A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1979)
In my humble opinion, this is THE definitive telling of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” and a must watch tradition for my family and I at Christmas time. Also going simply by the name of Scrooge, this is a true holiday classic that is filled with generous helpings of charm and Yuletide spirit, as well as, a wonderful adaptation of one of the holiday’s greatest stories ever written. For those not familiar, it is the simple tale of the grumpy and selfish Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim), a man who is visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve…the spirits of Christmas past, present and future…and is transformed from a mean miser to a kind and merry soul. He is shown a reflection of his life and where his ways went sour and where they might be leading him.
Alastair Sim is the perfect Scrooge and there has been no equal yet to his portrayal of the classic character, though many have tried. He is totally scorn-worthy and hiss-able as the miserly and miserable curmudgeon and yet, as he masterfully takes us through his awakening and transformation, you will find yourself loving and cheering for him by the film’s end. And thanks to Brian Desmond-Hurst’s skilled and atmospheric direction, the scenes featuring the spirits of Christmas are delightfully spooky and help make Scrooge’s change of heart all the more believable. Hurst has a lush, rich visual style and the film looks gorgeous in the original black and white in which it was filmed…and intended to be watched in to enjoy the filmmakers’ original vision. Under Hurst’s guidance and the witty script by Noel Langley, based on Dickens’ classic, the movie also perfectly captures the feel of the age in which it takes place and yet retains a timelessness for all the ages. The cast supporting Sim all give passionate performances that bring these classic characters to vibrant life as if lifted from the very pages of Dickens’ story.
A perfect Christmas movie. Perhaps my all time favorite. Also stars the legendary Patrick Macnee as a young Jacob Marley and edited by Clive Donner who became a successful director in his own right, including his own version of this classic holiday tale in 1984 with George C. Scott as Scrooge. A holiday masterpiece!
4 Christmas trees!