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