Well, today begins the "unofficial" start of the Christmas holiday season. I do not agree with the reasons why (commercial) but that is far from the point. I thought to kick off my season, let's look at my top 5 versions of the Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol.
1. A Christmas Carol (1951)
Stars Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge
Of all the versions out there, this one has an interesting story behind it. Released in the UK under the name Scrooge, it was considered far too dark and grim and actually gained it's current popularity by it's US release and subsequent airings every year on networks like PBS. So now, it is typically considered to be the "go to" version of the story and since I first saw it as a child, it has always been on the very top of my list.
2. An American Christmas Carol (1978)
Stars Henry Winkler as Benedict Slade
Set in Depression-era New England, this little gem seems to be nowhere near the radar. This an Americanized tale of a miser, Benedict Slade who prays on his debtors on Christmas Eve. As the story goes it carries all the elements of the original story but with a different setting and different characters. This is always one I must watch each season.
3. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Stars Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge
So what do you get when you mix The Muppets with A Christmas Carol? Pure entertainment. This version mixes live action with the lovable puppets and the show is narrated by Gonzo, playing the role of Charles Dickens. Time and time again, the Muppet judges are voted as the best version of Marley. If you want your young children to start appreciating the Dickens classic, start with this version.
4. A Christmas Carol (1984)
Stars George C Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge
Although George C. Scott sails over the top in the title role (sometimes playing his typical George C. Scott), it was still the right actor for the updated version. The sets and the supporting cast are great and this movie remains true to the story in all of it's splendor.
5. Rich Little's Christmas Carol (1978)
Stars Rich Little as WC Fields as Ebenezer Scrooge
Yep, not many people even know this gem starring Rich Little playing many of his "characters" as the characters in the story. It is witty, funny and original and it is very entertaining. The problem is that it was made for HBO and is incredibly hard to find anywhere. If you can, it is worth it.
Enjoy my list. Comments welcomed. Merry Christmas!!