[Christopher Fry, playwright.] Typescript of a cinematic 'Story Treatment' of 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens: 'A 90 Minute Animated Color Version', 'Adapted by Christopher Fry'.

Christopher Fry (1907-2005), playwright; Charles Dickens
Publication details: 
With address of Fry's agent: ACTAC (Theatrical & Cinematic) Limited, 16, Cadogan Lane, London S.W.1'. Without date [1970s or 1980s?].
SKU: 21973

In addition to his distinguished career as a playwright, Fry had some success in Hollywood. He completely rewrote (uncredited) the screenplay of 'Ben-Hur' (1959), and was responsible for the screenplay of the Dino De Laurentiis epic 'The Bible: In the Beginning' (1966), directed by John Houston. The present item is a treatment for a film that did not make it into production. It is [1] + 71pp, 8vo. Each page on a separate loose leaf. With thin card covers, also loose, the front cover carrying a duplication of the title-page, and the back cover blank. In good condition, lightly aged. The title-page reads: 'STORY TREATMENT | * * * | A 90 Minute Animated Color Version | of | Charles Dickens' | A CHRISTMAS CAROL | Adapted by | Christopher Fry', with the following at bottom right: 'ACTAC (Theatrical & Cinematic) Limited, | 16, Cadogan Lane, | LONDON S.W.1.' The Christopher Fry papers at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London contain autograph and typed scripts of a 1958 adaptation by Fry for the theatre of Dickens's 'Christmas Carol', but no copy of this version for the cinema. As the present version is written for animation the visual element is to the fore, and Fry's treatment is filled with descriptive directions, apparent from the very start: 'We come into a busy street in the City of London, dipping down into it, as it were, by way of the city spires, to the tune of Oranges and Lemons and the sound of bells. […] And as we come into the street over the roof tops we have darting with us from time to time a Robin. | It is Christmas Eve. A frosty sun appears for a moment through the clouds before it disappears for the night. An icy wind is blowing. It cuts down a side street, blowing everybody sideways, including the Robin, who, to save himself from being blown away altogether, clings on to a man's scarf which is streaming in the gust of wind, and swings on the end of it round and round until the scarf has wound right up to the man's nose.' Another example is the following passage, which is entirely of Fry's invention: 'Young Scrooge is not dancing, but has drawn some beer from a barrel and set a tankard beside the Fiddler, his eye all the time on the dancers. When he sees a man taking a particular interest in Miss Belle Fezziwig it is extraordinary how that man will suddenly suffer a transformation, such as sprouting ass' ears, or even at one point turning into a Devil much encumbered in his dancing by a tail: and Miss Belle Fezziwig, more like an angel than ever, fled from the Devil and was rescued by Young Scrooge and together they flew gracefully round and round above the heads of the dancers with the Devil frustrated and furious below until he disappeared in a puff of smoke: and Young Scrooge finds himself still standing solitary by the wall, watching Miss Belle Fezziwig dance as before. | The Fiddler is playing with such energy that when he puts out his hand for the tankard and takes a swig of beer, the drops of sweat from his brow fall on the strings of the violin and play the missing notes.'