Everybody has their favorite rendition of that Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol,” and, just like everyone else, I have mine. I like the one with George C. Scott as Scrooge the best. However, as with most films, it has it’s ups and downs. Here is a quick review of this yearly family tradition at our house, and why I enjoy this one over all the others.
I enjoy this version because it seems more gritty, more real, than many of the others I’ve seen. The musical version, while fun, just doesn’t capture, for me, real life. I can’t remember the last time I broke out in song after a long days work, nor, I’ll bet, can many of you. Nineteenth century London doesn’t strike me as a place worth singing about, nor did Dickens, I’d bet. Many of his books describe London during this time period as one of the dirtiest and seediest places on the planet, and I am inclined to believe him, since he was actually an eye witness. The constant burning of coal in winter caused the London sky to remain leaden and dark, and this is depicted well in the film.
Scott, in my opinion, pulls off the character of Scrooge pretty well, in my opinion, as well. And though he is an American, he does quite well at the accent. The supporting cast is good also, with one possible exception. The ghost of Christmas past, as portrayed by Angela Pleasance, is a bit disappointing and dry, but this is made up for greatly by the depiction of the ghost of Christmas present as portrayed by Edward Woodward. The best line in the film is delivered by Woodward in the house of Bob Cratchet (David Warner):
“It may well be that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than MILLIONS like this poor man’s child!”
The filmmaker was sure to have Woodward leaning into the camera to deliver this line, so that the viewer can see clearly the intensity and anger on the ghosts face. We are struck to the core, and forced to examine ourselves as the character, by the angle he is filmed, almost leans out of the screen and into our very living rooms. This is the high point in the film for me…almost the beginning of the turning point for Scrooge also, in my opinion.
“A Christmas Carol” has been filmed in so many ways, by so many people, that it’s almost a cliche to watch it on or around Christmas. But we like it, especially this version, because it reminds us that there are others around us that are less fortunate, and it teaches a very simple lesson to those of us who have even limited means.Powered by Sidelines