Christmas Movies: Samplings of A Christmas Carol

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A Christmas Carol was written by Charles Dickens. The tale of Ebeneezer Scrooge visit by three ghost to transform his life from a miser to a benefactor is a classic.

Reginald Owen version

Numerous adaptations of the story have been made for film over the years. Let’s review some of these variations and sample them.

The first films appeared in 1908 and 1910 in the days of silent film. The two films lasted around 15 minutes each and no known copies of at least the 1908 version is known to exist. {Not sure about the 1910 version.}

The first talking version stared Reginald Owen in 1938. This was the first version to change the visit of the ghost from three separate nights in the novel to one night. A tradition many versions have continued to follow. MGM often returned the movie to the theatre throughout the early 20h Century and in the last few decades it has been exclusively broadcast on TCM.

Alastair Sims version

Alastair Sims version was next with his 1951 adaptation named Scrooge in the U.K. and A Christmas Carol in the U.S. This film expands the story of Scrooge’s rise as a prominent businessman. The backstory also gives more details than the book on the death of Scrooge’s mother and sister, both in childbirth. This version was one of the most popular in Britain, but a box office disappointment in the U.S.

Sims would reprise the role in 1971 for an animated short version. This version is less than a half hour long and was a TV Special in the U.S. In 1972, it won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

with Albert Finney

In 1970, Albert Finney stared in a musical version of the story titled Scrooge. The film recived four academy awards including for Best Original Song for “Thank You Very Much”.

staring George C. Scott

In 1984, a TV adaptation was made starring George C. Scott. The movie was filmed in Shrewburg, England. “Novelist and essayist Louis Bayard, writing for, described this adaptation as “the definitive version of a beloved literary classic”, praising its fidelity to Dickens’ original story, the strength of the supporting cast, and especially Scott’s performance as Scrooge.” This version remains one of the favorite versions of fans.

with Bill Murray

Scrooged, staring Bil Murray, in a comedic film version became a big hit in 1988 and remains relevant to modern day.

In 1988, Patrick Stewart stared in a one-man performance stage performance of the story. Critics praised his performance of more than 30 characters. Stewart later filmed a movie version in 1999.

In 1992, Scrooge: The Musical appeared on stage. The show was revived in 2003, 2007, and 2012.

Patrick Stewart version

Another well known 1992 version is The Muppet Christmas Carol. The film opened to mostly positive reviews and was a modest box office success.

A musical version premiered in 1994 and was performed annually for almost a decade at the Paramount Theatre in Madison Square Garden. This version was written by Lynn Ahrens and Alan Menken. In 2004, film version was made for Hallmark and appeared on NBC.

In 2009, a #d computer-animated version was released by Disney and IMAX. The film recived mixed reviews for its dark tone but earned $325.3 million. The Disney film stars Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge.

Various TV series have also approached the story for special Christmas episodes, including The X-Files and Doctor Who.

Other versions of the film have been made whether for the screen, animated, or made for TV adaptations.

One thing is for sure, the story is well known and well loved. We can be sure to enjoy many more versions of this classic story in the years to come.

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