The Many Ghosts of ‘A Christmas Carol’
The Many Ghosts of ‘A Christmas Carol’ – Marley
“Do you believe in me or not?”
The Ghost of Jacob Marley is the first ghost to appear to Scrooge on Christmas Eve. He warns Scrooge that his actions will lead him to a fate worse than his own and that he must change his ways. Wrapped in Chains and with his jaw tightly closed by a bandage, Marley tells Scrooge that he will be visited by three ghosts. Despite being frightened of the apparition of his former partner, Scrooge dismisses him and heads to bed, unnerved by his encounter with Marley.
1938 – Leo G. Carroll
Leo G. Caroll appears in the 1938 adaption of A Christmas Carol as the ‘Ghost of Jacob Marley’, in which he plays him in a much more human manor than of that of a specter. His aloof appearance and speech makes him the least scariest of all incarnations of Marley. He appears with a single chain and with a his jaw secured with a bandage around his head.
1951 – Michael Hordern Marley
Appearing in a more ghostly persona, Michael Hordern’s Marley is a suited gentleman wrapped in a single small chain. His voice is ethereal and appearance is stiff but shocking, as he wails at Scrooge in an unearthly voice. He is missing the signature bandage, and his chain is probably the least imposing of all the variations.
1984 – Frank Finlay
Frank Finlay’s Marley is a stiff, sober and somewhat comic character that appears deathly white, with opaque dead eyes. His over-sized chains and padlock look like something Acme would produce for Wile E. Coyote, giving him a more comic apperance. With his emotionless performance and un-moving eyes, Marley is a cold and unsympathetic character that mealy sets Scrooge on his journey, rather than being someone that cares for the old miser’s future.
1988 – John Forsythe
John Forsythe ‘Marley’ literally explodes into Frank Cross’ office, dressed in the golfing gear he died in. Ley Hayward was Franks old business partner and as the ‘Marley’ of the film, warns Frank about the ghosts that will visit him. Hayward is a rotting corpse, in dusty, cobweb covered clothes. He is happy to see Frank and is genuinely humorous and friendly towards his old friend.
1992 – Dave Goelz & Jerry Nelson
Muppets Statler and Waldorf appear in the musical adaption of A Christmas Carol as the brothers Robert and Jacob Marley. Voiced by Dave Goelz & Jerry Nelson, they appear much like their normal muppet appearance, but pale and with long chains attached to their arms. They are humorous and insulting to scrooge, who is terrified by the spirits appearance. As the film is a musical, the two Marley Brothers have a song that introduces them to Scrooge.
1999 – Bernard Lloyd
Wrapped in a considerable amount of chains, Bernard Lloyd’s Marley is a pale specter with a stern and wind swept look His slow and careful movements are caused by the heavy chains he wares, making his warnings to Scrooge quite dire, considering the length of chain he must have. He converses with Scrooge much more in this version, making their exchange more enjoyable.
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