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  #1  
Old 12-17-2012, 08:53 AM
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A Christmas Carol discussion

I know this is talked about often on Christmas boards ... However, I think it's always interesting to gage what people think.

What version of the famous movie, A Christmas Carol is your favorite?

There were a few different versions on yesterday and it got me thinking what one is wildly considered the best?







many ... many others!
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:03 AM
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I love this story, and read the book at Christmas every year. Also, it is a 'must' to watch three different version each year: A Muppet's Christmas Carol, the 1951 version with Alistair Sim, and 1984 version with George C. Scott.

A few thoughts...

It is very difficult to pick which one (of all, not just the three mentioned above...well, except for the Muppets...no offense, Mr. Henson) is best. So many adaptations of the story are done very well. But, if I had to pick a fave, it would be a tie between Sim and Scott, with Sim's version barely eking out the 'win'.

I feel the cinematography of Scott's version is superior to any other. One particular scene, when the Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to Christmas morning, and they walk the streets of 1840's London, it is as if you lived in that time. And it captured a typical Christmas Day in a bustling city during the Industrial Revolution. We take for granted most places are closed on Christmas Day today; but back then a poulterers busiest day may well be Christmas Day. No closing, it would be unheard of!

That is but one example of many in the movie.

When it comes to the portrayal of scrooge, however, I feel Sim delivered the best performance (though Scott's performance was excellent). I feel this because Sim's portrayal is more accurate to Dickens' intent.

In the novel, Scrooge begins his change of heart early. By the time he is done with the first ghost, he is already showing signs of remorse for the life he has lived; he is not totally changed at this time, but he is well on his way. You get a good sense of that with Sim; with Scott, it's more like the first ghost was but a mere annoyance.

By the end of the novel, Scrooge is a completely changed man. You sense that with Scott, but you know and feel it with Sim. Sim portrays a Scrooge that is giddy beyond belief at his changed heart and second chance offered; Scott's Scrooge does, too, though not as convincingly. With Scott's Scrooge the movie ends and one is left with the feeling Scrooge has indeed changed, but is it forever? Will it last? With Sim's Scrooge, the change is for good, he could never go back to his old ways. Sim lets you know, with his terrific acting, that Scrooge changed, and it was for good.

So, in cinematographic terms, the 1984 Scrooge is superior to any other version. In terms of portraying Scrooge as I believe Dickens meant, the 1951 version wins out; and I believe that is the most important criteria: creating a Scrooge on film the way Dickens created him on the page.

By the slimmest of margins, This is the best adaption of "A Christmas Carol" (in my humble, and often wrong, opinion)

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Old 12-17-2012, 11:33 AM
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Overall I like the Sim version the best, and also like to run the George C. Scott version every year, but Mr. and I are both champions of the Seymour Hicks version made in England in 1935. Hicks was the foremost stage Scrooge in England for decades, and also played the role in a silent film and on radio. Although Hicks' performance may look exaggerated and old-fashioned today, it's an opportunity to see how one of the longest-running and best-known Scrooges was played in earlier generations. And Donald Calthrop, who plays Cratchit---THE best Cratchit of all the film Cratchit's. He even resembles the Cratchit of the first-edition book's illustrations!

I have no particular love for the M-G-M version with Reginald Owen. Leave it to M-G-M to dress the set of the Cratchits' "humble" home with a corner china cabinet, lovely curtains, framed pictures on the wall, etc.! According to Dickens, the Cratchit family didn't even have a complete set of tumblers to drink from! The details of Dickens' descriptions are best portrayed in the Seymour Hicks version.
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Old 12-17-2012, 02:50 PM
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I have a bunch I watch every year -- from the partial 1901 version to the Disney Carol with Jim Carrey. The Sim version is my favorite, but I like something about all of the versions.

I've even hunted down as many of the musical scores as I could get my hands on.
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Old 12-17-2012, 04:39 PM
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I love the story of A Christmas Carol, and I typically watch several versions every year. This year I've watched Sim, Hicks (1935), Muppets, Mr. Magoo, Mickey Mouse, and the masterful 1971 Richard Williams animated version http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTzyC9CZuOA

Since these are fresh in my mind I'll give my opinion of each.

As MerryCarey indicated, Hicks was really a stage actor who made a good Scrooge but the exaggerated performance lends itself to the stage rather than film. Being that it's the first feature-length sound film of the story, it's really well done.

The animated Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962) is another quality early effort, being the first animated Christmas TV special. The story is kid friendly with a show-within-a-show conceit with Magoo playing Scrooge in his broadway revival. There are some catchy musical numbers co-written by Jule Styne. Of the kiddie versions this is probably my favorite.

Mickey's Christmas Carol is a 1983 half hour TV special that was always shown on network when I was a kid, and I remember really liking it then. Now I can't say I do. Trying to insert Disney characters into this story is a struggle, and if you're familiar with the history of the Disney corporation, you'll note that this was produced between the glory days and the revival a few years later.

I really like A Muppet Christmas Carol but for one thing - I don't like Michael Caine as Scrooge. I guess that's a big thing since he's the main character. This was produced right after the deaths of Jim Henson and puppeteer Richard Hunt, and given the turmoil that must have being going on at Jim Henson Productions, it's a wonder it came out as well as it did. The muppet-center scenes work well, but Caine just doesn't do it for me as Scrooge.

My favorite version of the story is the Sim version. He plays Scrooge perfectly, beginning the film as a heartless miser and ending with a childlike spring in his step as he now keeps Christmas well. The supporting cast does a wonderful job, and even the adapted portions of the story only enhance its appeal for me. I'm sure if you're reading this you know the Alastair Sim version, but be sure to watch it again. The greatest scene for me is the last few minutes after his transformation. Sim makes me believe that he really was such a mean old miser and his changed for the better. Lesser portrayers of Scrooge fail in this regard. Also check out the Richard Williams Oscar-winning animated version. Sim lends his voice talents, as does the actor who played Marley in the 1951 version.

I must say that I've seen the other popular versions (Owen, the Finney musical, George C. Scott, Jim Carrey and Patrick Stewart) and prefer the Scott version over the others. The MGM version is pretty awful, the musical is fun but can be a bit much especially when you spend the next several weeks humming "Thank You Very Much." The Scott version is good, the Carrey is alright except some of the choices in animation take away from the story (the Ghost of Christmas Past is distracting), and I would rather hear Patrick Stewart read the story than see him act it out.
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Old 12-17-2012, 06:42 PM
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My favorite, hands down, is the 1935. To me, it's just more......nostalgic ....if you will.

Followed closely by George C. Scott, but seeing as how this is one of my favorite stories....I like all of them...
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Old 12-18-2012, 12:31 PM
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Not to get way off topic BUT I really like Scrooged with Bill Murray.

No one mentioned it so I thought I would.
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:16 AM
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I totally agree! The Alastair Sim version is, by far, superior to all of the others. - I love it when he laughs, totally cracks me up.
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Courtney View Post
I totally agree! The Alastair Sim version is, by far, superior to all of the others. - I love it when he laughs, totally cracks me up.
For me, the funniest moment is when he finally gets his housekeeper calmed down---then freaks her out again by rumpling up his hair!
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:02 PM
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Some good responses. I too love the story and find various versions interesting and all of them a little unique in different ways from one another.

The Alastair Sim classic is also my go to version. To me that's who Scrooge is.
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