Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday movies! A Christmas Carol

There are about four thousand movie versions of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, but this one from 1951 with Alastair Sim is my favorite. It's the Scroogiest. I've never been a huge fan of Dickens. The few books of his that I read in high school and college were difficult and depressing morality tales, but the man came up with some great names for his characters, didn't he? Ebenezer Scrooge? Fezziwig? Uriah Heep? Volumnia Dedlock? Great stuff. The next time you need a cool cat name, just get something from Dickens.

A Christmas Carol is a lovely story of despair and redemption, but the part that stays with me is the scary scary image of The Ghost of Christmas Future. No matter what version I've seen, that fellow terrifies me, in his long black robe, pointing silently at doom. Eeeeek. As a kid, he scared the bejeebers out of me, and reminded me to always keep Christmas in my heart. He's even kind of spooky in The Muppet Christmas Carol, my second favorite version of the story. Okay, it's not very literary, but it has Michael Caine and Kermit the Frog. How can that be wrong?

Many TV shows have also done their versions of A Christmas Carol. My favorite here is WKRP in Cincinnati, with Johnny Fever as the Ghost of Christmas Future in his Black Death t-shirt. He's a bit overshadowed, though, by Venus Flytrap as Christmas Present in a red velvet fur trimmed Earth Wind and Fire Santa suit.
It says something about the lasting power of Dickens' story that it has lasted and been remade in so many permutations. From a 1901 silent British version to the hectic looking 3D cartoon that Disney released this year, Scrooge keeps on humbugging. Who knows what it will look like in 2109?


  1. I agree, that is a great version! I am a Dickens fan though, as much as I have read his work it is easier to enjoy on the small screen :) T.

  2. Ooh yeah, that's a great version!!! He scared the crap outta me when I was a kid. My dad loves that one too, but I'm sticking with my George C. Scott version. About Dickens, I kinda like difficult and depressing. Sick, I know.