7 December 2001
The film begins with a live-action sequence set in Boston in 1857, the site of a live reading by renowned novelist Dickens. As he begins his 'story of ghosts' a woman in the audience screams because she has seen a mouse and Dickens points out that this is appropriate since his story begins with a mouse. At this point the story turns into the animated version and Dickens explains that the mouse, named Gabriel, carries a glimmer of hope amidst the glaring co-existence of rich and poor in the streets of London. Throughout the subsequent unfolding of the well-known story Gabriel acts as a miniature Greek chorus, providing younger members of the audience with a point of entry into the story and, in the case of the potentially frightening elements (the Ghosts of Past, Present and Future), a place of refuge.
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