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A CHRISTMAS CAROL (a.k.a. SCROOGE, 1951)
By Dan Cziraky
June 09, 2001
This sumptuous British production of the great Dickens novel is not just a perrenial holiday favorite, but one of the best ghost stories ever filmed. Wretched miser Ebenezer Scrooge is brought to vivid life in the performance of Alastair Sim. The screen adaptation by Noel Langley is lush with characterization, and director Brian Desmond Hurst has brought 19th-century England to life in amazing detail. The supporting cast includes wonderful turns by Mervyn Johns (Bob Cratchit), Michael Hordern (Jacob Marley), Francis De Wolff (Spirit of Christmas Present), Glyn Dearman (Tiny Tim), Hermione Baddeley (Mrs. Cratchit), and Kathleen Harrison (Mrs. Dilbert). Ernest Thesiger appears as an Undertaker, and the Spirit of Christmas Future has never been handled more effectively. Sim makes the most of Scrooge's redemption, truly making the reborn miser 'happy as a schoolboy, ... giddy as a drunken man.' A better film version of this story will never be made, now matter how hard scores of brilliant actors (Patrick Stewart, George C. Scott, Albert Finney, and Henry Winkler notwithstanding) may try.