A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1984) – DVD Pick by Chip Kaufmann

 

Now that The Man Who Invented Christmas has been released to theaters, which version of A Christmas Carol would be the best one to watch afterward? There have been countless movie versions of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol over the years. One of the very first releases was made by the Edison Company back in 1910 (available on the Kino DVD A Christmas Past). I have fond memories of an animated musical version starring Mr. Magoo which aired in the 1960s.

The most highly regarded adaptation was done in 1951 in England. It was called Scrooge, and it starred Scottish character actor Alastair Sim. Although it’s an excellent version with a great supporting cast, I have always found Sim’s performance to contain a little too much comedy for my taste. It’s also in black & white which won’t go over with today’s younger audiences.

My personal favorite is the 1984 made for TV version with George C. Scott (which was released as a feature film in England). It was directed by Clive Donner and featured a solid cast of British professionals including David Warner, Edward Woodward, and Susannah York. Scott invests Scrooge with honesty and believability that avoids the caricature that the character has become.

The film is handsomely mounted with just the right degree of theatricality which is essential to the story. I once read in an interview with J.K. Rowling that she had seen the film as a teenager and was very taken with it. You don’t have to look closely to see that the Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come does look uncannily like the Dementors from Harry Potter. This version also goes hand-in-hand with The Man Who Invented Christmas which copies its production design.

DVD Pick by Chip Kaufmann

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