A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is one of the most popular stories to read at Christmas time. The story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the three spirits or ghosts that visit him on Christmas Eve has been made into many movies. Some of the Scrooge movies are all time classics, while other versions are not so good. Here we take a look at the best depictions of Scrooge that are available to buy on DVD.
A Christmas Carol 1951
This may be one of the older movie versions of the Scrooge story but for us it is the best. Alastair Sim in no less than magnificent in his portrayal of the miserable old miser who turns good following the overnight visites of the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.
The story of Scrooge is heartwarming as he is taken back in time to view his life and how he had become the old miserly money lender of the story. Sims reaction to being transported from past to present to future is superb his performance ranging from despair to elation so well. The older versions of the film are presented in black and white adding great atmosphere, while the film has been coloured in later versions bringing a further dimension to the movie.
Wethink anyone of a certain age i.e. over fifty will remember the Alastair Sim portrayal of Scrooge with great affection. Sim is one of the all time British greats and brings everything he has to this superb Christmas tale. Other fantastic performances in this release include Kathleen Harrison as the housekeeper Mrs Dilber, Mervyn Johns as Bob Cratchett, George Cole as young Scrooge and Michael Hordern as Scrooges' old business partner and the apparition who fortells the three ghosts coming. This DVD would make an excellent christmas gift.
A Christmas Carol 1999
A Christmas Carol 1999 stars Shakespearean actor Patrick Stewart who puts in a superb performance as the grouchy Scrooge. The story is very well documented but it is amazing how this version of the tale seems different to many of the other depictions of Scrooge. Firstly Patrick Stewart's Scrooge does not seem as old in either looks or the way he speaks and yet his character is equally believable and in the end endearing as others have been.
Bob Cratchett is played by Richard E Grant another superb British actor, while although scenes in the Cratchett's house can be a little cheesy they are none the less what we want to see from this loving, poor family who despair about the fate of Tiny Tim.
Patrick Stewart has a great voice and when he cries "humbug" viewers can sense his feeling of derision for Christmas. We never seem to tire of the Scrooge story, while this movie is definitely one of the best versions of the Dickens classic tale on sale for Christmas.
Movie lovers who would like to see a modern day version of the Scrooge story need look no further than the 1988 film Scrooged starring the hilarious Bill Murray of Ghost Busters fame. Murrays character Frank Cross is the head of a TV station and is in charge of the Christmas production of Scrooge. Cross is mean but extremely funny and he is visited by three ghosts, as in the story of Scrooge, to try to make him see the error of his mean and stingy ways.
Frank does finally see the light, while the road to Damascus is littered with obstacles, none more so than the three Christmas spirits plus an enraged employee who Frank fires on Christmas Eve! The result is a hilarious romp that sees some classic comedy moments unfold.
Fans of Murray will love this film as it is Murray at his best, filled with sarcasm, one liners and superb comical timing. Murray's love interest comes in the form of Karen Allenwho is very good as Murrays ex girlfriend whom he of course wins back by the end of the movie. There is also a cameo appearance by the great Robert Mitchum who plays the owner of the TV station. Scrooge as a comedy really works in this instance and is translates to modern times admirably.
A Christmas Carol 2009 (animated)
This animated production of the Scrooge story is a great one for the kids but is equally enjoyed by adults as it is so well depicted. Scrooge is voiced by Jim Carreywho has starred in many comedy movies over the years, while he plays Scrooge with great aplomb. Carrey also voices various other parts including all three ghosts!
The film stays true to the original story with the visitation of three ghosts being the mainstay of the tale, who warn Scrooge of his impending doom if he does not mend his cruel miserly ways.
Gary Oldman voices Bob Cratchett, Tiny Tim and Jacob Marley showing his versatility well, while Bob Hoskins voices Fezziwig and Colin Firth voices Fred who is Ebenezer's nephew. The animation is superb with lots of special effects giving this animated movie classic status, while the movie won BMI Film Awards plus Kids Choice Awards for film music and Best Voice (Jim Carrey) respectively. A Christmas Carol 2009 would make an excellent stocking filler this year coupled with this highly illustrious christmas game about the story of scrooge available for PC.
Simply as a matter of interest we thought that we would explain the meaning of "humbug" a word that Scrooge uses to describe Christmas in his own inimitable way. The word humbug these days makes us think of sweet mints but back in Victorian England the word humbug had an entirely different meaning.
When Dickens used the word humbug to describe Christmas he meant that Christmas was a time that was used to deceive or mislead or that Christmas was a time of pretence and deception. In other words Scrooge thought that although people spoke of Christmas as a time of good will and generosity, in his opinion, it was just the opposite and people were paying lip service to the sentiment rather than following or practising it.
Humbug was judged to be the worst of ways to describe the Christmas season back in Victorian days and Dickens used it to great effect. Bah Humbug is remembered by most people when it comes to the story of Scrooge even though the words were only used a couple of times throughout the story.