What to watch: 7 movies imbued with the spirit of Victorian Christmas

If you already know all the popular Christmas movies by heart, look out for stories from Queen Victoria's time. We have collected for you dramas and comedies, the action of which unfolds in the second half of the XIX century.

09.12.2022Anastasia Fedorova

“Under the Greenwood Tree.

The story of the painting begins on Christmas Day in the village of Mellstock in the south of England in the mid-nineteenth century. Cabbie Dick Dewey, Pastor Maybold, and Farmer Shiner fall in love with schoolteacher Day Fancy. The girl is courted by all three and has to choose who to give her heart to: the cash-strapped Dewey or the wealthier suitors. On top of all the future husband must approve and the father of the heroine.

The romantic drama is based on British writer Thomas Hardy’s book of the same name, which he published anonymously in 1872. The novel was Hardy’s second job. The author himself called his work a fairly true story that could really have happened in 1850s England. The movie was directed by Nicholas Laughland, the creator of the series “Purely English Murders”. The tape can be viewed on Amazon Prime.

“The Christmas Candle.

British melodrama tells the Christmas story in the fictional village of Gladbury. The residents here believe that every twenty-five years an angel comes to the local candlemaker and touches one of the candles. A Christmas miracle will happen to the one who lights it. The candle store is kept by the Haddington family and sells church candles to the neighborhood every year. Everyone believes in the legend except new pastor David Richmond. He wants people to believe in God, not fiction. But despite all his actions, a real miracle happens in the village on Christmas Eve.

The tape is based on the novel of the same name by American writer Max Lucado. The creators chose locations in the counties of Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and the Isle of Man for filming. For the Scottish singer Susan Boyle, the picture was the debut in the big movie. She also wrote the Miracle Hymn soundtrack for it. The movie is available on Amazon Prime and Apple TV.

“The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.”

The setting is England, late 1800s. A young boy, Thomas, loses a wooden Christmas box with a set of figurines that he inherited from his deceased father. His mom offers to order a new one and at the same time watch the craftsman carve it out of wood. On New Year’s Eve, they meet Mr. Toomey, the best woodcarver. He takes on the order, and Thomas gradually becomes involved in the creative process. Like his new apprentice, Mr. Toomey experiences the loss of a loved one, and the boy becomes one of the few people who understands the master.

The movie is based on Susan Wojciechowski’s book of the same name. The story has been called “the story of a gloomy lumberjack who re-learns to find joy in life.” In addition, in the United States, the edition with illustrations by Irish artist Patrick James Lynch became a bestseller. Starring Tom Berenger, Joely Richardson, Saoirse Ronan and Luke Ward-Wilkinson. You can watch the movie on Amazon Prime.

“A Christmas Hymn” (Scrooge).

The tape is based on the novel of the same name by Charles Dickens about the harmful miser Ebenezer Scrooge. In one night, he experiences an incredible adventure: when the spirits of the past, present and future force him to see himself from the outside. As always at Christmas, a miracle happens and Scrooge turns into the most generous and kind man in town.

Unlike the novel, the painting goes into more detail about the character’s life and why he became so grumpy and cruel. Interestingly, the British public loved the film, and nearly forty years later it was released in a colorized version. And in the U.S. tape failed: viewers and journalists criticized her for excessive gloominess. Despite this, the British Film Institute included “A Christmas Carol” in its list of the best films about Victorian London. You can watch the picture on Apple TV, YouTube, Amazon Prime and BFI Player.

“A Little Princess.

The mini-series is based on Frances Eliza Burnett’s novel of the same name. The main character Sarah is left an orphan after the death of her father. She is used to being loved and pampered by everyone – both at home and at school. After the tragedy, she becomes a maid at Miss Minchin’s boarding house and endures bullying from teachers and classmates. But despite this, Sarah regains her greatest treasure – true friendship and the support of loved ones. There are a total of six episodes in the series, and one of them is about Christmas.

The novel was first published in 1905. The 1986 film adaptation is considered the most complete and closest to the text of the book. “The Little Princess” also won a BAFTA award for best TV series for children. You can watch the feed on Amazon Prime and Britbox services.

“The Man Who Invented Christmas.

The main character, Charles Dickens, has no way of writing a truly popular novel. The public does not buy his latest books, and the author himself is on the verge of despair and even considered breaking with writing. Around Christmas, he decides to take another risk. He has six weeks in which he has to come up with characters for a new book, a plot and convey the Christmas atmosphere. He goes to the streets of London for inspiration and meets his heroes there.

The vivid and compelling drama will explore how Dickens created the characters and how his book influenced Christmas in England. Until the mid-nineteenth century, the British did not celebrate the holiday with the same magnitude as Easter or Boxing Day. Dickens is believed to have been the one who brought the traditions of the region where he came from and where Christmas was prevalent, as well as many holiday recipes, such as Christmas pudding. You can see the movie on Amazon Prime, Sky, Chili ‘s and Apple TV.

“Blackadder’s Christmas Carol.

In the sitcom “Blackadder,” Rowan Atkinson plays the greedy villain Edmund Blackadder. He wanders through British history and gets into various ridiculous situations with his pals Lord Percy and squire Baldrick. In a special episode, the creators parody Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”: the hero becomes Ebenezer Blackadder, the most generous man in town. On a holiday night, the spirit of Christmas comes to him and tells him about his horrible ancestors. The episode also starred Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Robbie Coltrane and Miriam Margulies.

For filming, the creators chose Alnwick Castle in the north of England, founded in the XI century. This is also where some of the Harry Potter scenes were filmed. Today it is the residence of the Dukes of Northumberland. The tape is available on Britbox.

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