Tuesday, November 23, 2010


 Oh dear. Here I go, getting way too obsessed with Christmas, way too early.

But seriously. One of my favorite things to do around Thanksgiving is to read and watch the different film versions of A Christmas Carol. I do not typically enjoy Dickens, but I do like this piece. It is classic, and just a great story. I always enjoy the films because each actor portrays Ebenezer Scrooge a little differently, despite the almost identical dialogue and scenes in each version. However, I do have two favorites I never miss.

First, I initially became acquainted with Scrooge and A Christmas Carol through Michael Caine's performance in The Muppet Christmas Carol. I know, it's a Muppet movie, but I think Caine gives a top-notch performance in it. I always see and feel clearly how Scrooge changes throughout. The graveyard scene with The Ghost of Christmas Future and the bit at then end where Beaker gives him the scarf remain two of my favorite "Scrooge" scenes ever filmed. Not to mention, he appears convincing acting, singing, and dancing with Muppets!

George C. Scott, on the other hand, will not play the Scrooge who sings and dances does London's streets in the 1984 television movie version of A Christmas Carol, but he does give a more subtle, refined performance that downplays some of the "Scrooge" gimmicks. He says "humbug," without making it sound like a one-liner, and acts mean and cold, but understandably so. Scrooge must count as one of the most popular characters ever filmed, and it seems easy to turn him into more caricature than human. Scott avoids this, and every time I watch his performance, I see someone who could be any of us, beaten down by his mistakes, and eventually led to a truth that could destroy him if he refuses change.

What versions of A Christmas Carol are your favorites? Are there any actors you would like to see play Scrooge who have not yet? More remakes are inevitable!

Until the remakes, I leave you with two great songs from The Muppet Christmas Carol that show the "old" Scrooge, and the "new" Scrooge.




1 comment:

Shybiker said...

Great question! This story is such a classic and there are so many versions to choose among. There was even a Mister Magoo version in 1962!

I grew up with the 1951 film starring Alastair Sim so that's my reference-point. It's probably my favorite although I loved the satiric, humorous take on the tale by British comedian Rowan Atkinson ("Blackadder"; "Mr. Bean"; etc.). That version, from 1988, also starred Hugh Laurie ("House").