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Which A Christmas Carol is your favorite?


LonesomePolecat
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I'm taking a random poll. My family's favorite is SCROOGE (1970), the musical with Albert Finney. I know a lot of people my age love the Muppet version (that's the only one that makes me cry-- every single time), and my parents' generation loves Mr Magoo. Lots of classics fans love the 1951.

 

But what about YOU? :)

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I wish the board moderators here would go back to consolidating threads that are about the same thing. Why have several threads all over the place, all on the same topic, when everyone could just go to one? There must be at least 5 different threads, in various forums, all on the subject of film versions of *A*

*Christmas Carol*. It would be easier and faster if they were all merged into one thread.

 

I say this to justify what I'm about to do, which is to copy and paste a comment I just wrote about my favourite version of *A Christmas Carol* / *Scrooge* on another thread, in another forum. Here 'tis:

 

Without a doubt, the best version, the definitive version, of *A Christmas Carol* is the 1951 movie starring Alistair Sim.

"...

This, for me, is the ultimate version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Although some of the others mentioned are well enough, none can touch this one. For one thing, it is a quintessentially English story, and as far as I can tell, it's the only bona fide English version there is. All those others mentioned are American-made, are they not?

 

Nothing can top this 1951 Christmas film: the ghost scene at the beginning, all those bells and clocks ringing while Scrooge cringes in his chair with his "gruel", used to scare the pants off me when I was a kid. All three "Ghosts" are spot -on, perfect; the nephew and the delightful scene where the reformed Scrooge commences dancing a polka with the nephew's young wife; Cratchit and family; the music, a perfect fit for the film; Kathleen Harrison as the bewildered housekeeper, flinging her apron over her head when Scrooge decides " I must stand on my head !".

 

 

This lovely, perfectly-rendered Christmas movie was a family tradition for me. I remember, as a kid, every Christmas Eve my family would get out the Christmas treats and gather in front of the television set to watch it. My father loved it, it was one of his favourite movies. We all knew entire scenes of dialogue by heart. I still do. When I watched it on TCM the other night, all these happy memories came back to me; I almost wept, not only from nostalgia but from delight in seeing this wonderful joyful film again.

 

 

Thank you everyone. You may now go back to your regular programming."

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I know...I replied to your post in that thread.

 

....but I wouldn't have "justified" by re-posting what you said there into here. That's just encouraging the clutter by encouraging people to post in this thread. That's why I gave the link to the existing thread on the subject. ;)

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It's not that George C. Scott's such a great Scrooge (he's certainly okay, but doesn't sound convincingly English).

Just as a dramatization of, say, Moby Dick needs a great Ahab but is only as good as the actor cast as Starbuck, so is A Christmas Carol only as effective as the actor playing Bob Cratchit. So very often cast as a screen villain (TIME AFTER TIME; TITANIC), David Warner is surely the finest Cratchit ever. Believable, sympathetic, conflicted between his need to humor his enployer, Scrooge, and the betterment of his family, especially crippled Tiny Tim (when one looks at Gene Lockhart in the 1938 MGM version one is never in doubt as to why the Cratchit family doesn't have ebnough to eat -- Bob's been chowing down on everybody else's share). Warner's performance also allows the viewer to ignore the story's most glaringly illogical aspect: with Britain in the throws of the Industrial Revolution, and trained bookkeepers in such demand that they can write their own tiickets, why does Bob live in such fear of Scrooge? Being sacked by the old man is the best thing that could possibly happen to him).

The rest of the supporting cast is equally superb: Susannah York, Frank Finlay, Edward Woodward, Roger Rees, Angela Pleasance, all plummily British, making up for the perhaps-a-wee-too-Yankish Scott.



My only real complaint is that the film, made for U.S. television, was filmed in standard ration 1.33:1, rather than a more expansive widescreen. Still, it was a rather constricted age, and Scrooge's gathering predicament should seem a bit suffocating, like his cold, airless and lifeless bedroom.



And, yep, I just got the Blu-ray, too.

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I'm probably one of the biggest Anglophiles on this board, but although I love Alastair Sim and his version of A Christmas Carol, and I love the British actors in it (Ernest Thesiger! Hattie Jacques!). BUT -- I think I prefer the 1938 version ever so slightly. I have to confess I've recorded but haven't watched the Sim version again in its entirety. But I find it just a touch too theatrical and verbose (and with narration!). I find the 1938 Hollywood version to be more cinematic.

 

I'd like to see the 1930s Hollywood versions of Great Expectations and Oliver Twist again.

 

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Hey, wouldn't it be ironic if we all got into a heated argument that escalated into a downright fight and even a total flame-out ( is that the correct term?) about Christmas movies, of all things? ;

 

Anyway...I cannot believe that some here prefer the tepid - yes, dammit, tepid - Reginald Owen version of Dickens' great Christmas story over the 1951 offering. No comparison.

 

 

"Theatrical and verbose"? But let us not forget that we are talking about Dickens here, and he was theatrical - his first love was the theatre, and he almost became an actor instead of a writer. Besides, there are countless movies, many based on plays, that are far more "theatrical" and less cinematic than the 1951 *Scrooge*. ( I think it actually is entitled "Scrooge", as opposed to "A Christmas Carol". In any case, it's much shorter to type.)

As to "verbose", most of the dialogue is taken directly from the novel ( novella, really). And since Charles Dickens was a master of the English language, what language we get in *Scrooge* ! There's supposed to be a lot of talking in it.

Cinematic? I think the director, Brian Hurst ( whose work I must admit I am not very familiar with) opens up this story in a very cinematic style- the eerie spooky ghost scene near the beginning, the way time is depicted by a huge hourglass and dead leaves, the light hearted party scenes - I've never felt this film wasn't cinematic enough, and I'm someone who detests un-cinematic movies, movies that feel like and often are filmed plays. But the 1951 *A Christmas Carol* is not one of those,

 

Reginal Owen? 1938? Bah ! Humbug!

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Ms. W., As I said, I love the Sim version (need to watch it again in its entirety) but slightly prefer the Owen version. Though I am an Anglophile, I am aware that sometime British directors (not Hitchcock) see film as an extension of theater, which it isn't. The Sim version has such long takes that sometimes I want to scream: "Move the camera for God's sake!!" It's like there could be a proscenium around the scene. There are many effective compositions, but still, it's a little verbose and stagey for my taste. Good art direction; less effective direction.

 

As far as the acting goes, both Sim and Owen are fine. Owen actually has better English dramatic creds than Sim. Owen was one of the first students to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, while founder Herbert Beerbohm Tree was there.

 

But I love Sim and love the film. I really like Sim as Miss Fritton in The Belles of St. Trinians. Now if Sim played Scrooge in drag, that would probably tip the scales for me toward the 1951 version!

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Wow! I just saw the Sim version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL this past week, and wow, it blew me away! I'm not quite sure yet if I like it better than the 38 version, a version I've watched (and absolutely adored) every Christmas as part of the tradition of the season--and often more than once, thanks to TCM!! :) But...wow, I dunno...I love them both, I guess! :) But those two would be my favorites, bar none, with the Mr. Magoo Christmas Carol (not a movie, but a long cartoon feature, I guess) riding up a very close second! :)

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Another variation/homage to the original story that has become an instant fave of mine is the Christmas special episode of the Doctor Who series that aired last year. It was absolutely brilliant and beautifully filmed, wonderful technically and containing all the familiar elements and themes of the story, but placed in a sci-fi/fantasy setting, with Dr. Who (Matt Smith) serving the function of all the ghosts in the story, and the terrific Michael Gambon (Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films) as the Scrooge-like character.

 

Not to be missed...I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it. You won't be disappointed.

 

doctor_who_christmas_carol.jpg

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Sorry there's another thread about this. I posted one because I couldn't find one. I wish the search worked a little better.

 

This is so funny how everyone is so violent about which one they liked the best.

 

Speaking of unusual versions, I have to put in a good word for another version I adore: *BLACKADDER'S CHRISTMAS CAROL*. So histerically funny. "May the yuletide log slip from your fire and burn your house down."

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> {quote:title=Aranxa wrote:

> }{quote}Mr. Magoo!

> With razzleberry dressing!

>

Another fan!

Get your "pencible" and take this down:

"Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" will be shown on the channel called Me-TV twice on Christmas eve and again in the afternoon on Christmas Day.

 

I know that it's not difficult any more to find the program on video or DVD, but still I am always happy to see it being shown somewhere on TV each year.

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The 1951 Sim version is the BEST! HANDS DOWN. Sure, it takes some artistic license, the creation of Mrs. Dilber and other scenes. But far less than the Reginald Owen dreck. Fred and his wife sliding on the ice in front of the church, Cratchit knocking Scrooges hat off with a snowball. OY!

 

But to be generous, Owen was a better Scrooge than Patrick Stewart.

As far as cinematics go, the thing that first impressed me about the '51 film was that it LOOKED as if they actually DID film it back in 1845 or whenever the story takes place. As an ameture photographer, I thought the look was stunning!

Sepiatone

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> {quote:title=Sepiatone wrote:}{quote}

> As far as cinematics go, the thing that first impressed me about the '51 film was that it LOOKED as if they actually DID film it back in 1845 or whenever the story takes place. As an ameture photographer, I thought the look was stunning!

Have you seen the 1935 version (starring Seymour Hicks)? I think that version captures what you're talking about as well or even better than the 1951 version.

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*"A Christmas Carol" at the Internet Archive*

 

1938 Radio Version (60 min) with Orson Welles as the Narrator and Scrooge

 

Download (20MB) -

http://www.archive.org/download/otr_campbellplayhouse/CampbellPlayhouse38-12-23AChristmasCarol.mp3

 

Streaming Online Here -

http://www.archive.org/details/otr_campbellplayhouse'>http://www.archive.org/details/otr_campbellplayhouse'>http://www.archive.org/details/otr_campbellplayhouse'>http://www.archive.org/details/otr_campbellplayhouse

(Track #18)

 

---------------------

 

1939 Radio Version (60 min) with Lionel Barrymore as Scrooge

 

Download Part One (7.1MB) -

http://www.archive.org/download/otr_campbellplayhouse/CampbellPlayhouse39-12-24AChristmasCarolpart1.mp3

Download Part Two (6.2MB) -

http://www.archive.org/download/otr_campbellplayhouse/CampbellPlayhouse39-12-24AChristmasCarolpart2.mp3

 

Streaming Online Here -

http://www.archive.org/details/otr_campbellplayhouse

(Tracks #50 & #51)

 

--------------------------

 

1965 BBC Radio Version (60 min) with Ralph Richardson as Scrooge

 

Part One (6.7MB) -

http://www.archive.org/download/otr_christmascarol/651225_a_christmas_carol_pt1.mp3

Part Two (6.8MB) -

http://www.archive.org/download/otr_christmascarol/651225_a_christmas_carol_pt2.mp3

 

Streaming Online here -

http://www.archive.org/details/otr_christmascarol

 

*=====================================*

*=====================================*

 

Legal Video Downloads at Internet Archive

 

Download Thomas Edison's film *A Christmas Carol* (1910) Restored, Remastered and Scored

http://www.archive.org/details/AChristmasCarol

 

Download the complete film *Scrooge* (1935) with Seymour Hicks

http://www.archive.org/details/Scrooge_1935

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Thanks. Wouldn't you know the archivist in our midst would come up with this stuff? By coincidence, I just came across a used Christmas CD of music from old recordings and radio broadcasts which included a bonus DVD of the Seymour Hicks version, which I'd never seen. The print you've offered the link to is very much superior, so thanks. I'll try to get to all of these in the next few days.

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