The Greatest Version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL


One of the greatest fantasy stories of all time is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  The classic tale of a mean, miserly man haunted by four ghosts on Christmas Eve, resulting in a change in his outlook on life, has been adapted for the screen countless times.  My favorite version, and what I consider to be the greatest of all time, is the CBS television-movie from 1984, starring George C. Scott.  (The Bill Murray comedy film, Scrooged, is a close second.)

Other actors have played the role of Ebenezer Scrooge (Lionel Barrymore, John Barrymore, Basil Rathbone, Albert Finney, Henry Wrinkler, James Earl Jones, Jack Palance, and Kelsey Grammer, just to name a few).  There have been Muppet versions (with Michael Caine as Scrooge) and cartoon versions (like Mister Magoo), and even female versions (Susan Lucci, Vanessa Williams, Tori Spelling).  "Bah, humbug!" I say to the recent Jim Carrey CGI film, or the highly acclaimed Patrick Stewart adaptation, or even (blasphemy of blasphemies) the beloved Alastair Sim interpretation.  George C. Scott is hands-down the greatest of them all. 

I think Scott was born to play the role.  He barks his lines with conviction and passion, portraying Scrooge in all his archtypal glory while avoiding the cliched choices that by now have become familiar to anyone.  Scott makes Ebenezer fully human and we see his transformation from the gruff, malevolent, selfish person at the beginning, to the frightened, confused man in the bulk of the film as he desperately tries to deny his ghostly experiences, finally culminating in a rejuvenated, rededicated, and rejoiceful being at the end of the story. 

If you haven't seen this version yet, give yourself a holiday treat and hunt it down.  Forget all versions that came before, because this is the one by which all should be measured.

Comments

MediumRob said…
Seriously? You don't like the Alastair Sim version?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1l1_82x2BO4
Nick said…
I like Alastair Sim's version, but I just think the George C. Scott version should be considered the definitive. In my eyes, it's superior. But that's just my opinion. :) merry christmas