Monday, December 24, 2012

Year One. Day Twenty-Four: "A Christmas Carol" (1951)

Day Twenty-Four of my Advent Christmas Carol Challenge:

"A Christmas Carol" (1951)

It's Christmas Eve and the final day of my challenge, which means it's time for the daddy of them all. The Alastair Sim version of the novella, which is regarded by pretty much everybody as the greatest adaptation of them all.

With good reason too. Alastair Sim IS Ebenezer Scrooge here. His portrayal of the old miser is a complex one, at first hideous and proudly arrogant, then slowly growing shameful of his ways and surprised to discover that he still has a heart.

The supporting cast of character actors are uniformly excellent, and even though some of them are a little hammy (Jacob Marley...) this only adds to charm of this very traditional, theatrical adaptation.

The film is extremely faithful to the book, but more importantly, it is made with such a great affection for it that is missing from so many of the half-arsed versions that have come after it.

Talking of later productions, it is interesting to see just how influential this version became. So much of the imagery of the tale, from Scrooge's counting house, to his bedroom, to the reformed miser throwing open the window of his house, look the way they do because this film depicted them so.

Of course, Scrooge's redemption is the highlight of the film. Sim plays it with such abandon, it is inconceivable that this is the same man who we began this story with.

The finest production of what is easily the greatest story ever written.

As festive as Christmas Day itself.

"A Christmas Carol" (1951) 5/5


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