consider this a "must have" for avid fans, like me, of Charles Dickens!

As with The Night Before Christmas Carol, starring Jeffery West, in a one-man performance, I initially thought very little of this production, which I viewed via Amazon Prime, and, as with The Night Before Christmas Carol, I was delightfully surprised by how much I enjoyed this film, once I gave it a chance.

If you dismiss this as a low-budget, home-made video, you fail to appreciate the footage of several places in England significant to its history, especially with regard to the life and literature of perhaps its greatest author, Charles Dickens. I've watched this film twice and continue to be astonished by how much information I have gleaned from this documentary, of particular interest to me, as the webmaster of A U.S. Christmas Carol.

You also fail to appreciate the camera work of Jud MacFarlane, and the production and post-production efforts of LDTV, which, speaking from experience, I am sure required hours of painstaking effort and skill.

Also, the places visited are not merely old houses in one's neighborhood. Even if you live in England, the trek from Gads Hill Place, in Rochester, where Dickens lived and died, to Gloucester, where mice allegedly toiled on a poor tailor's waistcoat, and on, to Harvington Hall, in Kidderminster, where Catholics hid in priest holes, is approximately 170 miles - one way!

And how many of you live within 170 miles of homes and structures built approximately 500 years ago, let alone a medieval cathedral built more than 1,300 years ago, prior to 700 A.D? And buildings which are immortalized by British authors such as Beatrix Potter and Charles Dickens?

This one-hour production includes a five- or six-minute adaptation of A Christmas Carol, read to two, silent, uncredited boys, by the producer and director, Liam Dale, dressed severely, in black, with white lace at his throat and wrists, sitting in front of a fireplace, surrounded by Christmas decorations.

As an avid collector of adaptations of A Christmas Carol, I consider this portion alone as a "must have"! It's the shortest adaptation I've ever seen, similar to Pat Robertson's adaptation, but much briefer!

Sue Hosler is credited for "the research and script," which, again, speaking from experience, I realize must also have taken hours of painstaking effort.

The story of Charles Dickens' life is told from his earliest childhood to his death, and alleged, post mortem haunts... And several of the homes he lived in, including the only one he owned, are featured.

Additionally, this documentary covers stories of several ghosts, including a Welsh lord, a hangman, a bishop burned at the stake, and the ghost of Charles Dickens himself! Also mentioned are King Henry VIII, and his daughters and/or successors, Elizabeth I, Mary I, and Victoria.

The education alone is worth the price of admission!

What dialect is used?  British English.

When and where does this adaptation take place?  This adaptation takes places in England, presumably, circa 1840, as retold in an English home, circa 2000.

Is this adaptation a prequel or a sequel?  No, but it's about a five-minute adaptation with a fifty-five minute introduction.

Is this adaptation supernatural?  Yes, this adaptation is supernatural, as is the original.

Is this adaptation "framed"?Yes, it is framed by Liam Dale telling and/or reading Christmas ghost stories to two boys in front of a fireplace, surrounded by Christmas decorations.

What original musical numbers and/or dance routines are included?

This film includes several instrumental, musical accompaniments, which seem to fade in and out at appropriate times.

How attractive is the visual art?  

The wardrobe is adequate. The footage of the historic locations outside of the home where Liam Dale begins and ends his tales, is well-filmed and edited.

The cover art is misleading. I do not believe that the man whose portrait appears on the "cover" is Liam Dale. I have seen similar pictures included in the cover art for a Bleak December and a Derek Miller adaptation.

How creative and instense are the transitions, especially when "the Scrooge" is taken from one time and/or place to another?  

The transitions are adequate.

What is the most remarkable thing about this adaptation?  

The most remarkable thing about this adaptation is, perhaps, that it is so brief!
What extras are included on the DVD?  [NOT APPLICABLE] Subtitles are optional while streaming from Amazon's website.

Test your knowledge of this film by taking this quizz:

Quiz 01 of T.B.D.

Quiz 02 of T.B.D.

Quiz 03 of T.B.D.

Quiz 04 of T.B.D.

Quiz 05 of T.B.D.

Quiz 06 of T.B.D.


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William@AChristmasCarol.US