Tag Archives: A Christmas Carol

The Set of 400: #161 – My Favorite Tight-Fisted Hand at the Grindstone

Today! Because I’m too old and beyond hope! Go and redeem some younger, more promising creature –

A Christmas Carol (1951)

Directed by Brian Desmond Hurst

Starring Alastair Sim, Mervyn Johns, Hermione Baddeley, Michael Hordern, George Cole, Rona Anderson, Kathleen Harrison, Francis De Wolff, Brian Worth, Peter Bull, Patrick Macnee

The greatest Christmas Carol ever filmed, 1951’s Alastair Sim take feels like a much longer film than its 86 minute run time. Hell, the Jim Carrey motion capture thing from ’09 is 96 minutes (and you feel every second of that thing). But while a short film feeling longer is typically not a good thing, the ’51 Carol benefits grandly, as it actually took the time to expand on elements teased in the novel and never explored in any prior film version. This also might not necessarily be seen as a positive aspect of a typical film adaptation – just straight adding things to a plot – and especially one with a story widely regarded as one of the best ever told, but the additional material feels so organic, so Dickensian, that unless you are really a Christmas Carol scholar – films or novel – you may not notice.

If you can overlook the Ghost of Christmas Past’s gloriously excessive wig

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The Set of 400: #298 – My Favorite 2nd O Come, All Ye Faithful Verse Appearance

Today! Because I’ve only one reason to be angry – you broke my record –

A Christmas Carol (1938)

Directed by Edwin Marin

Starring Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart, Terry Kilburn, Leo G. Carroll (x2), Ann Rutherford, Kathleen Lockhart, Barry MacKay, Lynne Carver, Lionel Braham, Halliwell Hobbes, June Lockhart, Ronald Sinclair

Like the pervasive Sherlock Holmes-ness of this list, you’re going to find more versions of Ebenezer Scrooge’s Psychotic Yuletide in the days to come than you probably would’ve expected. As avid viewers of my Instagram story could tell you, come December I really bang through a lot of Christmas movies, with the Dickens classic featuring heavily in the rotation. This list would’ve had more Scrooge on it, honestly, had so many of the best productions not been television adaptations. So just quickly – Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol is the best musical version of this story ever made, hands down. Mickey’s Christmas Carol likely would’ve been right in its league, had not all the songs been excised, leaving the 24-ish minute edit that remains. The Patrick Stewart version from the late-’90s has some terrific variations on the old standard, and the George C. Scott version is one of the best straight renditions out there.

My guess is few hardcore Marley-o-philes would place the 1938 version near the top of their lists. It changes so many little things, and a few major ones, that some may shout blasphemy. I don’t have this issue – even if some of the differences are a bit frustrating, narratively speaking. If you don’t immediately recognize this as the Reginald Owen version, it’ll probably ring a bell that this is the Christmas Carol with all the sliding. Right? No? Continue reading

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