Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday's media madness...

The quintessential Christmas movie is A Christmas Carol, but which version is your favorite?  Personally the the 1951 Alistar Sim version.  Here is a bit of trivia that will go a long way to explaining one of the films most famous of words: "The word "humbug" is misunderstood by many people, which is a pity since the word provides a key insight into Scrooge's hatred of Christmas. The word "humbug" describes deceitful efforts to fool people by pretending to a fake loftiness or false sincerity. So when Scrooge calls Christmas a humbug, he is claiming that people only pretend to charity and kindness in an scoundrel effort to delude him, each other, and themselves. In Scrooge's eyes, he is the one man honest enough to admit that no one really cares about anyone else, so for him, every wish for a Merry Christmas is one more deceitful effort to fool him and take advantage of him. This is a man who has turned to profit because he honestly believes everyone else will someday betray him or abandon him the moment he trusts them."  ~ Amazon

It may surprise some folks to know that there was a silent version of A Christmas Carol released in 1910.  The part of Scrooge was played by William Betchel, although he was uncredited. Worldview Entertainment and the Killiam Collection has released a set of nine early movies about Christmas collectively called "A Christmas Past," with an original score by Al Kryszak. This movie is the eighth one, and has a running time of only 11 minutes and has no Tiny Tim.   You can find a copy of this version from Red Tag Market for $15.97 with free shipping, however it was out of stock as of the writing of this article.  I was able to find it in stock at DVD Empire for $17.99 with free shipping.

There was a really nice version of A Christmas Carol produced in 1938 staring Reginald Owen as Scrooge and narrated by Vincent Price.  When the movie came out MGM released a record-breaking 375 prints of the film so that as many people as possible could see it during the Christmas season.  Now you can find this version on sale at Walmart for $5.96 if you go to the store or they will ship it to you for an additional charge of $1.97 plus your states sales tax.

The 1951 version of A Christmas Carol stars Alistar Sim as Scrooge and is the only one leaves out Scrooge's famous line: "If I had my way, every fool who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled in his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart". You can find this one for $10.49 at Amazon and it has both the original black and white version as well as the updated color version of the film.

In 1971 an animated version of A Christmas Carol was made staring Alistar Sim as the voice of Scrooge.  Surprisingly this was the only film version of "A Christmas Carol" to win an Oscar and after the film won, the Academy changed its rules so that a made-for-TV cartoon could never again win this honor, even if it was shown theatrically.  This is a rare version and you can find this version on VHS at Esty for $25.00, I found a few others, some has high as $200.00.

George C. Scott tried his hand at playing Scrooge in the 1984 version of A Christmas Carol.  As with many films shot on location there are things left behind as reminders, this was no exception, Scrooge's grave can still be visited at St. Chad's Church graveyard, Shrewsbury, where the churchyard sequence was shot - the production team left the gravestone in place once filming was completed.  You can find this version for $7.49 at Amazon, it is eligible for free shipping if you are an Amazon Prime member or you order $25.00 or more.

1997 saw the release of an animated musical version of A Christmas Carol staring Tim Curry as the voice of Scrooge as well as Whoopie Goldberg as the voice for the Spirit of Christmas Past, Michael York as the voice of Bob Cratchit, and Ed Asner as the voice of Jacob Marley.  You can find a copy of this version at Beach Audio for $11.22 plus $4.00 shipping.

The 1999 version of A Christmas Carol stars Patrick Stewart as Scrooge.  Until the most recent 2009 version this was the only film version which follows the book when Scrooge and The Ghost Of Christmas Past visit Scrooge's childhood. In this film, as in the book, the walls and floor of the room simply vanish and they are instantly in the past. In all other versions Scrooge and the Ghost fly out the window and across the city.  You can find a copy of this version at Deep Discount for $10.94 with free shipping.

In 2004 a musical version of A Christmas Carol was released from Hallmark Entertainment staring Kelsey Grammer as Scrooge.  Aside from being a musical this version is also unique in that Scrooge meets all three Christmas Ghosts in human form before meeting them as spirits.  You can find this version for $10.11 at Smartz Place with free shipping.

Disney's A Christmas Carol was released in 3D in 2009 at the movie theatres at stars Jim Carry as Scrooge.  This was Jim Carry's first time working with Disney and Disney's first animated movie to release in IMAX 3D.  This version is almost completely true to Dickens' classic novel, but there are some differences: In the book, a lot more time is spent in the present, especially at the houses of his employee and nephew. Also, the novel shows us strife around the globe - in caves and on ships - that is relieved by Christmas joy.  The whole "future" scene with the horse chase and Scrooge becoming smaller is not in the novel. In the book, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is nearly immobile except for the pointing finger. You can find a copy of the newest version at Walmart for $13.00 plus $1.97 shipping plus any sales tax for your state.

I hope this gets you in the holiday spirit!



  1. Which is your favorite version? The cartoon ones don't do much for me. My favorite way of watching this is as a play. I'm looking forward to watching "Its a Wonderful Life." this season.

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