Last night I watched the first of the many versions of A Christmas Carol that I will enjoy between now and Christmas. It was the 1984 film that starred George C. Scott. I hadn't seen that one in a few years, so it was a treat to find that TiVo had recorded it for me. (Oh TiVo, my life was so empty before you came along!)
As I watched old Scrooge undergo his familiar transformation from misanthropic miser to someone who keeps Christmas in his heart year 'round, I decided to rank a few of my favorite film interpretations of the Dickens classic.
I'm fairly certain that this is my favorite of all the Christmas Carols. The gloomy black and white production makes London look every bit as squalid and grim as it should, and Alastair Sim plays both the pre- and post-conversion Scrooge with bite and gusto. I'm also quite fond of the woman who plays his charwoman, with her frequent, non-sensical exclamations of "In keeping with the situation!"
Last year, Darren bought me the DVD of this movie, so I can watch it whenever I want. Yea for me!
This runs a close second to the 1951 Scrooge. It some ways, this version with Patrick Stewart stays closer to the original text, and that wins it points. Stewart does a tremendous job in the role of Scrooge.
For several years when I lived in New Jersey, Patrick Stewart did a one man show of A Christmas Carol on Broadway. It was more of a dramatic reading than acting out the role, but I've heard him on tape, and it was excellent.
Weepy old queen that I am, I always get a little choked up at the end of the film when Scrooge unexpectedly appears at his nephew's home for Christmas dinner. I think it's just because I like the idea that one can get a second chance at life, a "do-over" to mend old wounds.
This is the movie I watched last night. Interestingly, it's the only film in which Scrooge wears a dress shirt, trousers, and a coat during his night with the spirits of Christmases Past, Present, and Future. Normally, Scrooge, who is pulled from his bed in the wee hours, spends the duration of the story in his nightshirt. Apparently George C. Scott refused to spend the entire shoot in pajamas, at least in part because many exterior shots were actually filmed in London during the winter.
Be that as it may, Scott's raspy voice and fierce bellow make him a formidable Scrooge.
Honestly, I've only sat completely through this picture once. The only part I really like is when Carol Kane, as the Ghost of Christmas Present, beats the living hell out of Bill Murray.
As ludicrous as the notion of The Fonze playing Scrooge in Depression-era New England may be, I actually thought this was quite a fine film.
It has been at least fifteen years since I last saw it, however, so another viewing is in order. I hope I run across it this season.
Um, no thanks. Just keep making Radio Shack commercials, Vanessa.
This one makes the list for pure kitsch value. I mean, come on, Erica Kane plays Elizabth "Ebbie" Scrooge, a bitchy department store owner? Go back to Pine Valley, and marry your fiftieth husband, deary.
Are there any other good films you think should appear on my list?