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The Ghosts of Christmas Past: Where is Alistair Sim?


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I see that we are getting a hefty helping of various Scrooges this coming month: The 1938 A Christmas Carol, the 1935 Scrooge, and the 1970 musical Scrooge -- but there is one ghost from the past missing, and it is the best of all: The British production of A Christmas Carol (1951) with Alistair Sim and a very young Patrick MacNee.  Superb photography, a great editing job, and definitely the spookiest of the lot.  A shame that this is not being included in December's lineup.  But I am glad I have a copy of it myself . . . 

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I see that we are getting a hefty helping of various Scrooges this coming month: The 1938 A Christmas Carol, the 1935 Scrooge, and the 1970 musical Scrooge -- but there is one ghost from the past missing, and it is the best of all: The British production of A Christmas Carol (1951) with Alistair Sim and a very young Patrick MacNee.  Superb photography, a great editing job, and definitely the spookiest of the lot.  A shame that this is not being included in December's lineup.  But I am glad I have a copy of it myself . . . 

"Cut me liver" I have to agree.  That's what I will be watching this Christmas Eve ... my own copy.

And young Scrooge played by the recently deceased George Cole is very good too I must say.

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Thank you for expressing my mutual disgust also that the only really good version of "Scrooge" [alternate title] that starred Alistair Sim is never included in the TCM line-up.

 

Anyone who has seen that version knows how superior it is to any other version ever filmed. Sim is simply magnificent in the role. 

 

And the supporting cast is wonderful, plus it is the only version which has a kid playing Tiny Tim who is not a sacchariney annoyance.

 

 

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I guess this is where we have the annual "which Christmas Carol is best" discussion. And where I say that I prefer the 1938 version. Though I love Sim and his version, I find it a bit stagey and the Owen version more cinematic. And the Owen version has that patina of age that enhances the spirit of movies past.

 

But I must say this for the great Alastair Sim: Reginald Owen could never play Miss Fritten. And whilst we're on the subject of Mr. Sim, where is The Green Man?

 

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I see that we are getting a hefty helping of various Scrooges this coming month: The 1938 A Christmas Carol, the 1935 Scrooge, and the 1970 musical Scrooge -- but there is one ghost from the past missing, and it is the best of all: The British production of A Christmas Carol (1951) with Alistair Sim and a very young Patrick MacNee.  Superb photography, a great editing job, and definitely the spookiest of the lot.  A shame that this is not being included in December's lineup.  But I am glad I have a copy of it myself . . . 

I agree.  Disgraceful that TCM wouldn't  have this in their line-up.

 

I couldn't say for sure that they NEVER had, but I get your point.  If they can show NBNW so frequently, I don't think an annual showing of Alistair Sim's "Scrooge"( or Christmas Carol, if you will) is asking too much, now IS it?

 

And, to borrow a favorite line from the movie-----TCM  should "Nip along smartly"  to the nearest place where a copy is available!

 

Sim's version was NOT the first one I've ever seen.

 

But, it IS the BEST IMO.

 

It also WAS the first version of the filmed story my WIFE had ever seen, and she also likes it the best.  A friend of mine put it best----

 

"It's almost as if Dickens had written the character with Sim in mind!"

 

Yeah, well of course we DO know better, but you get his drift.

 

Your mention of photography( or cinematography)-----it was the first thing to impress me.  To me, it actually LOOKS as if it had been filmed back in the 1840's!  Well, I guess it's both kudos to the cinematographer, AND the set designer!

 

 

 

Sepiatone

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And Scrooge (1951) has an incredible music score by Richard Addinsell.

 

Love the Joe the Ragpicker scene and all its characters.

 

Yes, TCM should "run along before they dot another i" and get a copy.

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As a fan of the book A Christmas Carol (and Dickens in general), I agree that the Alastair Sim version is the best one. It's the most faithful to the book in terms of storytelling, atmosphere and casting, IMO.

 

However, the Muppet Christmas Carol is the best depiction of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come! And it's fun! 

 

I like Gene Lockhart's Bob Cratchit in the 1938 version. He's just so darn GENIAL. 

 

Sandy K

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And Scrooge (1951) has an incredible music score by Richard Addinsell.

 

 

There's a CD with the music that I heard on the radio while driving around a couple of years ago, and I'm still on the search for it.  Probably hafta order it online somewhere.  HATE doing that, but if neccessity leaves no choice, well.....

 

Don't know for sure which orchestra did the recording I heard, OR the conductor, but it does prove how intricate and well composed the score for it really was, and I pay even stricter attention to it after hearing the radio broadcast.

 

Notice too, that a good portion of the music was used for a commercial promoting Chef Boy-Ar-Dee "Spagetti and meatballs" back in the '60's  :D

 

Sepiatone

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As a fan of the book A Christmas Carol (and Dickens in general), I agree that the Alastair Sim version is the best one. It's the most faithful to the book in terms of storytelling, atmosphere and casting, IMO.

 

However, the Muppet Christmas Carol is the best depiction of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come! And it's fun! 

 

I like Gene Lockhart's Bob Cratchit in the 1938 version. He's just so darn GENIAL. 

 

Sandy K

I agree.  I love everything Dickens too.  I have the 30's version with Reginald Owen who was really good as Scrooge.  Yes, Gene Lockhart was so likeable and genial as Bob Crachit.   A friend gave me a set of Christmas films with A Christmas Carol starring Alistair Sim.  Yes, I agree that it is the very best version.  Patrick MacNee is indeed very young.  

 

In the boxed set is the wonderful Beyond Tomorrow, a sentimental 40's Christmas film that will appeal to many.  It has a realistic storyline centered around the holidays and is beautifully showcased by the acting of Jean Parker, Richard Carlson, Maria Ouspenskaya, and several other favorites.

 

Does anyone else like the wonderful 1984 version of A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott?   Though I am not a big Scott fan, I did admire his work in this film.  He made a great, caustic Ebeneezer Scrooge and the musical background is delightful.  THere are many Christmas songs here that are from an earlier time; The Snow Lay on the Ground, I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing, etc.  It is a delightful version and Scrooge is quite likeable in reform mode, of course.  The beautiful woodland snowy scenes are breathtaking as Scrooge journeys into his past with the Ghost of Christmas Past.  Susannah York makes a beautiful Mrs. Cratchit.

 

Hoping to catch the Muppett Christmas Carol.  Somehow missed it along the way.  I like the animated Christmas films and specials and just watched again A Disney Channel Christmas which we all enjoyed.  There were snippets from a lot of great Disney films like Peter Pan, Snow White and Cinderella, etc.  Of course everything was further enhanced by "Scrooge McDuck" as the stingy Scrooge, Pluto, Goofy, Chip and Dale and other enchanted characters.  Of course the humorous How the Grinch Stole Christmas is always entertaining as well.

 

On with my Christmas list.  Next is The Bishop's Wife,  a time honored favorite.

 

Noteable to watch in the boxed set is the 40's Christmas film Beyond Tomorrow.  It is warmly sentimental with a lovely and realistic storyline. 

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There's a CD with the music that I heard on the radio while driving around a couple of years ago, and I'm still on the search for it.  Probably hafta order it online somewhere.  HATE doing that, but if neccessity leaves no choice, well.....

 

Don't know for sure which orchestra did the recording I heard, OR the conductor, but it does prove how intricate and well composed the score for it really was, and I pay even stricter attention to it after hearing the radio broadcast.

 

Notice too, that a good portion of the music was used for a commercial promoting Chef Boy-Ar-Dee "Spagetti and meatballs" back in the '60's  :D

 

Sepiatone

Hope you find it.  I love to listen for favorite musical backgrounds in a treasured film.  Yes, I like the background music here too.

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Interesting that both George Cole and Patrick Macnee passed away this year ( August and June respectively ) and neither are included in the TCM Remembers segment for this year.   A terrible oversight in my opinion. 

 

I adore this film and Sim is simply perfect as Scrooge.  His "rebirth" at the end has brought me to tears a few times.  Very moving and very believable.  

 

 

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Interesting that both George Cole and Patrick Macnee passed away this year ( August and June respectively ) and neither are included in the TCM Remembers segment for this year.   A terrible oversight in my opinion. 

 

I adore this film and Sim is simply perfect as Scrooge.  His "rebirth" at the end has brought me to tears a few times.  Very moving and very believable.  

I adore this film too!  Everything with Alistair is great.  I am also a fan of classic British films, so was saddened about Patrick MacNee and George Cole's passing.  Have seen George in a lot of things as a young man. 

 

I too was moved to tears about Alistair's rebirth at the end.  (Had to lower the TV when the kids went by --  Kathleen Harrison - very entertaining actress - screamed very loudly when she thought Srooge had gone crazy!).

 

So sorry about TCM's oversight!  Both men were a part of the great Golden Age of films and should have been mentioned in the tribute for the year.

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